Next…?

Work is going from bad to worse at the moment. With questions over brand, CMS, ‘best-of-breed’ agencies and upheaval, it’s no surprise that morale has reached an all time low. We’ve had two resignations in the past week. Correction – I have had two resignations in the past week. Two of my longest serving (longest suffering) team members are stepping down from the role and from the company.

It’s clear they’ve both had enough of the constant change and upheaval and that both are looking for new challenges. It’s clear that everything is different already. But, what of the company? What will be done to rebuild? Anything? Everything? Nothing?

I shall miss my team – as it once was. These changes are as a result of decisions made back to February. Changes were set in motion at that point, and here we are. This week’s news is a direct result. My question (rhetorical): why am I still here? what is there for me? where does this mis-guided sense of loyalty come from? what’s next? will I ever find the elusive ‘work/life balance’? and, losing my team members…what’s next?

Answers on a postcard, please.

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Restructuring…again

A couple of weeks ago my company issued its IMS. In the statement we missed our EBITDA contribution by a few percent. In the same announcement we also announced a restructuring charge of between $14-18m. It sent shivers down the spines of all colleagues that have lived through such ‘restructures’ in the past.

On Friday it began.

Mid afternoon the whispers began in the office. The Skype messages went back and forth between colleagues worried for each other. And the rumours about office closures, and numbers of lay-offs spread like wild fire.

Today, I took a phone call asking whether the restructure had happened in our office, that it was rumoured to be happening today.

Unfortunately, it didn’t. I say unfortunately, not because I’m being flippant, but because I’m already mopping up the tears of my team members who are worried, no, distraught at the impending changes and over losing their jobs. I’m in no different position. I face being put ‘at risk’, just like all of them. None of us know. None of us have any clues. It’s the not knowing that is upsetting people. People add one and one and make three.

The atmosphere sucks. It’s oppressive in the office. It’s difficult to concentrate. It’s like waiting for the guillotine to fall.

Yuck.

So, here I sit, not looking forward to tomorrow. But, I’ll get up in the morning. I’ll put my face on and I’ll drive the 40 miles to the office. You never know, I might be home again soon. Then again, maybe it’ll be tomorrow evening before I’m back.

Credit crunch?

A while ago, I blogged about there being lots of companies using the credit crunch as a convenient excuse for getting away with a lot of crazy policies…well, here we are in March 2010 and I’m starting to see the same things happen.

While I understand companies have to protect themselves and to remove the ‘dead wood’ from the company, right now it’s all coming across as penny pinching. My company isn’t making anyone redundant, before people get the wrong idea, but it’s putting shareholders and cost-cutting above the people that help make it a success.

I recently met with someone who’s philosophy for running his own business is along the lines of keeping employees happy will lead to happy customers and then in turn keep the shareholders happy.  It was refreshing to hear, but I have to ask how many companies employee a similar style? Where I am now the shareholder is king. The pressure across the company at the moment (to deliver more for less) is enormous. The pace is unbelievable. Our bonus is tied to the number – and not to our individual performance.

Is my company struggling? Did it miss numbers?

No.

A warning

My parents are not particularly internet-savvy, so when my mum asks for help to insure the cars at home, I usually do the GoCompare.com thing for them. This time, mum said to go with the cheapest quote which included breakdown insurance. Mistake. The quote was for One Call insurance. OMG!

For those of you reading this, please note this company is NOT worth wasting your energy or your fingernails on your keyboard.

The website is a con. You get a quote, you agree to it, fill out your payment details and the next screen commits you to an extra fee, that you can’t ‘escape’ from without paying the extra. You complain and hey presto they don’t respond. You can’t get anyone on the phone, they don’t respond to email and you can’t get any response via the mail.

Then out of the blue (15 days after the initial contact,er, yes, one day past the legal cooling off period) they send you an email to say your documents are on the way…but you’ll have to pay extra for printed versions.

Try to cancel and they charge you the extra fee that they lumped on anyway!

Crooks!

Orange Broadband, No Thanks

My broadband service has gone down. The computer is connected to the router and the router shows ADSL connection, but no Internet. My ISP is Orange. I have been happy (ish) with the service, if you don’t count the issues with the LiveBox – until now.

I called customer services and reached Angela – a very nice, polite, but heavily accented lady in India. 40 minutes later we have battled through the script and got to the point where Angela decided it was not an Orange issue, but a problem with my Linksys router. “before we can test the line, we need you to call Cisco about a possible fault with your router”. Hmmm. My boyfriend is a geek. We know it is not a router issue. But I hung up, waited 10 mins, had a cup of tea and called back.

Round two:
Hassan (apologies, didn’t actually understand the name of) the new cust servs guy. 40 mins later, again we have been through the script (despite my insistance that Angela told me to phone requesting a line test) and he tells me to call Cisco…when I said been there, done that he said (frantically flicking pages) “then we need you to call Microsoft, it is a broswer problem”.

Despite my anger I giggled at his lack of knowledge. I explained I knew it was nothing to do with the browser on my pc, iPod Touch, laptop or Wii. Finally, after over an hour, he tested the line. And, you’ll never guess, there’s a fault on the line. all that time to tell me something I already know.

Apparently an engineer will call me on Saturday. What use is that to me? Two laptops, a pc, a Wii, the Touch, AirportExpress (two of them) are all without connectivity. Aaaaaaaaargh.

Time to switch? Perhaps. I read comments on Orange Problems and now I wonder if Saturday was a good solution/suggestion from Orange. We shall see. Thank goodness for the end of my contract!

Weekends away

With February being a bit busy, I’m really conscious that my boyfriend and I need to get away. We need to get away from home, from work, from our day-to-day lives. We really need to spend some time just being us. A couple. No homes to tidy, no issues to sort, no outside pressure – just us, a weekend away and no worries. But, it’s just not happening. What with one thing and another going on we’re just not getting away.

I have looked at travel though – in the UK, to Paris, Prague, Milan, Florence, Rome, Madrid and Barcelona. I did also check New York and let’s just say that I’m not earning quite enough to justify that one, just now. But, what surprised me was we can have a weekend in Barcelona, including flights (but, excluding meals) for about the same price as a weekend in the UK at a decent hotel. Can someone explain to me how that works?

We have invitations to visit from friends all over the world, but with so much uncertainty over jobs, money, and the overall economy, it’s very difficult to make plans.

I would very much like to get to see various friends in Cairo, Alicante, Prague, Zurich, near Colorado Springs, Fort Lauderdale, Seattle, Boston, Cape Cod, New Zealand and Australia…not to mention the friends in the UK we never get time to see.

How does life get so busy that we don’t get to catch up when we want to?

Blog rations

I haven’t blogged for a while. In fact, February was very sparce in blogging terms. 

It’s the job. It’s the commute. It’s adjusting to a change in lifestyle. Eek.

I get up at 6:20, I’m in car an hour later, another hour later I’m at the office. Between 5:30 and 6:00 I leave the office, drive for another hour and I’m home, or at the gym. And that’s on a good day. Double eek.

But, I have a job, right?
I can’t complain when so many of my friends are about to lose, have lost or are at risk of losing their jobs.  I’m sorry.