Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Job, part 1

A long story, but worth it in my opinion.

Been on this particular job 15 years. Actually, I was hired 16 years ago, but I spent a year away back some 9 years ago, and came back. So there's history. Many of the people at this company have been around a long time, many longer than I.

And what makes it even odder is that it is a high tech company. High tech companies have had the reputation as revolving doors, for not only the company but for as many people to last that long is a feat. That being said, although it is essentially the same task we accomplish, the company's products have evolved in some ways. More importantly I suppose, is the fact that the company has been through more than a handful of ownership changes. Start up, merger, acquisition, spin off, purchase, sale, etc.

And of course name changes up the wazoo. Any time an ownership change occurred, there of course would be a new sign on the door (and new envelopes, which obsoleted the old envelopes, which meant free envelopes for everyone).

Needless to say, with every major change there would be an upper management change. New names would populate the little boxes on the charts, the boxes that had lines connecting to other little boxes. Etc.

I started as an engineer. Later on became a manager.

"Front line manager", meaning no one who reported to me was a manager.

I got to like it. Over the years, my group ranged from two to thirteen people, not in that order. It was a wide range, definitely.

One of the interesting parts was handling all the corporate changes and the co-workers in my group at the same time. You could image all sorts of reactions whenever major changes came down.

Finally, I found what I thought was a helpful metaphor. I got to say, "Look, we're here in the engine room. Our job is to keep the engine running. We really don't care what color the captain paints on the outside of the ship, as long as he keeps it off the rocks." (Was that a metaphor or an analogy?) I thought that was a good description in my attempt to deflect focus from the seemingly endless distractions of corporate changes. (Hey, admit it, some people get more weirded out than others by the upper management whirlwind.)

Coming more to the present date... Sooner or later things changed ever more dramatically, at least for me.