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i am a zombie.
singapore sunset
amw
It's fucking 6am Sunday morning and i have been tossing and turning unable to sleep for hours because i am stressed out about work.

You know what the worst part is? I quit my job 6 days ago.

But, you know, 30 days notice so here i am.

I should be stressed out about immigration. Because of the timing of my resignation, i have an extremely small window to transfer my work permit from this employer to my future employer and then extend my resident permit before it expires. My current company is doing nothing to make the process easier. I am used to HR trying to make people's exit as smooth as possible to avoid the company getting a bad reputation, but it seems the HR director here does not give a shit. The request to move up my work permit transfer date was denied.

So i might find myself stuck in December with a new job but no permission to work. And then i might be forced to leave the country again, and apply for a work visa from Canada, again. Which is of course completely insane because i live in China, i don't live in Canada. But that's the deal. Unless you have a Chinese spouse, you will only ever be considered a temporary visitor here. Every year you have to renew both your work permit and your resident permit. If you get fired, you have to leave the country. If you quit, you have to leave the country. If you try to switch jobs close to the renewal date, you are fucked. Want to take time off for a break between jobs? You have to leave the country and start over from scratch. Sigh.

Anyway, immigration is not what this post is about, it's about work. A few weeks ago i was selected to be the main developer on some new project: rebranding our app. Yes, our company is changing its name. Of course, this project was not given to an existing team. For some reason that i still don't understand, it was a task force sliced out of several different teams. But we are not a co-located task force and there are no daily status meetings. Although, i am not sure that even having a daily meeting would help because the product/project manager is completely fucking useless.

I told the (former) CTO after my probation period that i do not like working on these big, poorly-defined projects. But what i really didn't like was working under a product/project/people manager who was hopeless in all three roles. And yes, that's two too many slashes. I subsequently got moved to a team that was handling customer escalations and fixing small bugs, which had its own issues, but for the most part it was a relatively painless role.

But now, here i am, back on some big project, under a product/project (still one too many slashes) manager who is hopeless. He does not respond to any of the questions i need answered. He does not set achievable goals. He does not try to limit the scope of the work. He does not prioritize anything. He just holds meetings and then rambles on about how people who are not on the meeting haven't given him any answers yet.

DUDE. It's the goddamn fucking job of a product manager to go out and get the answers! That's the whole job! I don't need to spend an hour sitting down with a product manager hearing them complain about how they can't get answers!

Oh, and get this. At the start of the project he complained that he didn't have enough data to make any decisions, so i spent a week collecting metrics and writing up reports and then... nothing. I know he hasn't read any of the content that i prepared specifically for him because he still asks me questions that i already documented, and he acts shocked when i remind him of an impediment that i already pointed out weeks ago. Like, if you are not reading this content and using it to make decisions, then why the fuck did i spend so much time preparing it?

And, like. I am a fucking software developer, not a technical writer or a business analyst. Writing wiki pages is not really the best use of my time in the first place.

The most frustrating part is that this exact rant could be copy/pasted from the same goddamn experience i was having before i switched to a team where i didn't have to put up with any of this nonsense.

Oh, and here's a cherry on the shit sundae. The PM on this project actually spends a lot of time bitching about my former PM and how incompetent she is. And i am just like, dude. You are both fucking incompetent. You both suck in exactly the same way. You will both drive away talented developers because you spend more time complaining about why you can't do your job than actually doing your job.

See, this is the thing about my work rants. They are here in LiveJournal, or occasionally at after work drinks. When i am in the office i just shut up and do my fucking job, because i am a professional. For sure, i share my impediments and make my feelings clear to my manager, in the optimistic hope that they will try to solve the problems, but then i put my head down and do my best to produce some kind of output in spite of it all. That's what you have to do. You're at work. Fucking work.

Of course, i am human too. There are times when i am particularly frustrated and i lose my temper. It's something i try really hard to limit because i know it creates a toxic environment for the people around me. I don't want to work in a place like that. I thought nobody did. But people like this current PM and my former PM, they don't care. In fact, they actively consider losing their temper a strategy to solve problems.

I was stunned the other day after i shared that QA is experiencing a problem of missing files on the test environment because a previous download from the production environment must have failed. Instead of the PM noting this down and having a quiet word with the necessary parties to get the problem fixed, he told the QA person to email an ops guy and then put him in the CC "so i can scream at him when he doesn't do it". Like, what the fuck kind of attitude is that? Why would i want to work with a person who thinks it's okay to behave like that in a professional environment?

You know, as much as that whole "work should be FUN!" thing can get a bit grating, at least it's not deliberately toxic. The HR teams who push that kind of company culture are at least trying to get people to fake it till they make it. Fuck all those assholes who think it's okay to be an asshole at work. It's not fucking okay.

Fuck, i dunno. Why should i care? I took all the leave that i was still due and shoved it up against my official leaving date so my last day will be November 22. Man, i got less than 10 business days left in the office. Why should i care about this project that i know i won't get done anyway?

I don't know. I don't know why i care. Why i woke up after only 4 hours of sleep and kept going over it all in my head.

This fucking shit destroys me. The other shit, the shit of dealing with mediocre colleagues and a generally uninspiring work life, that was mildly irritating and enough to make me quit. But this kind of stress? Fuck this. Really, fuck this.

I am so tired and i need to cry.

Happy Singles Day.

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Damn.

I'll soon be in a similar position in Korea. My job finishes end of December. I had been planning on applying for a d10 visa which would allow me to visit home and then return to Korea and search for a new job here. Except the system changes to a points system on the very day i need to apply so i probably won't be eligible!

I love working overseas, but visa stuff is always a pain.

Good luck with the job search. I hope you don't end up all the way back in Canada.

The system is changing here in China too in 2019. I think in theory they are making these changes to make it easier for immigrants/expats, but the changeover itself is certainly inconvenient.

Change or not, you are so right about it always being a pain. I know it's self-inflicted pain for those of us who choose to travel for work, but that doesn't make it any easier. It's sad that there are so many roadblocks put up to being a legitimate, contributing member of society. Oh well...

I hope you find a good way to transition your status too.

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