Interviewing to keep your job

I work for a large company that has several offices and is actually owned by an English company. (Not that the ownership matters; just pointing out that it’s a rather “corporate” environment.)

In our department are the people who process the data, a department manager, a department director, and then the department president. At a meeting the other day we were informed that we were getting a new vice-president. I could tell the director was disappointed, as I have heard that he wanted the job. But other directors seem not to like him.

We were under a VP from another business unit a few years ago. “K” was a bitch to work for. She was arbitrary, contradicted herself and then denied it, and offered no support to our department. I was glad to see the back of her. Our new VP, “B”, who starts Monday, is from the same business unit as “K”. From what I’ve heard, “B” makes “K” look like a saint by comparison.

Morale in her department is (or at least was) abysmal. People didn’t know from one day to the next whether they’d have a job. Many people disliked her so much that they were trying to transfer out of her division, and other people quit. One thing I’ve heard she did (and our director confirmed this to a co-worker who brought it up) was making people interview to keep their jobs. We’re talking about good, experienced people who have been doing good jobs for years; not a bunch of idiots.

I’m not worried about my job. I’m one of the most respected people in the department. When people have a problem, they come to me. Need a special program quickly? Ask Johnny L.A. Now, I’ve just bought a new motorcycle and my '66 MGB roadster is undergoing a very expensive “ground up” restoration. It would be nice to be employed until the car is finished and the bike is paid for; but I have a “Plan B”, which is to just pay for them out of my bank account. The only reason I’m still in California is because I like my job and it pays well. And I hate California! If I were to be laid off, I would move up to Washington immediately. So for me it’s a “win-win situation”. Either I keep my job and don’t have to dip into my bank account, or I lose my job and I can move away.

But the idea of having experienced employees who are doing an excellent job (which can be shown my the metrics and the revenue) rankles. In my opinion requiring interviews to keep one’s job is a poor practice used by petty martinets who have no faith in the people they are supposed to lead. I find it incredibly insulting, and very unprofessional.

What do you think?

Bob Slydell: If you would, would you walk us through a typical day, for you?

Peter Gibbons: Yeah.

Bob Slydell: Great.

Peter Gibbons: Well, I generally come in at least fifteen minutes late, ah, I use the side door–that way Lumbergh can’t see me, heh–after that I sorta space out for an hour.

Bob Porter: Da-uh? Space out?

Peter Gibbons: Yeah, I just stare at my desk, but it looks like I’m working. I do that for probably another hour after lunch too, I’d say in a given week I probably only do about fifteen minutes of real, actual, work. *

Oh man, I went through pretty much the same thing at my last company. Johnny L.A. the intials of the English company you work for wouldn’t be R-E, would they? Anyway, this English company bought our old company, and went through the same crap. In our case it was a prelude to the company beginning a slow shut down of operations at our site. Hope it works out better for you.

No, the initials are GUS. There are always rumours that our division will be sold off, but we have been told over and over again that the plan is to turn out $50 million business into a $100 million business. The other major business unit is recognized as one of the “Big Three” in the industry, and our business unit has the potential of superceding our major competitor. From all accounts, the folks in Nottingham are pleased.

What has the people talking around the scuttlebutt is the behaviour of this new VP in the area from where she’s coming.

I’m not worried about me. Plan A is to pay for my toys. Plan B is to pay for my toys and relocate to more habitable climes. But one of the people who reports to me is 56 or 57 and in poor health. He is terrified about losing his situation (and has been ever since he hired on). I and the other leads are not telling him about what we’ve heard about “B”, lest his head explodes. Another worker will be 67 in September and has adult kids that are bleeding him financially. I’d hate for him to lose his job. The other lead in our department has her own plan – interestingly, she also wants to move to Washington state (where her sister lives). She has a “three year plan”, but she’s close enough that being laid off (unlikely, since I consider her to be superior to me in the area of data analysis – I’m more into the programming side) will not be too great a hardship.

I don’t think I’d really like having to do that.

I mean, at least here, a potential new supervisor could probably look over past performance reviews.

