77) Surgery For Steve and the Worst Political Mistake of my Career

Welcome new reader!

I am glad you are here.

In the last post you saw me at my worst. I had just had a meltdown at work on a contract with Micron Technology in Boise, Idaho. In this post I will briefly describe Stevie’s surgery at Denver Children’s Hospital and the biggest political mistake of my career with the resulting consequences.

Our Best Shot at Solving Stevie’s Chronic Pancreatitis

The  year was 2000. And with all concerned medical professionals proclaiming the procedure had a reasonable chance to restore Steve’s digestive function, he was admitted to Children’s Hospital in Denver to undergo The Puestow procedure, a major operation to re-route and shorten the physical connection between the pancreas and the small intestine.

The gastroenterological surgeon pronounced Stevie’s surgery a success and for a few weeks Nadine, Stevie, Jenner and I began to let ourselves believe our life would be different.

But after two months Stevie’s chest pain returned. We were devastated.  And back in hell.

Perils of Full Disclosure in the Workplace

From  2000 to 2002  my work assignments at Acme (name changed) Semiconductor in Fort Collins had gone reasonably well. Not at all content with this, I made an announcement that I planned to enroll at British American University, an online law school. While establishing me – at least temporarily – as one unusual and interesting computer chip designer among the members of our small design group, a more subtle but far more damaging reaction was taking place. Apparently.

A few weeks later, based partly on my defection, I have come to believe, I was put on 30-day probation. This was tantamount to being let go. The terms of the probation were that I would improve my performance significantly within the period of time, or else. The sub-standard performance was documented with a phony letter written to appear as  if I had deliberately ignored technical specifications in a project assignment. Management had everything nailed down, and I was cooked.

With the wisdom of hindsight, it occurs  to me the group was completely within their rights to expel me, since I had made it clear computer chip design was no longer driving my career aspirations.

When you are driven out of a group, though, it can be quite a downer. It has happened once in my career. And that is enough.

Did you ever mess up at work and give your supervisor no choice but to fire you?

Next: Does Career Fit Matter?

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