Thursday, December 01, 2005

The Misys Healthcare Horror-Go-Round: Burn, baby, burn!

Don't call us, we'll call you

There's an old saying that goes something like, "be careful about burning bridges", intonating that sometimes it is best to let go of grudges or resist retaliation, even if warranted, under the premise that at some future point under different circumstances, one may want to leverage the relationship being "burned".

This was not one of those cases. Pour on the diesel and get me a match.

On October 24th--while deep in the throes of my last week of marathon training--I took a quick flight down to Raleigh, NC, to interview for the Web Manager position with Misys Healthcare Systems. I had been originally contacted by their corporate recruiter, who found my resume online. After a sceening call with her as well as the hiring manager, I was flown down as their guest for a few hours of in-person interviews.

I personally thought the interview went well, though logistically-speaking, they were lacking. People were late showing up to meet me, interviews were hurried, and I had a general sense of awkwardness throughout the afternoon. In sum, though, I felt good about my prospects.

The next day I contacted each person with whom I'd met and thanked them personally for their time. The corporate recruiter had noted to me that I would hear from them by the end of the week.

The week passed. Then two. Three. A month.

I subtlely emailed her to ask again about the position and offer to answer any outstanding questions. Nada. The following week, I sent the same exact email (making sure I'd changed the "Sent" dates). A second serving of nothing.

A few days later, lo and behold, I received the following:




-------- Original Message --------
Subject: Misys Employment
From: dorothy.callan@misyshealthcare.com
Date: Mon, November 28, 2005 1:03 pm
To: cfillio
November 28, 2005

Fillio Chris
1500 Ruffner Road
Alexandria, VA 22302

Dear Fillio:

Thank you for taking the time to explore employment opportunities with Misys Physician Systems, LLC (Corporate). I wanted to personally thank you for your interest in our Web Manager position, as well as the patience you have shown throughout our screening process. I enjoyed talking with you and learning more about your qualifications and career goals.

It is our sincere desire to match the best-qualified candidate to a potential opportunity within our company. Although your background is impressive, we are not able to offer you a position. We will keep your resume on file for one year for review should we have an opening for which you are qualified.

Again, thank you for your interest. Best wishes for success in your career search.

Sincerely,



Dorothy Callan
Corporate Recruiter

Misys Physician Systems, LLC
(Corporate)


The inherent wise-ass in me simply could not let this egregious faux pas pass without feeling my wrath. I re-read it. I contacted my "secret advisers". I stewed. I did not sleep.

Finally I penned the following:


-------- Original Message --------
Subject: RE: Misys Employment
From: Chris Fillio
Date: Thu, December 01, 2005 9:02 pm
To: dorothy.callan@misyshealthcare.com
Cc: rick.foster@misyshealthcare.com, tony.ryzinski@misyshealthcare.com

Dear "Callan"

Thank you for your email regarding the Web Manager position with Misys Physician Systems, LLC (Corporate). Because I was sincere when I previously noted my interest in becoming a member of the Misys Healthcare team, I would like to offer some constructive criticism and reflection on my experience. I hope that it will provide valuable insight for future success at Misys Healthcare.

1. Be professional. Upon arriving promptly at the office, I waited in anonymity in the lobby for over ten minutes as the receptionist attempted to track down a contact person for me, despite my having given her several names with whom I was scheduled to meet. Later, one interviewer arrived late and confessed that they were unaware I was on their interview schedule for the day. Another interviewer started the interview by telling me they had only five minutes to talk due to an urgent upcoming meeting. Lastly, no one was sure what to do with me after the final interview, where I was supposed to go, etc. On my way out the door, I passed you in the hallway and you acted as if you'd never met me, not even saying "Bye" or "Thanks". The whole afternoon felt very hectic and awkward.

2. Be diligent. I realize that hiring processes can be convoluted, drawn-out and, at times, lengthy. But I trust that I was not the first person ever interviewed at Misys Healthcare, correct? If you tell someone that they will hear something within the next week, then provide them the courtesy of a contact within that timeframe. Even if it is simply to state that the process is still in progress, it will be appreciated.

3. Be thorough. I'm well aware that the economy today gives hiring companies the upper hand over the slew of would-be employees...but has it gotten so bad that companies cannot even fork over the thirty-seven cents for a standard USPS mail rejection letter? Worst of all, the juxtaposition of my first and last names in the below "rejection letter/email" served as the coup de grace in an otherwise ignominious series of events. I could understand such an error if my name were something like "Chris Patrick" or "Chris David". But it is not.

