Saturday, January 23, 2010

A Place Where We Used To Work

Former Dire Straits front man Mark Knopfler once wrote a song entitled "A Place Where We Used To Live". It's about a man apparently wandering through an empty house or apartment that used to be his home. The lyrics lament that everything has changed.

Here in the dust
There's not a trace of us
Everything's gone

Those who read this blog regularly will be aware that the company for which I worked went bankrupt and closed down last November. By a strange twist of fate, I still work for that same company indirectly. They used to build product under license for Whirlpool corporation. Now that they're gone, Whirlpool has purchased the assets of the Ohio plant and continues to run it as a manufacturing facility, at least temporarily.

After being laid off, my old boss started up a small computer consulting company of his own and one of his first clients is Whirlpool corporation. It only made sense. After all, he knew the old company's computer system inside-out, and Whirlpool needed someone with the expertise to support it. Trouble is, he's not a programmer. That's where I come in. He's sub-contracted me to do development and support work. So I find myself working with the exact same system that I have been for the past ten years.

Of course, there are some changes. One of my first tasks was to clear the old company's data out of the computer files. Last week, I erased all transactional data prior to the start of this year. There was a lot of data to erase. One of the files was relieved of over 53 million records! That represented about six years worth of transactions. Six years of doing business. Had that data been erased while the former company was still a going concern, it would have been considered a disaster of almost biblical proportions. Now, it just didn't matter anymore.

I also turned off a lot of custom programs and reports that Whirlpool doesn't need. Reports that were considered crucial to the business's decision makers are suddenly obsolete and of no importance.

As I busied myself erasing data and turning off programs, I couldn't help but feel a little bit like Knopfler's mournful tenant. Everything's gone. Soon there will be no trace of the former enterprise. I thought of all the business meetings, the spirited debates, the hustle and bustle; shippers rushing product off the docks; Accountants poring over spreadsheets and financial statements; salesmen and service reps talking to customers over the telephone; it all seemed important at the time. What would we have thought if we'd known it would all come to this?

It's just a place where we used to work.

5 comments:

Tubes said...

Weird isn't it?

Halmanator said...

Uh ... yeah. What you said.

Martin said...

Using a couple of online translation programs, reveals that the text is most likely Chinese (and not say, Korean). These programs are really weak, however, and I doubt we can trust the result. One translated the message as "The contents of the main grid blog really rich ~ ~ look very happy" and the other "Standard main tribe standard content really rich ~~ looks very much happily".

Halmanator said...

Me? Happy ... yes. Rich ... hardly.

George Ninos said...

That's pretty epic... 53 million!

Really makes you stop and think just how impermanent things are.

Best to enjoy them when we can and then simply let them go.