Corporate America, Get It Off Your Chest

Want to work at my company? Talk to me BEFORE applying

For the 3rd time since I started my not-so-new job, a friend has reached out to me asking if I could help them get into the company.  (4th if you count a douchebag who is not a friend so much as a raging asshole with no soft skills whatsoever).

I’m always willing to help a friend out with the job hunt if I can.  Unfortunately, these people already applied to my company before talking to me.  This move disqualifies me for receiving any referral bonus that I would get if they were hired.  I know that sounds a little a greedy but hey I have small children to feed.  After taxes the referral bonus could cover a month of daycare if not more.
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Here’s the thing.  You’re asking me to help you get a six figure job (or high five figure) and you want me to put in the effort for nothing?  Brownie points and good feelings only go so far.  Compared to liking a stupid Facebook page for instance.

You’re asking me to stick my neck out and vouch for you.  Why wouldn’t you want me to get rewarded for that?  I know, you didn’t realize it worked that way.  Considering this is a fairly standard policy that tells me you haven’t tried to help someone get a position recently.   Ahem…with at least one of these people, I did tell explicitly tell them to talk to me before applying because of the referral bonus policy.

What’s that?  You still want me to see if I can reach out to the hiring manager?  Sure, as soon as you send me the equivalent of the lost referral bonus.  Don’t worry, if you don’t get hired I promise I’ll eturn it.

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In the not too distant past, I had a job interview.  Even before the Big Announcement — that TopFive was moving to a Managed Service Model — I was quietly looking for a new job because I knew I was on borrowed time.  In Corporate America, we use the terms Capacity and Demand.  For the last few years, I had had much much more Capacity than Demand.

My skillset is kinda niche.  In laymen terms I’m a  Subject Matter Expert for a software system that is used primarily by law firms, but I hadn’t done that since 2011.  Also, working at a law firm, even from the IT side, is not always a pleasant place to be.  If I was going to go back to a law firm environment (Work From Home?  Sure you can work from home all you want after you put in 40+ hours at the office) it had to be a more meaningful position than the one I previously held.

As luck would have it, I applied for a position I had seen posted for over a year.

Bonus Gallery: The Perils of Navigating a Badly Designed Job Application Interface

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The first round was a phone screening with the HR generalist and she asked me why I was looking for a new position and I told her about the move to a Managed Service Model.  That’s about as good of a reason to be looking to leave your company as you can get.  And had we stopped there, I might have been more enthusiastic about the position.  However, there was something annoying about the phone screening.  She  went over my resume line by line and asked me why I left each position, going back the Beginning of Time.

“Well I just got too old to deliver newspapers on my tricycle.”

I know that she has to ask certain questions.  I know that is just how it is.  I know you’re doing your due diligence to screen for any issues or patterns that might show up over time like doesn’t get along with authority.  You’re might get lucky and get someone who says “well I was tired of sleeping with my boss” or “I needed to get out of there before they found out how much I was embezzling”.

Here’s the thing.  No one leaves a job  because they are overpaid or too happy. And no one wants to replay the drama of 4 jobs ago even if they can remember  why they left.  That’s like asking someone why they broke up with the person they were with 3 relationships ago or why you didn’t marry your high school sweetheart?

I did make it to the next round, a phone interview with my potential boss. There is a reason this position has been posted and re-posted for over a year.  Reading the job description, I could tell they were trying to fill at least three distinct positions with one person.  I can tell you that this type of candidate doesn’t occur organically in nature. Iit was like trying to find a Brain Surgeon, who also was a carpenter, and knew how to play the saxophone while also speaking fluent Estonian.

Recruiters call this a Purple Squirrel.  And that’s what they were looking for.  Alas, i didn’t get an offer and am okay with that.

Stay Tuned….

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This post was drafted a year or so ago, as these events were occurring.  I waited to post this because I didn’t want to risk my job hunting efforts or reveal any information about my former company.  The purpose of these posts aren’t to bash my former employer but to share my experience and hopefully educate people on the perils of Corporate America.

Follow Mysteries of Life on Twitter (@MysteriesOLife), Facebook or subscribe via email.

Corporate America, Life Lessons, OutSourcing Ordeals

Job Hunting and the Purple Squirrel

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Corporate America, Life Lessons, OutSourcing Ordeals

Outsourcing to a Managed Service Model: The Word is Given

So the Discovery Deadline came and went and in typical fashion for TopFive, the Higher_Ups hadn’t made a decision yet.  It came as no surprise because something of this magnitude and natural couldn’t be figured out in six weeks.  And honestly, the six weeks was never about figuring out the logistics of transition and knowledge transfer, it was about money.

For MSM to work, it has to be cheaper than what TopFive was spending now, but the new firm (let’s call them TopperTwins) had to make money too.  And all the people involved in this decision wanted their “I saved the company X dollars” bonuses.

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We said keep the lights ON

 

During this time, we were in Keep The Lights On Mode.  No new projects were approved and with people leaving every day, it was like a ghost town at the office.

