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.

Advertisements

Management styles

It’s no secret that work is a bit of a challenge at the moment. It doesn’t help that the boss has told several people who work for me that he’s ‘piling on the pressure to see who jumps first’. I had a major meltdown again last week. Haven’t had a melt down so far this week, but it is only Monday. I’ve come to the conclusion today that even if I resign tomorrow, I’ll not be the first. We’ve lost someone already. One. Of. The. Good. Guys.

It’s the risk you take with that particular ‘management style’ (the pressure style, the weed out the weak style). The risk is that you lose the good guys and get stuck with the ones you’d really hoped had gone. The question is…what am I? One of the good ones or one of the ones he wants to keep?

Am I paranoid? Can I really get 2 + 2 = 4? Or am I just imagining the worst? And seeing the very worst there is?

Who knows!

I’ll move away now and take my conspiracy theories to bed with me. Night night.

 

 

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.

Working hours

I’ve noticed a trend over the past few months – in my team specifically. When 5:30pm comes along, there’s no move to tidy desks, pack bags and put on coats. It’s become the norm to stay at the desk beyond 5:30pm. Most of the team are at the desk before 9:00am. The pressure we all feel from the business to deliver more and more is immense.

It can’t go on.

My worry, as ever, is that people give so much to the business that they become ill, things slip and then they leave because they can’t carry on. The worst fear for me, is actually one of redundancy. Our new CMO started this week and we are all waiting for changes to be announced. I don’t want anyone in my team to be putting  in 120% and giving too much of their personal time to then be faced with ‘your position is no longer needed’. For whatever reason.

Why do we, as professionals, feel the need to give over and above our contracted hours? I’m contracted for 7.5 hrs a day and while I expect a little bit of flexibility to occasionally do 7 hrs (because of a doctor or dentist appointment) I’m finding it more and more incredulous that we’re doing more than 9 hrs a day on a regular basis.

But, does anyone ask us to do this? No. We do it because we feel we have to.

I often ask ‘what would happen if we went home on time’? (As many other people do)? And, I think we’d adjust. The deadlines would be moved to accommodate this, and there’d be less stressed people running around. Well, that’s the theory.

For the past couple of weeks I have been shocked at how much I had under estimated the stress that would be caused by having a new boss on board. Stress in me manifests as health issues and insomnia. I watch and see similar things in my team.

I don’t like it, but feel powerless to do anything other than listen to them, support them where I can and be understanding.

 

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.

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.