Again, thank you for your interest. Best wishes for success in your employee search.

Sincerely,


Chris (aka "Fillio")

I gave the electronic masterpiece wide distribution, sending it to Callan (aka "The Corporate Recuiter"), Foster (aka "The Hiring Manager") and Ryzinski (aka "The VP of Communications").

See, job hunting is fun!

Monday, March 28, 2005

The Attack Monkeys of Nikko

I recently re-connected (via e-mail) with an old friend from high school, and he relayed to me the following story from some of his earlier days in Japan. I dare you to prove that this is not one of the funniest things you’ve ever read.

Although I have never been chased by a water buffalo, I did have an interesting experience up in Nikko a few years back. Nikko is a beautiful place up in the mountains in central Japan that is renowned for its nature, temples, and the three monkeys: Hear no evil, see no evil, and speak no evil. I think this might actually be the birthplace of these symbolic primates. They are carved into the woodwork over the entrance to the horse barn, as monkeys are somehow thought to protect horses from evil in some way.

Unfortunately, the monkeys of Nikko are looked at in an entirely different way these days. As the area has become a huge spot for tourists, the monkeys have slowly become partially dependent on humans for food. Mostly because people think that it is so cute to toss them some bread or a cookie. It has grown to the point where monkeys occasionally steal people’s bags to rifle through them for food. Sometimes these bags still strapped to your back.

As I alluded to a few lines back, I went to Nikko a few years ago. I was looking forward to seeing some of these attack monkeys, and brought my camera so as to snap some juicy monkey-on-tourist action. Two days of walking around in the rain looking through a viewfinder and I observed exactly zero monkey attacks. I was getting depressed. So, my fiance and I (no, not my current wife, that would just make things too easy to follow) gave up on the monkey hunt and went on our last hike through the mountains. Now, by "mountains", I mean around the local town which happens to be in the middle of the mountains.

On this mountain walk, we wandered about looking for hidden treasures amongst all the neon-color-laden gift shops. We wandered up what seemed to be an old dirt road figuring to find something interesting along the way, whether it be an old temple or just a well-mossed stone statue hidden in the shade. After a bit of a walk, we did happen upon an old temple in a small clearing. I would not say that this temple was abandoned, but it was certainly not used too often by the looks of it. It was a small structure with a well sized deck-like area extending from the front. It was the perfect place to sit, have a drink of water, and soak in the old scents of the hidden clearing.

Perhaps we napped on that deck. The peace of that forest was just too strong to fight off. There was hardly a sound at all beyond the breezes pushing through the pine and bamboo. I challenge you not to nap in such circumstances. This temple truly seemed to be the perfect rest spot, with one exception: there was no toilet to be seen.

Small matter. So while my lovely assistant napped on the deck, I trudged off behind the temple to find a urinal shaped tree. I closed my eyes and leaned my head back, listening to the peace of the forest over the patter-patter of urine on bark (nice image, eh?) It was in this patter-pattering of peace that I heard the first hint of activity in the area: the small brushes of leaves, fallen leaves underfoot, branches snapping back like whips as they become unweighted. Something was out there. The noises, although slightly odd, did not quite disturb me enough to distract me from the job at hand. It was just as I was all tucked away and properly zipped that I spotted the first monkey.

He was approaching me on the ground at a brisk pace. There was no doubt that he was coming straight for me. Now, I had heard that one should not look directly into the eyes of a monkey, as they take it as a challenge, but a monkey is roughly the size of your average five year old, so why should I care if he took it as a challenge? Even on a bad day I can whip most five year olds. This is solely based on theory, no in-depth studies have been used to formulate the claim that I can whip most five year olds. After all, I would rather risk offending a monkey by facing him down than offer him my unguarded tush as a pin cushion for his rabid canines.

To paraphrase a great wisdom: "I happened upon two stupid paths in the woods, I took the path less stupid and that made all the difference."


Apparently it is true, one should not challenge a monkey to a stare-down. It was as I slowly backed away, and by "slowly" I mean as quickly as possible without falling on my ass, that I noticed that he was not the only monkey in the area. I started hearing noises from all directions. The first feelings of real fear started to nibble at my I-can-whip-a-five-year-old confidence. Even on a good day I think that a large group of angry five year olds with overgrown canines and bad attitudes could probably do me a fair bit of harm.

