Sunday, 4 May 2014

When darkness turns to light...

...It ends tonight, it ends tonight.
Just a little insight won’t make things right…
It’s too late too fight, it ends tonight…

It’s been a long time coming…

- the Company – my current employer,
- the New Factory – hope the future is bright out there,
- Dude – my boss (despite the superior – subordinate relationship, he is for me like a mate, we are on the same wavelength),
- Commander-in-chief – the boss of my boss,
- the Soulmate (mentioned here many times, a fellow colleague, despite being a close friend knows nothing about the existence of this blog)
- and me, for a short moment the hub of the universe ;-)

January 2013
The first, emotion-driven, attempt to change the job. By offering a pay rise and promotion, the Company manages to keep me in. More than a year after, despite all the bad stuff, I do not regret that decision.

May 2013.
First cracks on the glass appear. The Company refuses to further pursue relationship with one of its large customers on less favourable (lower income) terms and then terminates provision of services to one of the largest and most reputable customers in Poland. The relationship, established less than a year earlier, has not fetched adequate profit. Nobody bothers to think this was a door-opener for being a meaningful player in a certain market segment. No other competitor on the whole market would dare to take such step.

August 2013
Two female colleagues announce they are pregnant. Both will give birth in March 2014 and are due to return from maternity leaves in spring 2015…

September 2013
The Company decides to exit another relationship with a large customer. We entered it for prestige, rather than for income…

October 2013
Dude arranges for a substitute for pregnant girls. The new colleague will work for us as part of secondment for half a year. Soon she turns out to be anything but productive. After two weeks I begin counting down days until the end of March when her secondment ends. Months with her in the team are a rough ride…

November 2013
A guy who left the Company a few months ago calls to persuade me to join his team in a company in which he took office as director upon the departure. The prospective employer is government-controlled and is not a part of international corporation, meaning doing business is subject to political influences and I would not use English everyday. Both reservations are a huge drawback for me. I turn down the offer.
My motivation is in the slump, particularly after several people I have worked with are laid off…

December 2013
In this month and some time earlier other important customers decide to quit or decrease scopes of relationships with the Company. No new ones are acquired to take place of them, resulting in idle capacity…

January 2014
I’m faced with another proposal of a new job. Having weighed up all pros and cons, I decline it, despite realising the current job is dead-end. Another customer terminates its co-operation, this time for operating reasons (the service provided proved unreliable for too many times).

February 2014
Dude hires a new girl. Very self-focused and inefficient. Dude, even if manages to delegate tasks, fails to enforce execution.
I find a job opening from posted by the New Factory. It seems appealing, but for the time being, I decide not to apply. I don’t want to earn a reputation of a person who turns up for interviews and then kicks up a fuss.
Another strategic customer severs the relationship with the Company, as competitors offer it lower prices for services.
Applications presenting opportunities to provide a profitable service for two prospective customers are negatively opined by decision makers…
During annual appraisal, I tell Dude I don’t fee a future for myself in the Company and cite reasons why (see above). He tells me has no doubt I would find a job somewhere else and I’m replaceable. He seems to really believe there must be a breaking point at which someone realises the Company needs to be turned around. I am of the opinion by the end of 2015 our business segment will have been wound down.

March 2014
No new customer acquired since the beginning of the year and another one lost. There are days when I am at the loose end most of the time… The only upside is that the end of colleague’s secondment draws near.
The Soulmate is determined to find a new job. Our plan is that she leaves first, I soldier on, but demand a substantial pay rise and quit a few months later.

7 April 2014
In my LinkedIn box I find a message from a recruiter from the New Factory relating to the job opening I saw in early February. If they approach me, not the other way round, at least there’s no risk of being perceived as the one who kicks up the fuss. In response I send my CV.

8 April 2014
A recruiter from the New Factory invites me for a meeting two days later.

10 April 2014
In the morning I call Dude and tell him I’ll be late as the French electronics in my car packed up in the rain and I ended up in a garage and I’m waiting to get the car fixed. (Megane has had a track record of no single breakdown since the wipers mechanism breakdown in May 2013)
In earnest, the new job is not perfect (none would be), but reasonable. Scope of duties and role in the process is very similar to what I do at the Company. My salary expectations are exorbitant, so I’m prepared to adjust down my demands.

17 April 2014
I receive the letter of intent from the New Factory. They are unwilling to beat down my expected salary … I respond positively.

