Tagged: Nationwide

My dad was right

A lot of people have asked why I haven’t been writing lately. It’s because I’ve had a good deal going on. Along with the usual classes and my third moot court competition, I’ve been conducting a job search. Tomorrow (Monday morning) I’ll be handing in my resignation at Nationwide.

It’s been a long ride there. I started as a college intern in 1999 and got the chance to be promoted from that lowly title three times. Along the way I’ve gotten to work with some really smart people, some really dumb people, and some people in the middle. I was sent to California on business trips three times (none of which, I’ll admit now, involved very much business, but did include nude beaches) and to see the wreckage of Hurricane Katrina just a couple weeks after it hit. I also had to go to Des Moines. Other than that, they treated me very well, and I’m sorry to go.

It was a good job — at parties, I had the perfect response to that face and the question, “So, like, what are you doing with your… geography degree?” Answer: “I’m a geographer.”

I was also a systems architect, programmer, documenter, intra-company salesman, and general know-it-all (“SME” — subject matter expert). Mostly, I realize now, what I learned was about people; how they’re all motivated differently, learn differently, and care in differing degrees about their jobs and the way they’re perceived to be doing them. I didn’t always do the best with the knowledge I had, but I’ve had a million chances to try getting along with people I didn’t always agree with, understand, or like. You really don’t have a choice in who you get, and that makes life interesting. The chance to get to know hundreds in a professional capacity was the best part about the job.

I also got to know bureaucracy. Gosh, do I hate it. At NW, rules are meant to be broken, but only if you apply in advance, generate a requirements document, and have a valid disbursement code. I am looking forward to never hearing the words “deliverable,” “mentee,” or “SLA” again. I used to joke about Nationwide being “the Evil Empire,” but I now think we’re just so big we can’t help but blunder things by accident, like a giant dog kicking and running in its sleep. As Douglas Adams wrote about the Earth, “Mostly harmless.”

My new jobs are exciting. For the spring semester, I’ll be working for a federal judge, assisting with research and the judicial process where I can. I’ll also be working in a law firm clerkship. I am very excited about both jobs because they’re a chance to finally get my hands into some real cases and start working instead of just learning. Obviously, though, I know both jobs are going to be a learning experience, and I can’t wait to get started and see what I can do.

There will be more time to write about those when they happen — I am planning to start in the middle of January. For now, I’m thinking about the end of my eight years with The ‘Wide. When I was a kid, my dad the insurance agent would drive us past Nationwide and say, “Don’t work for Nationwide!” Why not, I’d ask. “They’re not even price competitive in their home market. Besides, you’ll get married, you’ll get a mortgage, and you’ll be sucked in and never be able to leave. Nah, you should get out and see the world first.” I was three or four at the time, but it was good advice, and it almost happened to me. Tomorrow is the beginning of leaving that orbit for an unknown trajectory in the law. I’m thrilled to find out what happens next.

From the Bureau

We were told that if every person in P&C Systems completed their United Way pledge card (whether or not they actually gave to United Way), we would be allowed to wear jeans every day until October 21st.  Corporate drones love to wear jeans.  Every day you would get a report of the number of people who had still to complete their pledge card — 400, 200, 75, and it kept going down.  The deadline to finish the job was today.

We came very close to 100% participation in the UW ePledge process, with 99.9% of associates completing United Way pledges online by the end of today.  Unfortunately, that means no free jeans days will be awarded.  However, it was a great team effort and your contributions will go to hundreds of great charities.  Thanks for your great participation!

0.1% would represent approximately 2 people.

Buzzings from the hive

I’ve been spending time in Plaza One, whereas I usually work in Plaza Three. Although they are only a couple of hundred feet away, it is another world over there. There are a lot more suits and a lot fewer Indians. I like to think that I’ve time-traveled into the seventies when I go over there. All the executives have pompous nameplates with their title and last name only — “Mr. Slevenly.” They sit in these little rooms with glass front doors and a secretary guarding them. Sometimes the secretary’s nameplate will only have her first name on it. It’s so weird.

Elevator ettiquette is odd. It is all about chivalry over there, to the point where a man in the front of the elevator will usually manuever so that a woman in the back of the elevator can get off first. I have seen men, in an attempt not to exit first, actually block the woman’s path and make it harder for her to squeeze by. The other odd part of chivalry, which is like reverse-age-chivalry, is that I get those kindly smiles from older women all the time — you know, the kind that say, What a nice young man you are. (The cattle here in Plaza Three don’t do that, probably because I shove past them on my way out of the elevator.)

Also, because they are so much stodgier, Plaza One people make the corniest of elevator jokes. If you carry food on the elevator, you are bound to get someone looking over at you with exaggerated eyes saying, “Mmmmmm! That looks gooooood! Hey, Bob, don’t you think this guy should give us some of his rutabaga?” or “What a nice guy! Turnips are my favorite! Thank you!!!”  You could walk onto the elevator carrying a steaming bag of horse shit and they would say, “You bring enough for everyone???”

My dad warned me about these people, but I didn’t listen.