As I backed into the clearing I gave a quick shout to wake up sleeping beauty to hastily inform her that we were under attack by a group of angry monkeys. A quick reply of disbelief was fast followed by the prayer of all prayers; "Holy Shit!"

So while I stood there trying to wake sleeping beauty from her foggy existence, I realized that the monkeys had grown in number to the double digits, and had fully flanked me. A beautiful battle plan, really. Drive the enemy back, flank and trap him. I wish I had an overhead video of the maneuver. It was well executed.

My actions, on the other had, were not. After waking the princess, we huddled together on the deck to make our stand--until a monkey decided to come join us, at which point we scattered like cockroaches in the light. I was quick enough to grab our back packs, and she was quick enough to run like hell without grabbing a thing. We found ourselves in the middle of the clearing while the boss monkey sat on the deck looking over our remaining possessions. The princess had left behind a water bottle--no big deal, and our camera bag, VERY big deal. So, what to do?


I took the only reasonable course of action available to me: I scolded her. After all, I, and if that "I" wasn't already capitalized I would have capitalized it to accord it its proper level of stress, had grabbed BOTH of our backpacks. All she had to do was grab the camera bag. Jeez.

After blame was properly shifted, I realized that I had to get that bag. Sending her after it, although perhaps the safest course for me, was somehow out of the question. I started by counting monkeys, because knowing exactly how badly outnumbered I was seemed like a good way to boost my confidence. I gave up at seventeen. Really, it can't take more than seventeen full grown monkeys to eat two humans, so that was enough counting for me. I could not face them all, so I had to face the boss. The big monkey, who really was no bigger than a five year old, we was now riddling over my water bottle. I was perfectly willing to give him the bottle. The only thing that I wanted was the $600 camera that was two feet to his right. THAT, I wanted.

So I picked up a stick by my feet, it was about a foot long and pretty weak looking, but it was not like I had the luxury of choice, and started walking towards the boss. I got exactly one step before he stopped his riddling and started staring me down. Okay, so on to plan "B".

I ripped open my bag to look for anything edible. I needed snacks, something to toss to get him away from the camera bag, but I had nothing. I had eaten it all at the bottom of the trail. The princess, who suffered from a low blood sugar issue, which tended to compound her general grumpy disposition, did have a small pack of saltines that I afforded her to carry everywhere (her emergency "happy snacks.") So, would a small pack of saltines, which holds exactly three crackers, be enough to distract seventeen plus monkeys from their lust for a feast of juicy human flesh? Probably not, but three crackers is a pretty good snack for a five year old.
I partially opened the pack of crackers to let out the lovely bland scent and waved it about a bit. For a moment, I puzzled over whether I should open the pack and spread out the crackers, or if I should leave it partially opened. In the end, I realized that the monkey would probably eat the plastic wrapper and crackers in one bit, and that would do me little good. I decided to spread them out. I had little time, as they all knew that I had crackers at this point, so I had to do something before they decided to come and get the crackers on their own.


I took out the three crackers and broke them all roughly in half. I threw two pieces to my left, and two to my right. I was hoping to divide the monkeys into two groups and have them fight over the crackers while we ran. I threw the remaining crackers to the left of the boss to get him away from the camera bag. It was a great plan, but the monkeys were on to me. I fully expected them to jump at the saltines and forget all about us, but it didn't work that way. At least not right away. The boss monkey stared at me again for a while, and I tried to stare back without staring back.

Then, as if he had had his fun, the boss monkey hopped off the deck and grabbed the crackers. I slowly walked over to the camera bag and was pleasantly surprised when I was not attacked from behind or pelted with monkey feces.

The boss watched me, but he did not make a move towards me, so I grabbed the camera bag and backed away. Once I backed away about five meters, the monkey stopped staring at me and started eating the crackers. Peace offering accepted, we backed our way down the trail.


It wasn't until a bit later that I realized why the monkeys came out to play with us. After all, there was no scent of food. The only edibles we had were the crackers, and those were sealed up tight. They wouldn't come for our water, as it was just plain water, and I don't think that monkeys are attracted by the scent of sport drinks and soda anyway. It was only after eliminating food and drink that the obvious struck me: they were simply protecting their territory. They were accustomed to people coming and going, and probably would not have bothered us at all had I not tried to stake my claim on their urinal shaped tree. It was a scent that brought them out, but it wasn't food. I guess that they thought I was trying to move in by marking my territory. Oops.

