After I left the power plant and went to work for Dell on August 20, 2001, I wrote letters back to my friends at the plant letting them know how things were going. This is the sixty third letter I wrote.
1/9/03 After the Holidays at Dell
Dear friends and former workmates from Sooner,
I hope everyone has recovered from the holidays. I know it took some time down here to get back into the swing of things. This week I’ve had one meeting after the other while people try to catch up with all the lost meetings from being gone for the last couple of weeks.
I think some people were going into “meeting withdrawals”, and couldn’t wait to come back to work in order to schedule meetings all day. I have gone out to eat lunch every day this week for one kind of meeting or another.
I hope today I can skip the lunch and just eat something a little more — “manageable”. I feel like I have been eating two full dinners (that is “suppers” for those who call “lunch” “dinner”) each day this week, and that is mainly because I have.
I do have a meeting right around lunch time today, so it remains to be seen if I can sneak away before someone grabs me by the scruff of my neck and drags me out to some elegant restaurant where the waiter comes up to you with a bottle of wine and a big grin on his face and says, “Bonjourno”! Of course I always end up having to do the respectable thing and order one of the larger and more expensive dishes on the menu.
Well. Since most people have been away from work for the last couple of weeks, our team is going to get together tomorrow for another one of those “team-builder” things. We are supposed to meet around lunch time (who would have thought?) at a place called “Dave and Buster’s”.
That’s the place where we went way back when I was a new guy on the team, and I was still in Boot Camp. It’s the “Adult Arcade”, where it’s like a grown-up Chuckie Cheese with pool tables and a bar instead of a singing and dancing rat like Chuckie’s.
Which reminds me. We took our son (Anthony) to Chuckie Cheese’s last summer for his birthday, and we parked around back. As we were walking around the building to the front entrance, I noticed that they had one of those black rat poison boxes by the back door. You can imagine how bad the food must be in the restaurant when they think that the giant dancing rat will actually go out back for a bite to eat. — I thought that was pretty funny.
So, anyway. If it is anything like the last time; I suppose tomorrow I’ll be playing pinball all afternoon and shooting pool, and then I’ll have to drive back home through all the going-home traffic when we’re done.
I heard that we might actually have to do some “team-building” activities while we’re there, so I’ll let you guys know how it goes if they make us do some “fun-filled” activity that makes us (mainly, me) look foolish. — Of course, that’s not hard to do considering what I have to work with (meaning myself, not my coworkers).
I mean, just think what I must look like trying to play musical chairs (like we had to do for the “white elephant Christmas party). Walking around the circle of chairs intently paying attention to where I am in relation to the nearest chair while also trying to concentrate on whether the music has stopped or it is just pausing between notes, only to sit down in a chair at the same time as someone else, and then trying to gain more territory on the surface of the seat in order to de-throne my competitor. — That’s a pretty foolish sight isn’t it?
Oh well. If it “helps the team”, then I’ll do it. I’m such a team player. Geesh.
Oh well. I had a meeting yesterday with my manager, and he said that he was doing my performance appraisal. (You guys know what those are). Well… They do them a little differently down here. They actually write down things in the appraisal that are nice about the person.
Now, I know that this must seem odd, for those of you who lived through the era where your foreman wrote your performance appraisal and then had to send it to their supervisor, who had to send it to their supervisor, only to have it sent all the way back to the foreman to take out anything nice that they said about the person because they hadn’t documented it before the appraisal.
And then they had to adjust the numbers so that everyone had the exact same number because if someone had a better number than someone else, then, well, that just wasn’t good. And then if they wanted to get rid of someone they didn’t like, they would just give them a little better number than everyone else and they would be promoted to foreman over at some other plant, and everyone at that plant would all be smirking and giggling as the poor unsuspecting plant obtained a foreman from “Hell”.
At least someone finally got wise at OG&E and decided to “Stop the Madness!” — Well. Down here I have had two performance appraisals already, and I’m getting ready to have another one, in a month or so. And so far they have been full of nice stuff.
I asked my manager after my last appraisal, “So, Where’s my “Opportunities for Improvement”? (You know what that means. An “Opportunity for Improvement” means that you flunked in that category). If you want I’ll send you a copy of my next one when I get it. Just to show you how they do it down here.
I hope that everything is going well with you guys. Let me know what’s happening. — My daughter Elizabeth and I have come up with a name for the video game we’re going to make. It’s going to be called, “The Power Plant Man!!!!” I’ll give you more details later. We’re still I the design phase right now, but it should be good. As I finish parts of it, I’ll send you guys a copy so you can test it out.
Your Friendly Dell Programmer, Team-builder, Pinball player, and musical chair player,
Kevin James Anthony Breazile