22 April 2014
Members of management board having decision-making authority all take seven days off to take fortnight-long holidays and do not delegate their authorities, which results in decision-making paralysis. If a customer turns to us with a request regarding the terms of service, it has to wait until first week of May. At any other firm in the industry such event is unthinkable. This probably is a part of pursuit of “Priority for clients” strategy…

23 April 2014
In a newsletter sent out to all employees, CEO of the Company delineates a strategy which assumes customers from the business line I deal with will be “acquired selectively”. If I can read well between the lines, it means withdrawal from this business line and inexorable redundancy for me… By the way, how does the CEO imagine execution of such strategy, if reputation of the Company with the target has already been spoiled?

24 April 2014
I am designated to co-ordinate a project. It is bound to fail, but I politely agree to take up all the tasks…

25 April 2014
Dude hands out missives containing the information on annual bonus. What a golden handshake! Seriously, again I feel very bad about hiding my intention to leave…

28 April 2014
Needless to say no new customers have been acquired since the beginning of 2014 and loss of two other by the end of May looms large.

29 April 2014
My bank account is credited with the bonus. Now no one can change the discretionary decision on granting it, nor take back the transfer order. Dude and I are dealing until late afternoon with absurdities unknown to other companies. When I knock off he sighs and says: ‘it’s been a crazy day, I hope tomorrow will be uneventful’.

30 April 2014
I’m damn stressed-out, I can’t focus on work, my hands quake. Dude turns up to the office late. He’s angry and refuses to talk to us. After a quarter he slightly cheers up and reminds us of holiday planning.

I ask him to come with me to a meeting room for a face-to-face conversation and when we get there, without further ado I hand in my notice. Dude is kind of crestfallen but keeps a cool head. His first reaction is absolutely correct – he tries to renegotiate my salary; to no effect. I quickly retort if this was only a matter of money, I would tell him straightforwardly I want more and we would probably strike a deal. I point out if the Company was forging ahead, I would connive at all the stuff that fucks me up and get ahead with it, but when I see it being wound down, I see no other choice. Dude asks, whether I wouldn’t consider carrying on my misery until girls return from maternity leaves. I refuse and further argue there is no point in staying. I explain we can either embrace the way the Company is run or reject it and I can see no in between. We can either shape up or ship out. I’ve been shaping up for some time, now there’s the opportunity to ship out… The Company has worn me down… I feel under my skin Dude thinks the same, as most people do, but he’s far from having the comfort of speak it out. Dude refuses to countersign my notice for the time being. He has to talk to Commander-in-chief.

We return to our desk. Dude most probably informs Commander-in-chief by e-mail about my decision. At some point Commander’s merry face turns red. Hard to guess whether he’s stumped, shell-shocked, frightened, bemused. He asks Dude to have a face-to-face chat immediately. They’re away for half an hour which seems to last ages. They come back. Commander-in-chief is livid. Dude now asks the Soulmate to come with him. Next thirty minutes wear on. I still wonder what the hell they are talking about.

Two hours after the bomb was detonated, Dude countersigns my notice. Within next hours things get back to normal. It’s good the atmosphere seems to have cleaned up. I’ll work here till the end of July (one third of that time I’ll be on holiday, but never mind), so making life harder makes little sense.

Just like in choosing a person you will spend the rest of your life with, there’s no point of raising the bar too high when looking for a job. In both cases you run a serious risk of not finding a partner or employer. The New Factory meets three criteria I have set: it is a meaningful player in the industry, keeps growing and its profits incline as well, I will use English in everyday work and I will have the chance to develop and learn, as it is involved in doing businesses the Company shies away from. Apart from this, I don’t expect it to be perfect. As everywhere, corporate structure and people will be more and less tolerable, but at least it offers prospects the Company lacks…


DC said...

Congratulations. Now let's hope you don't end up with co-workers or a boss like this:

Time for an exotic vacation to celebrate?

student SGH said...

Thanks DC,

I estimate odds of falling in with such company as low :)

Ordinary rather than exotic holidays ahead, unless flying mere less than 1,000 miles from Warsaw fits the definition of 'exotic', but I doubt it does...

DC said...

I suppose exotic is in the eye of the beholder.

Looks like there are plenty of spots that could qualify, at least in my book:

After a surprisingly nice visit to Tbilisi last year, my next dream trip might be Tashkent, Bishkek, Almaty and environs. Someday.

Have fun!

Anonymous said...

Hi Bart,

The bank is doing badly, poor management, disappointed clients...etc and then you get the letter explaining what handsome bonuses will be paid out!

Clearly nothing has been learned and frankly, never will. The disease has now become the norm.

Best of luck with the new job!