I suppose that at the root of the matter, there is a fundamental difference between how the current management and IT departments view access and use of the internet in the workplace, and how I do. When I agreed to take up employment with this company, I had a certain understanding of what my job responsibilities would be, what my pay rate would be, and what my benefits included. I accepted a reduced amount of paid vacation time and increased technical requirements from my previous job in return for full medical and dental coverage (which went entirely unused in 2001), a small increase in pay, and high-speed internet access availability during working hours.
Every time they try to take away or reduce my benefits or increase my responsibilities, I balk. For instance, next week everyone in the company will be attending a mandatory meeting in which we will learn about reductions in medical coverage, and for some people, the amount of the insurance premium we will have to begin paying. Personally, I refuse to pay a medical insurance premium. When I was working at MicroAge, they tried giving me a pay cut for not opting to pay the monthly premium for medical coverage I wasn’t going to use. I had a hard time convincing them that that didn’t make sense. Luckily, I opted for the most generic medical coverage they offer here, so I should just be facing increased co-payments instead of having to pay a monthly premium. This suits me fine, since last year I made zero co-payments. Still, I feel that reducing or modifying benefits should be more than a one-way negotiation. It is possible that some employees only decided to accept employment here because of specific medical benefits, and I do not consider it reasonable for the company to renegotiate those benefits and notify their employees after the fact.
So, I don’t really care too much about the change in the medical benefits, except in principle. It doesn’t effect me or my lifestyle, and medical benefits were not one of the things I considered an important benefit of the job. Internet access on the other hand, does effect me and my lifestyle, and is something that I considered an important benefit in regard to working here. If they’re going to try to renegotiate that benefit, I feel that I should be offerred the opportunity to renegotiate the other side of the contract. If I’m not going to have access to the internet, I almost certainly won’t consider supporting new products or taking on new responsibilities without a pay increase.
This Just In:
My direct supervisor just sent an email to the IT department itself saying that while the possibility of security problems in chat programs requires their restriction, he isn’t going to actually monitor email use. I will see what works out with this, but I think I still need to consider what my job is worth to me.
Obviously if I took a retail position, or a position with a non-technology-oriented company, internet access wouldn’t even be an option. After not having home-based internet access in any fashion for the last six months, I am becoming increasingly used to living without it. After having an increasingly difficult amount of work to deal with in the last two months at work, I have become increasingly used to living with very little internet access.
I rarely read online comics anymore. I don’t create them anymore, either (though I am working on a Diablo storyline, it is very slow at best). No one else contributes regular content to Modern Evil, but I’m about to make it a lot easier for people to do that on their own. As easy as it is to post in their blogs right now, people will be able to post poetry or reviews or comics or whatever else and have it appear immediately on Modern Evil. I’m just about done with the back end of that, now I just have to convert all the old data over from the old setup to the new. Probably by the end of this month, depending upon workload and crackdowns on internet use.
Then what? Then do I just start to phase out of using the internet at all? When it becomes available in the Spring, do I bother hooking it up? Will I be able to afford to continue living where I am when my lease is up, or will they raise the rent or will I lose my job or do I want to do something else or live somewhere else? If I do find her, what are the possible ramifications on my life, if any? (I was recently reading what someone said about hope, and it occurred to me that it is simply human nature to look forward to something better, to imagine whole worlds of change in possible futures.) I keep saying that I want to just move to Arcosanti and help build it, but since I don’t really have a background of professional contruction skills, it would be difficult or expensive for me to become involved. Some of you know my calendar is counting down to something, and if you do, you know it’s only about four months until year zero. So what have I been counting down to? Maybe just the last thing I know to do.
If it all comes down 188.8.131.52, is it worth it to try to make plans for after that date? Does it make sense to pay an installation fee for internet access I might not have for very long? Does it make sense to rock the boat at work, when the clock runs out in 121 days? I’ve been doing some calculations recently, and (like I’ve been saying for years) the clock isn’t “running out”, it’s just “rolling over”. We’re just going to be passing into the exact middle of the fourth modern era…
I’m being interrupted by work. I’ll keep thinking later.