Eventually that all was hammered out and the word was given that we would move to this model.  No one was surprised by this.  They wouldn’t tell anyone exactly when their last day was but we were told the transition had to be completed by March 1.  They did promise that no one would come back from the holidays and be let go on Jan 1.  (Of course the calendar was such that the first day back was Jan 4.)

No one factored the holidays or vacations or the fact that the firm shuts down for the last two weeks of the year into this transition schedule.

They also announced that some people would be retained in the New World Order and that an additional 30 positions would be available to apply for them.  Translation: you get to apply for the job you are currently doing at the moment.  Finally, if you don’t find anything with the New order, you can apply for any of the open positions TopperTwins has at the weekly job fairs.

I personally knew that I was not to be part of any of that.  My skillset can be summed up as a Subject Matter Expert of a particular software.  It is used primarily by law firms but TopFive was one of the few corporations that utilized it.  But its use had dwindled in the time I was there and most of it had already been Sunsetted.

However, many of my colleges believed that given all the people who had departed, if they just hung around they would be hired on and have nothing to worry about.  Spoiler Alert: it didn’t happen that way.  Those 30 open positions?  25 of them were automatically filed before they were officially announced.  I was already looking for a new job, but this made me ratch it up a notch.

Stay Tuned….

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This post was drafted a year or so ago, as these events were occurring.  I waited to post this because I didn’t want to risk my job hunting efforts or reveal any information about my former company.  The purpose of these posts aren’t to bash my former employer but to share my experience and hopefully educate people on the perils of Corporate America.

Follow Mysteries of Life on Twitter (@MysteriesOLife), Facebook or subscribe via email.

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Corporate America, Life Lessons, OutSourcing Ordeals

Is your company Outsourcing? Take the money and run

We got the news mid summer that TopFive was exploring moving to a Managed Services Model (MSM) and it was surprisingly, unsurprising.  By that I mean even obtuse moi had noticed the signs:

  • Attrition Rate was usually high;
  • Empty positions were not being replaced;
  • I was on my 4th boss in a year;
  • Older Partners and Senior Executives were being “coaxed” to retire;

They told us that the plan was to do Discovery until the end of August and make a yay or nay decision by September 1.  I have never been through anything like this myself, but many of my fellow IT colleagues had so they knew that not only was this an unrealistic timetable but also when the Higher-Ups said Exploring the options, they really meant this move was gonna happen we just need to figure out the money.

When a company laysoff outsources a large portion of their staff, it isn’t unusual to offer an Incentive Bonus to keep people around long enough to transfer their Native Knowledge.  This is supposed to lesson the blow of essentially training your replacement.  You have to really decide if sticking around is the right move for you.  Depending on the terms, you might risk missing out on another opportunity or you might lose out on the bonus due to some technicality that you didn’t realize.

It’s like trying to determine all the cards so that one can make the best choice possible.  Should I go with the safe Full House or do I try and get a Straight Flush?  The thing is, you cannot know that until you make a choice.  If you leave to take another position, it might not suck for six months but after that, you may be longing for the days of TopFive.

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The Parking Lot was getting emptier and emptier

TopFive mentioned an Incentive Bonus during Discovery but no details were forthcoming.  All they would tell us on those All-Hands Calls was that the incentive bonus is based on individuals being with TopFive till August 31st and we would get details in the mail.  I believe the sent these priority mail letters out and given that they were delivered via the USPS not everyone got one at the same time.  So imagine walking into the office and finding out that everyone on your team got a letter but you.

This caused rumors to incubate very nicely.

I wish I could share the letter but I can tell you from my former life as a paralegal it looked like someone download Contracts for Dummies from the internet and tried to fill in the blanks.  It was apparent from the wording of the letter that they initially were going to try and give everyone a different amount based on some assessment of ones job function and need to keep them around long enough to transfer knowledge.   My guess is someone started doing it and figured out that 1) it’s too hard to do that with the Loosey-Goosey criteria they were probably given from Mickey Mouse Management and 2) if they didn’t offer enough money everyone who could was gonna walk.

Apparently the magic number, the sum of our worth, was $5000.

$5k is between Nothing-To-Sneeze-At and Not-Game-Changing, especially after taxes.  I started looking for a new job myself but I knew I wasn’t going to find anything immediately.  So I, like many others, wanted the incentive bonus because we were going to be here anyway.

Some people still left which did surprise me.  Why would you pass up $5k when all it would take was sticking around another month?  I get that some people probably started looking the day the news was announced but in Corporate America, they usually take two months to fill a position and want you to start at the beginning of a pay cycle so you’d have to be a really bad negotiator to not be able to say I couldn’t start until after Sept 1.

There was one person who quit on 8/26 which means he either had an offer that he couldn’t refuse or there some something suspicious about the incentive bonus.

 

Stay Tuned….

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This post was drafted a year or so ago, as these events were occurring.  I waited to post this because I didn’t want to risk my job hunting efforts or reveal any information about my former company.  The purpose of these posts aren’t to bash my former employer but to share my experience and hopefully educate people on the perils of Corporate America.

