The best job in Canada for me was the last one, at Bell Media. I had the chance to use all the accumulated experience they needed at that time. I was well paid, and my superiors, from manager to director to vice president, properly appreciated my effort.
Not only did I keep the system running properly, but I stabilized it, imposed rules so disasters wouldn’t happen, lectured developers to write performant code, and offered to answer the phone if disasters happened after hours. In 3 and a half years, I was called at home 4 times (actually, they were all in the first year and a half until I stabilized the system).
My boss told me, “come when you want, leave when you want, just tell me when you’re away so I know, and I’ll sign whatever hours you put on the time sheet.”
The company worked for 7 and a half hours, and I agreed with my boss to work from Monday to Thursday, 8 hours, so I had 3 days off every week.
I had to learn PostgreSQL on Linux, but as usual, if you got stuck, there was always someone to help with the trouble until I learned it myself. So, I was at retirement age, and I still had to learn something. PostgreSQL only had databases that helped production, not production, but still important.
In 2020 I told my bosses at Bell that I wanted to retire. It worked out well for them because they wanted to switch my position from a contractor to a full-time, and they didn’t know how to tell me.
When they notified me in 2021, I told them I’ll until stay until we find a replacement and then a little more if they needed me to hand over the job.
They agreed with a strange proposal. Namely, the new candidate should work for 3 months, then I should come back. I accepted but didn’t know how the other DBA would react.
It was me to conduct the interviews. I received 19 Resumes. 10 were colleagues of mine at Scotiabank who found out I was looking for a DBA for Bell, and something was wrong at the bank. First of all, several consultants have already been fired there. I knew that bank experience doesn’t help solve problems at Bell, so I called 4 of the others on the list to interview (not my ex-colleagues), but they weren’t any better either. It was really hard to find the right DBA.
I was never biased about my colleagues’ origin; for me, the value of each individual is what counts. And I know well what I am talking about, considering some misconceptions about Romanians.
On the list of those who were my colleagues, there was also a Russian, a former university professor at in Russia before immigration to Canada, with a doctorate in mathematics, around 50. I told myself that if I had to choose someone to replace me, at least he should be smart, even if he didn’t fit as well as I would have liked. I formally called him in for the interview, even though I was pretty sure I was going to pick him. I would have turned him down only if he was talking nonsense at the interview. But he didn’t talk nonsense, so I chose the Russian guy. I’ll call him V, because all Russians are Vlad.
He was a consultant at the bank, finished his contract, and would have accepted anything, including a full-time proposal. I think he was desperate.
My boss hired him at my recommendation, but I didn’t understand his behavior. He never said “thank you”, didn’t answer my emails, or didn’t comment on the documentation I sent him with advice on different aspects he needed to know. We stayed together for 2 weeks. I solved the problems the first week and sent him emails about how it was done so he could learn. He wasn’t answering. In the second week, I let him solve the issues and only checked his work. The problems to be solved were not complex, the system was very stable. Well, I gave him a good job as a gift.
There was another reason I had to leave: consultants could only work for two years, and more than that, you should be a full-timer. And I was already 2 and a half years on the job. The 6-month extension came with special approval from the company’s vice president because Covid started, and they didn’t want any changes.
I was shocked 3 months later when I was recalled to work again. They told me about a 3 more months contract. After 3 months, I left again, and V came back for a full-time job.
Four months later, my boss called me again. V did not vaccinate against COVID, and the company’s policy was to send home the unvaccinated. I was vaccinated.
So I worked for another 6 months until the restriction was lifted, and V returned to work. I guess he didn’t find anything better in the meantime, or it was hard to find work being unvaccinated, or he didn’t find such a stable system with good pay and no hassle.
But his attitude was always the same, he didn’t want to communicate with me. I called him a few times, and he answered, he was polite but distant. He never called. What could have been? The feeling of superiority? Every time I left the job, my colleagues flooded my email with thanks, but nothing from the Russian.
Well, that was about my jobs in Canada. I am now retired.
Very short tricky jobs:
Where it all started: