Monday, February 28, 2011

Take this job and... You can't pay me to do it anymore

I don't update my blog very often, or very well for that matter.  I've been busy and I thought it was about time I caught you up with why.

About a year ago the tiny little computer company I worked for was partially acquired by a huge computer company.  I was one of the acquisitions.  Unfortunately the new company looked at me and pretty much said, "We don't know what to do with you.  Why don't you train our people to do your job and then if you're lucky we'll give you a real job."  So I've spent most of the last year training myself out of a job. 

This is a very interesting position to be in.  On one hand, you have a job to do and if you do it well they might give you another job, but if you do it well that also means you're making yourself redundant, and they might not need you after all.  I've been asked by several folks how to handle this awkward situation.  The only answer I've come up with, and the think I work for is to handle it "With Grace."

I don't know that I've always managed the grace.  With this kind of situation comes a lot of bitterness.  It's demeaning to be told, "These three jobs you've been doing for the past several years, you're not qualified to do them for us, but you are qualified to train our folks to do them.  Forget that no one else in the world knows your products as well as you do.  Forget that you're going to be training 30 or so people to do what you, one person, do.  You just don't fit into our corporate structure and we're unable to bother ourselves enough to find or create a place where you fit.  It's nothing personal!"

No one person ever spoke these words to me, but this attitude is what I have been working with since last February.  All the folks I worked with directly loved me, thought I was fantastic, and if I had been willing to relocate they probably could have found me a job.  Not that they ever actually offered, but they often expressed their regret for the situation as they found it.  Forget that I've just bought a house and that my husband who works for the same company is told he has to be in the office and that relocating is not an option.  Forget that I'm perfectly willing to travel, that this company prides itself on being a global company, has offices worldwide as well as s huge number that work from home.  Forget that I'm willing to work all sorts of weird hours, and have done ever since I started working with customers.  Forget that my customers love me, have sent me cheese for Christmas, and many have my personal IM or cell number, just in case something happens when I'm not in the office.  I've been point of contact for every single support issue for so long that most customers don't even bother with their account manager when they know I can answer their questions with a few minutes on the phone.  So by getting rid of me and not allowing me to assist with a smooth transition of customers, you're alienating those customers.  That's OK, it shows how much you care.

Sorry for letting this turn into a rant, I didn't mean to.  I should probably go back and clean some of this up so I don't sound TO bitter.  After all, my husband works for the same company, and I don't want them to be biased against him.  He's great, and does a good job, and I'm sure he puts up with a lot of BS from them as well.

So I wanted to update you on where I've been.  I was traveling half of October, busy doing an excellent job of training myself out of a job.  While I was spending time in airports my brother-in-law was spending time in the hospital.  He almost died, but that's his story to tell.  I'll just say he's doing fantastically well, much better than I think any of us expected after multiple surgeries, and was back to work as soon as the doctors let him.  He got out of the hospital and I got back from work travel just in time to move into my new house November 1st. 

On a side note, my FANTASTIC mom stayed with us two days after we moved and organized our kitchen so we could make dinner the rest of the week.  It made me realize not only what a wonderful mom she is, but that you should never let anyone organize your kitchen without you there.  I spent the next month calling her asking where such and such was in the kitchen.  She answered me every time.

We managed to get the upstairs of the house organized before Thanksgiving, bought and rearranged furniture with the help of good friends, and had both our families over for Thanksgiving dinners.  I won't talk about the basement.  It's still not done, but at least we're making progress.  The TV is set up, and the treadmill, both of which have done a lovely job gathering dust since the move.

I had a bit of a break in December, except that I was sick.  I got the flu the day after Thanksgiving, and then had a cold for three weeks.  I went to the doctor and got antibiotics for a brief respite.  Then my mother-in-law and Grandpa went into different hospitals at almost the same time for pneumonia, the week before Christmas and stayed through Christmas.  I think they were racing to see who could get out of the hospital first.  My mother-in-law won, but then my Grandpa's 95 so I wouldn't want him to rush it anyway.

It snowed Christmas day.  I don't know that it's ever done that before in Georgia.  Someone told me the last time it did was in the 1800's.  It's only the second time in my memory that we've had snow that stuck before New Years.  My sister was in town for Christmas.  She used to live in Illinois but recently moved to Texas and confessed about a month before that she missed the snow.  I told her we brought it in just for her.  I discovered that even though she's older I still can't keep up with her.  We were on the go a LOT, and I drank entirely to much coffee (which I gave up several years back, but that's another story) so I didn't sleep well either. 

After my sister and her husband (we like him) left on vacation we were able to get together with my in-laws for Christmas.  It was low key, and my mother-in-law apologized for ruining Christmas (she really didn't), but it was a nice get-together. 

I thought things might calm down a bit, just in time to get my cold back.  Oh well, at least I had a respite from Christmas Eve to the day after New Years.  My contract at work was up at the end of the year, but no one seemed to be able to tell me how to complete it, or when I would have an exit interview.  So I went in Monday, dealt with a new support case, made sure I was organized for my last day, had a list of things to do, and then my e-mail access was cut off.  It would have been nice to have a bit of warning and to make sure someone was monitoring it in case any customers e-mailed, but I'm sure it was on some one's list of things to do.  I guess that's one way to tell me I don't work for you anymore.