Follow Mysteries of Life on Twitter (@MysteriesOLife), Facebook or subscribe via email.

 

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Corporate America, Dark Matters, Dating and Romance, Life Lessons, OutSourcing Ordeals

How years of rejection in the Dating World prepared me for losing my job

So the cat can now be let out of the bag.  My company TopFive has discovered that it is an accounting firm, not an IT firm and as such, it is strongly considering moving to a Managed Services model (read: outsourcing) and my job will soon be gone.

We are of course using the current buzz word “Managed Services” but it really  means TopFive has decided to explore Outsourcing the IT department. Every week we have a pointless all-hands conference call that created more questions than they answered.  And the information they do give us, they refuse to write down in an FAQ or follow up email.  They said it was to foster a discussion but there is only one reason you don’t put something in writing.

No I'm not looking at LinkedIn, why do you ask?

No I’m not looking at LinkedIn, why do you ask?

As you can imagine moral around the office is at an all time low.  The big surprise is that everyone has noticed that I am taking the news rather well and appear to be downright optimistic.

No one has ever accused me of being optimistic.  But I have to be honest, I am handling this news much better than many of my peers.

One thing I kinda know about some of my co-workers is they didn’t really date much before they settled down.  Some actually have arranged marriages, some simply married the first person they saw naked and some even went the mail order bride route.  I on the other hand was a regular Ted Mosby only without the sidekicks.  While I was never any Casanova, I did go on my fair share of dates, had a few serious girlfriends and even a fiance before meeting my wife.

What came with all of that, besides the usual roller coaster of good times and bad times, was a lot of rejection.  There were ladies who didn’t give me a chance at all, or one date and done.  A few dates that were obviously merely me underwriting their meal plan and a few short term relationships.

If there is anything good about rejection it is that it does build a sort of mental toughness over time.  If you are lucky and can learn to accept that rejections isn’t always about you as much as it is about the other person too.  I faceplanted a lot back in my dating days.  But it wasn’t always me.  Sometimes, just sometimes it was her.

And in that same manner, the move to outsourcing and eliminating my job has nothing to do with my value.  It’s a small group of Decisionmakers at TopFive who want to increase their already insane profit margin in the short term at the expense of quality service in the long run.  And still using that same analogy, heck let’s be honest, I’m beating that analogy to death, a bad relationship needs to end sooner, not later.  Sure you might be getting wild sex, but at the expense of your car windows getting bashed.  I think not.

Stay Tuned….

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This post was drafted a year or so ago, as these events were occurring.  I waited to post this because I didn’t want to risk my job hunting efforts or reveal any information about my former company.  The purpose of these posts aren’t to bash my former employer but to share my experience and hopefully educate people on the perils of Corporate America.

Follow Mysteries of Life on Twitter (@MysteriesOLife), Facebook or subscribe via email.

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Corporate America, Life Lessons, OutSourcing Ordeals

What happens when your company moves to a Managed Services Model

We got the news at our annual All-Hands Dept Meeting that we had been expecting for some time now.   My company TopFive has discovered that it is an accounting firm, not an IT firm and as such, it has decided to explore Outsourcing the IT Dept.  We are of course using the current buzz word “Managed Services” but it is really the same thing.

Investigating outsourcing is the polite way of saying it’s all but a done deal, and we will be unemployed this fall.  They have framed this period as Due Diligence to determine if it is cost effective but unless someone falls asleep at the wheel, the numbers are going to sound good, at least short term.

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Where did everyone go?

If you worked in IT in the last quarter of century, you have a few common experiences no matter what area you specialize in.  You took Fundamentals of Programming Languages at whatever learning institution you got your credentials at; you probably worked for a Dotcom or at least a startup; and you either went through or know someone who went through an outsourcing.

In a little over six weeks, TopFive’s IT will be outsourced.   When this happens you have three options:

Option #1 is you get cut, either right away because they have enough programmers, DBAs, help desk or whatever general IT function you do that is easy to replace or a little later after you agree to offload your knowledge in return for a severance package which usually includes a few paychecks to get you through to your next gig.

Option #2 is you get to stay on as part of the skeleton IT crew of the original company.

Option #3 is you get re-badged by the new company for your Native Knowledge and nothing else really changes other than who signs your paycheck and possibly your desk moves to another location (maybe even home).

I have no reason to believe I’ll be part of Option #2 and only slightly less hope to think I won’t be part of Option #3.  My Native Knowledge is in products TopFive isn’t happy with so it is very unlikely I’ll be asked to stay on in any capacity.

Stay Tuned….

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This post was drafted a year or so ago, as these events were occurring.  I waited to post this because I didn’t want to risk my job hunting efforts or reveal any information about my former company.  The purpose of these posts aren’t to bash my former employer but to share my experience and hopefully educate people on the perils of Corporate America.

Follow Mysteries of Life on Twitter (@MysteriesOLife), Facebook or subscribe via email.

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