I recently got a new boss because of a re-org. The first thing we did was to sit down together and go over what my responsibilities are, whether I was satisfied with them, whether I was looking for new roles, and what kind of manager I worked best with. He then told me about his style, and what his expectations were. That seemed like a real wise idea.

I mean, really, just because you come into a joint, you want to install all new people potentially? This is just another reason why loyalty has flown out the window.

Well, thankfully you’re in a situation where you aren’t clinging to every last remnant of the job. It’s good to have the freedom and not REALLY NEED the job. I hope this doesn’t backfire on the coworkers you have who aren’t so flexible.

I think you and I have the same employer. Does the top of your corporate intranet have a blue & orange banner on top with some tiny, intentionally diverse, people on it?

If I had to interview to keep my job, I’d lose it! :smiley:

Good luck and enjoy the R1! If you quit, you’ll have more time to ride. :slight_smile:

“Lets get them meek bastards NOW!

Aye. I see four names in Outlook for the Denver office. :slight_smile:

scout1222 and gatopescado: Additional on “Plan B”. My best fiend wants to move to Canada. If he does, then he’ll need to sell his house in NoWA. I’m thinking of buying it. He’s thinking of doing some work in Canada (he’s been talking to a film commission that says they can help with a visa), but he’d like to keep an official U.S. residence for a while. So I could buy the house from him, and he can pay me rent. If I ever have to bug out of here, then I’ll have an actual place to go.

To save those four’s reputations - I’m not one of them. You have to go though the Intranet phone book to find me. Our Exchange server doesn’t talk to your exchange server.

I’m a systems geek, too.

Now if only I could get to the Bothell office, I’ll be happy!

Now if only I could get to the Bothell office, I’ll be happy!

So will you change your username to Johnny Snohomish? :smiley:

What bike did you get? I’ve been lusting after the Ducati ST4S, but the wife is determined to put the kibosh on it. :frowning:

When I first got to China Lake, it was as a contractor, funded not out of the company pot but individually based on the funding alloted to the government projects. Things were good for awhile, then funding started getting leapfrogged. Then I lost my job and regained it three times in one day before lunch. Then I was told that I had funding for two months working full time, four if I worked half-time without benefits. I worked half time hoping to get a rollover, which happened on my last day. One month later, I was informed that the government decided to stop funding contractors, and that a federal guy would be making a lateral move into my position. I would have three months funding to train him how to do my job. Because of a hiring freeze, I couldn’t even apply for my own job. Eventually the director found an obscure loophole in that because I was a veteran with certain expertise, I could be hired in as federal with my own programs.

That was a very sick feeling though.

When I was leaving them, the government was bringing contractors back and people in many departments were having to document everything they did with timestamps. Program work, phone calls, breaks, bathroom trips, emails written and received, etc. while under supervision. This was to be used to outsource their jobs to contractors. Having been through the opposite side, I felt bad for them. Nobody should have to justify why they should be able to keep their job. If you weren’t good at it, you should have been fired before that point.

Sadly, the days of getting a job, settling down and keeping it until retirement are long gone. There was one thing that my company did the year I started, which was something of a compromise, which I thought was great: Annual raises stopped that year, for unknown reasons. The following year, everyone was told that they had actually been being graded that year by independant observers, and their grade determined which end of their pay scale they would get the next year. People who busted hump, got their high end. People who did nothing but got by on reputation or time in position, in many cases, wound up taking pay cuts of up to $10 an hour. That was a wake up call to a lot of people. The “sluffers” who stayed on (most of them) at low pay just to keep their benefits busted hump again to regain their pay, and the company didn’t lose experienced people, and lose money in training new people. An interesting concept that worked wonderfully.

No, I’d keep Johnny L.A. I’ve used it long enough.

Read on, MacDuff! :wink:

I’ll bet it killed morale, though.

Good gravy, an R1? Very niiiiiice. I’d have to be divorced before I could get one of those bad boys. It’s hard enough trying to invent reasons why I have to keep my '86 R80. (Yes, the Ducati is a pipe dream). :slight_smile:

Good luck with your job search, hope everything works out.

