Work Ethics and Corporate Sloth

Posted: May 7, 2009 in Just Livin', Just Me

I’ve been working when I was 9 years old roaming the streets in my neighborhood haulking soft pretzels. It was almost a rite of passage when I was a kid. It lasted through the summer and I think I probably cleared about 50 bucks in quarters. But a pocket full of change then was golden!

From there, I started working at the corner store stocking shelves and hosing down the front pavement.

I’ve been working ever since.

Although both my parents worked :: my mom went back to work when I was in the 2nd grade, I believe :: we weren’t living high on the hog so anything “extra” I wanted, I had to either put up my own money or invest some sweat equity.

NOTE: Funny how we never knew we were “poor” growing up. Everybody was in the same boat and no one really had any “more” then anyone else. Kids remained “kids” until they were adults.

So I’m used to working… and I’m used to giving 150%. When I started my first “real” job :: meaning an actual paycheck where taxes were removed :: my father told me that I better make sure I earn it because my boss didn’t HAVE to hire me so be appreciative and don’t make him regret his decision.

That stuck with me in a subconscience way because any job I’ve held since .. I worked my ass off… went above and beyond. My boss’ knew I was reliable.. trustworthy and would get the job done.

It’s a nice feeling.

And because of my work ethic.. I reached my current position with my current employer without a degree in my field. Considering the obscene amount of money I make :: more then half fo the distance between 5 and 6 figures :: it is quite an achievement.

I may not have always liked the people I worked WITH .. but I always loved the job.

Another lesson my father instilled in me was to not sell my soul for a dollar because whether I make 5 dollars or 500 dollars an hour, I would still be going to a job I hated everyday. So I started listening to my gut and knew that whenever getting out of bed in the morning got harder … or I couldn’t remain focused or interested in what I had to do then it was time to go.

It’s worked out for me, I can’t lie.

Anyway.. about 5 years ago my current employer offered me a job. Actually came after me offering to create a position for me. That’s never happened before.

I had been working for my old employer in the same role that I am now and was a system adminstrator for a brand new program that I was responsible for bringing in. The Provider Rep for this product gave my name and number to another company that was interested in signing up but wanted to see an on-site demo.

NOTE: That’s not an unusual practice. Normally these products are expensive to purchase and continue to cost money :: ie: monthly service fees, per claim charge, support call fees, hardware expense, etc. :: so alot of potential customers want to be able to SEE it in operation instead of just buying into the hype.

ALSO NOTE: I know that means absolutely nothing to you…

So I invite the IT Director and the Revenue Cycle director down for a demo. As it turns out, the IT Director USED to work for the company that owned the main system we used. AND this IT Director then was brought in to show the business office a few features and how-too’s the same week I started there.

I remembered him because well, I’m good at remembering stuff like that.. but also because he was wearing a blue and orange plastic Dave and Buster’s watch and was not wearing an undershirt.

Please don’t ask!! We’ll just leave it as something I happened to notice because all this information was over my head then and I zoned out.

Anyway.. The company I worked for was transitioning. I won’t go into all the boring details but let’s just say that the parent company decided it was taking over everything and even though my job was not threatened :: I told you, I’m good at what I do and have a great reputation in the industry. Well. Let’s just say “had” :: I started to get feeling in my gut and I really didn’t want to work directly for the parent company.

Because the IT Director was familiar with all the players.. we got into a more personal conversation then what I normally do and I told him that I really wasn’t looking foward to the take over.

He told me that if I ever found myself out of a job to call him and he would find something for me.

About two weeks later, he called me and asked me if I wanted to work for his employer. He said he was talking me up to the CFO and he thought that I would bring alot to the table and bridge the gap between the IT department and the Revneue Cycle.

The CFO was all for it and wanted to meet me. We met… and when it came down to salary, I figured I’d go fishing and told him that I wouldn’t be able to make a penny less then my current salary. The figure I told him was double then what I was actually making but I thought, what the hell.

He didn’t blink an eye. “That’s no problem” he said and I swear it was all I could do to remain visibly calm when inside I was like “Holy Fucking SHIT!! HE BOUGHT IT!!”