So, when you travel in monkey country, watch where you pee. Moral: Don't pee on a monkey's tree lest you piss off the monkeys.

Sunday, February 27, 2005

In The Beginning...

My first "real job" outta college was as a consultant for Price Waterhouse's Office of Government Services in Washington, DC. We'll get to more on that later, but for starters, let's just say that the only way besides heavy and frequent drinking to numb the effects of 80+ hour weeks and Type A (as in "asshole") personalities at the management level was via humor and sarcasm.

So while the poem about my senior manager with the big butt who was sleeping with the project partner didn't exactly expedite my ascension up the career ladder, humor nonetheless kept most of us from teetering over the edge of sanity into oblivion. Today we have:

The Tunnel. The unofficial inter-office newsletter of the OGS office [Page 1 Page 2].
Library of Congress CDS Work Schedule. AKA, how we burned away the hours at the latest project from hell. [Schedule]

Monday, March 20, 2000

Letter of Resignation

From: Fillio, Christopher P
Sent: Monday, March 20, 2000 8:10 PM
To: Glickert, Robert F
Subject: Letter of Resignation

Importance: High
Sensitivity: Personal

Bob:

This has always been one of my favorite poems. It really speaks volumes to the many roads in life, whereby we face constant decisions, challenges and consequences. So simple, yet so powerful a message…

The Road Not Taken (Robert Frost, 1936)

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I -
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference


Of course, what’s not to like? Robert Frost was, after all, a good ol’ boy from New Hampshire!

As of today, Monday, March 20th, 2000, I am submitting my two weeks notice of resignation from KPMG Consulting. My last day with KPMG Consulting will “officially” be Friday, March 31st, 2000.

Regards,
Chris

Saturday, December 25, 1999

The KPMG Bonus Program

Double-click here before reading.

09/97 - TSS partner announces before entire 2.0 project staff the allocation of a $100,000 bonus pool for the project. There is much dancing and rejoicing.

10/97 - Project Team completes effort for 10/1 deadline; status of bonus rumored to be circulating amongst Product Council of Elders who convene monthly at the Hall of Injustice.

11/97- No bonus in sight; leaves drop from the trees much akin to the dying hopes of the project populus. Attack ships from the Planet Peoplesoft claim additional victims.

12/97 - Merger of E&Y, KPMG throws bonus pool into wild speculation. However, rumors circulate that Product Council of Elders has approved bonus distribution. Project management steadfastly contends distribution to be allocated no later than 12/19/97. City of New York claims to have resold rights to Manhattan back to Choctaw nation for $24 trillion.

01/98 - 01/14: bonus distribution again approved by Product Council of Elders, in case anyone missed it the first time. 01/21: bonus distribution approved by consulting Commander in Chief Jim Golomb; re-approved a week later, just for good measure. 01/28: Golomb approves his previous approvals.

02/98 - 02/04: Biggest-of-Wigs, Rand Blazer, affirms approval of previous approvals and affirmations of distribution and allocations and...uh....says, yeah, looks good. Alleged letters of approval and distribution are alleged to be on his alleged desk. He allegedly approves these. Also approved is a meeting of the Product Council of Elders to review a proposed meeting to approve the alleged approval for distributing a memo approving the approvals for distribution.

03/98 - President Clinton, logging into Performance Intern 2.0 notices he has ‘1 document awaiting approval’ in his inbox. He selects ‘No’ and jumps directly to the White House Intern Interface Maint screen.

09/98 - As one of his last acts of office, Clinton realizes that he can override the PI 2.0 system (and the Constitution) by simply directly updating the database through WISQL. He sets the term_limits_ind from ‘2’ to ‘3’, and gets to work on hiring some new buxom babes for the chilly winter months ahead. In his newfound joy and rapture, he approves the bonus pool, forwarding it to the United Nations’ mailbox of Kofi Annan.

10/98 - United Nations resolves peace accord in West Bank; Saddam Hussein surrenders all chemical weapons in Iraq; 3rd world becomes devoid of disease and starvation; Cuba adopts democratic process; Cubs win World Series. U.N., with world peace issue out of the way, approves bonus pool and forwards to next highest authority, Pope John Paul II.

11/98- All remaining Performance Series 2.0 staff (both) replaced with Pentium III MMX 466mhz servers. JP2’s approval arrives by FEDEX to St. Peter.

12/99 - God approves bonus pool.

Sunday, December 05, 1999

Poetry EXPLOSION!