Johnny, you are in an unusual and enviable position. Really, if you’re confident you’re in a win-win situation, I siggest speaking freely and honestly.

And you’ve already written an excellent opening statement. Wouldn’t it feel GREAT to say it openly?

Use the force!

Thanks, Dooku. I’m not worried about my job. (Did I already say that?) In all fairness, “B” might not do the “interview” thing. I mean, what’s she going to do? Order us fired? Then who will load the data? But if she does do it, I’m afraid I’ll be rather insulted.

When I started with the company (nine years ago, on 2 August) supervision was poor. The supervisor and the manager would sit in one or the other’s office and decide who to gang up on. I got my share of it, but I finally went to the supervisor and told her how good I am. (Yeah, I let me ego and arrogance out a bit. And I could back it up, too. :wink: ) She left me alone after that. But others were treated like dirt.

After “K” became the VP over our department, the manager was invited to resign (which she did). The supervisor then reported directly to the VP. She was afraid of losing her job; so rather than represent the department (those of us she got along with), she’d just take any task without question and tell everyone “It’s only going to get worse.” (Let me backtrack a little here. We used to have a “Golden Circle Award”. After performing “above and beyond the call of duty” I asked the manager about it. She said, in effect, “It is the job of this department to go above and beyond the call of duty. Therefore, no one in the department can go beyond the call of duty because by definition it’s part of their duty.” :rolleyes: )

With “K” in charge, people were scared to death of being layed off. There was talk of a bonus that year, and some people – who were so disgruntled that they were looking for other employment, but were otherwise doing well in their positions – decided to stay on to get the bonus. One guy in particular had a job offer, but turned it down to wait for the bonus. When he saw the paltry sum, he was pissed! After that, people were quitting in droves.

Then we got “C” as a department director. Things got better, although he tuns hot and cold.

In any case, the “C” comes to me whenever he needs a special program written. Also, I’ve written or modified programs to increase data quality (on my own initiative) and he appreciates that. The only reason I was on the lay-off list a couple of years ago is that I’ve been very vocal in my desire to relocate to Washington. They don’t want to let me have a desk in our Bothell, WA office, so by laying me off they were doing me a favour. (Accumulted vacation pay, eight week’s – now it would be nine week’s – severence pay, and a bonus for not quitting until I get laid off.) But now there are no plans to lay anyone off, and I feel pretty safe.

I should point out that I do like my job. I’m good at it and it entertains me to write Easytrieve Plus programs. The people in the department are all (save one – who calls in sick about 24 days per year) nice people and good to work with. I like being counted on. The pay is decent, and time off is fairly flexible (as long as I put it on a time card – which the “sickie” had a habit of not doing).

The only thing is that “B” has a reputation, and it’s not a good one.

Actually it didn’t. The slackers were about maybe 30% of the force. They rest of the people got either a modest raise or a very good one, so they busted their asses even more. The slackers were pissed as all hell of course, but by mid-year something interesting happened. The majority of the slackers who stayed on remembered why they got into that line of work in the first place, and started enjoying their job again after they started doing it again with the same energy. All but very few actually topped out in the pay scale at the following fiscal year and commented that they really needed the wake up. Not surprisingly, most of the slackers were the old timers, rather than the younger guys.

But it was on the following fiscal year that they eliminated sick leave and cut vacation time in half to try and save $ for the next company proposal, which they eventually lost. That is when morale went to hell across the board and a lot of guys quit the company, which was the same time many contracts were terminated by the government. That was my final month. We went from a couple thousand employees down to a a few hundred. Thanks to that elimination of options, I was awarded employee of the year, got a cool clock, plaque, money, and all but shaving commercials and chicks, the prime parking spot for a year. Even though I only used the spot one time, it was pretty cool.

It was a good method of keeping people honest in their work, at least where the majority of the people were working on the honor system, miles away from direct company management. I haven’t thought about how it would work in a standard corporate setting, but in that case, it was a great tool.

Johnny after your last post, where you are right now is SO similar to why I left the government it isn’t funny. I wish I had you across the table with some beers.