I started work there two week after and I. ABSOLUTELY. LOVED. IT.

The only difference between the old and the new was that I had to drive in a different direction. The demographics were the same, the computer systems were the same.. I didn’t need training or had to scratch my head over something completely foreign.

The best part were the people. I was no longer an Employee Number. Once again, the new place was the child to a parent company but it was set in a community where everyone either worked at this place or serviced the employees in some way. Everyone was friendly.. everyone smiled.. everyone was committed to doing the best job they could because they sincerely enojed the place.

My office was actually off-site in a one story building with no windows and only one door in and one door out. It used to be a doctor’s office so there were sinks in all the offices which was weird at first but became part of the charm. Thee were 22 of us in there and even though we were dysfunctinal, we all helped each other for the greater good.

Our “child” was the only one in the system that consistantly landed in the black every quarter. We were the little place that could and all the state surveys and monitorings put us off the charts.

The “parent” wasn’t doing so well. They were doing bigger and more expensive services and way more volume but when you’re THAT big, its harder to keep a handle on what is really going on and things tend to get over looked or lost.

So the “parent” decided that they needed to hire a company that billed themselves as EFFICIENCY EXPERTS. The promised to re-design the structure so that the staff was more effective and that the supervisors / mangagers / directors could keep better track of the work and who was doing what.

The goal was to make the staff more accountable for what they were responsible for and be able to easily spot who coasting..

This company also suggested that all the revenue cycles under this company’s umbrella be merged into one corporate office.

Since all the different “children” used different base computer systems we were all going to be crossed trained :: YEA!! :: … there were going to be different departments that would handle different specific problems :: YEA!! :: … we would be able to brainstorm with other people who did the same jobs as us .. bounce ideas off each other .. become one big team :: YEA!! YEA!! and YEA!! ::

So we all made the moved and the damn thing tanked. Big Time. Titanic Time!

The staff I came to corporate with were used to getting an account and seeing it through… what they were now told to do was to just pass it along to someone else. It was difficult because the accountablility my people USED to have.. and the accountabliility that these Effiency Experts were suppose to provide actually promoted NO ACCOUNTABILITY.

And because of that.. because my people were constantly being told that they weren’t suppose to be doing what they were used to doing because “…we’re corporate now” .. our little “child” began to fail and fail so bad that now :: two years after we merged into a corporate office” :: it is closing it’s doors on June 30th.

The thing is … this environment that I’m in makes one NOT want to give 150%. I am an Employee Number again. There is no sit-around-the-fire-singing-kumbaya .. nobody had that desire to exceed because we are no longer viewed as “people”. They do nothing to help morale even though they have a “morale committee” .. they are so worried about the stupidest things that you just want to shake them and say “.. if you treat them like adults they will respond like adults”.

If there is one thing that I will downplay is that fact that I’m great at my job.. I know my job inside and out and when I say something is some type of way .. then it’s some type of way. I don’t want to have to go to a pre-meeting to prepare for the meeting then attend a post-meeting to discuss the things that were said in the meeting. It’s a waste of time and I refuse to be spoken to like I don’t know my job because THEY don’t know my job.

Oooh. Tangent. So Sorry!

The botoom line is what they failed to recognize is that highly productive people became completely non-productive because no one listened to the people in the trenches any longer.

About two months ago, the told us that there will be a big lay off coming. The company, as a whole, is an additional 16 million in the red :: over what they initially budgeted for ::.

I was never so excited at the prospect of being out of a job. I am hoping that since my original “child” will be closing and my job entails things specific to only that “child” that they won’t need me any longer and in affect, getting rid of my salary would actually save two people’s jobs.

We haven’t heard anything yet.. and that’s by design. They’re not going to tell anyone before the 11th hour because people will start taking all their sick time or leave for other jobs. A reduction is work force now before the end of the fiscal year isn’t a good thing.

Yesterday, I received a large white skinny manila envelope from the human resources department. I held my breath and said a prayer as I openned it but it was just information about benefit changes.


But you watch.. because I actually WANT to get laid off they will keep me. Or find an excuse to fire me!

  1. […] Work Ethics and Corporate Sloth by Living Me 101 […]

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