Winning submission to the first annual modiKa Vermin Valentine Haiku Contest, where entries may only make use of words culled from Valentine's Day heart candies:

I love my sweetie.
Will you be my baby, yes?
Come on, be my pie.

Non-winning limerick submission to some goofy radio contest, which challenged entrants to employ the last names of two current not-so-honorable newsmakers:

Monica Lewinsky knew which,
Of the President's organs did itch.
But Kaczynski's bad mail
Put him in jail,
Where now he's some bad man's bitch.

Tuesday, November 09, 1999

Hoop Dreams

I’m not sure when I first had the dream.

Maybe it first came to me while growing up in the desolate Indiana farm country. Using a milk crate nailed on a telephone pole under a flickering street light, I would shoot free throws incessantly until my mom forced me to bed each summer night.

Or maybe it first came to me as an impressionable high school junior, after being cut from the varsity basketball team by a coach who thought my skill set would be “more of an asset to the cross country team”. That was his sugarcoated way of telling me that I couldn’t make a shot if I were ten feet tall and two feet from the basket.

To be truthful, the dream probably didn’t occur to me during those looong Indiana summer nights since I didn’t actually grow up shooting at milk crates or peach baskets or butter churns in Indiana or Kentucky or North Carolina or ANYWHERE with even a semblance of a hoops tradition. On the contrary. I was living in a basketball void—southeastern New Hampshire, which is better known for it’s stumping would-be presidents than it’s dunking would-be collegians.

In reality the dream was fueled by a singular event in June of 1995. It was then that an until recently unknown high school senior basketball player from Mauldin, South Carolina, was selected as the 5th overall pick in the NBA draft. In a matter of twenty-four hours, Kevin Garnett—only one month removed from his 19th birthday—was transformed from local high school legend to professional basketball millionaire.

Some dreams die hard. For me the dream lasted as long as the life-span of a fruit fly, because I knew I was horrible at basketball and would never play in the NBA.

But in the spring of ‘98 the dream came to me again, in another form. This time, I was no longer dreaming of playing in the NBA. I was half-wittedly musing of getting drafted to play in the NBA. I had no delusions of taking a single dribble in a single professional game. Rather, I had delusions of smokescreening some NBA front office person into being silly enough to make a long-shot play for a skinny white boy from New Hampshire.

I soon got to work on devising my personal open invitation to all twenty-nine NBA teams.

The response from the professional basketball community was, to say the least, overwhelming. The first to come calling were the Minnesota Timberwolves, with a personal phone call from Rob Babcock, general manager.

Wow! Rob’s message verily bled of sincerity! The Timberwolves at the time were a young team on the rise, and no doubt Rob had pegged me as an integral cog in the Minnesota basketball machine. Sadly, I neglected to return Rob’s call as I became otherwise occupied with watching episodes of Survivor.

The next contact came from Donnie Walsh, president of the Indiana Pacers.

Subsequently, I was contacted by the Milwaukee Bucks. Despite the absence of a bona fide offer, General Manager Bob Weinhauer did have a number of other valuable insights into my present situation.

Now, while I was deeply touched by the personal nature of Pete Babcock’s handwritten response on behalf of the Atlanta Hawks, I was likewise offended by the Los Angeles Lakers’ “standard rejection letter” format.

Growing up as a Boston Celtics fan, I would never work for the crummy Lakers anyway. I just sent them a copy out of common courtesy. Besides, their reference to someone with “[my] qualifications” inferred that I was overqualified for a position on their team.

The final entry in this NBA dream lottery was the New York Knickerbockers. Now, I’m not really sure what the heck a Knickerbocker may be, or even a Knick for that matter, so evidently this is an organization that is thoroughly confused. Thoroughly, thoroughly confused.

Alas, maybe my dream was not meant to be. Finally I can fade from the limelight knowing I gave it my all, one-hundred and ten percent, at least on paper, that is. And as for all you NBA owners, presidents and general managers: y’all had your shot and ya’ blew it! A golden opportunity like this comes around only once in a lifetime. Okay, maybe twice. I plan to give my agent a call as soon as I finish savoring those final episodes of Survivor.

See and hear all the responses:

My invitation to all twenty-nine NBA teams.
Voicemail from the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Reply from the Indiana Pacers.
Reply from the Milwaukee Bucks.
Reply from the Atlanta Hawks.
Reply from the Los Angeles Lakers.
Reply from the New York Knicks.