Last Friday I had my annual review. It went partially, but not completely, as I had expected.
I sat down with my boss. He re-emphasized the point that he had gotten a vision into my world during my trip to Japan and had found - and I quote - "fundamental and troubling flaws". As a result, I was adjudged to be unfit for my current position and "we" needed to find a different position in the company for me.
I responded that I understood, that I had the same thoughts in terms of the fact that the position required a different set of skills than what I could bring to the table, and that I did not take his comments as an insult.
I surprised him. I really surprised him. I do not think I have seen him this relieved in months.
It also completely changed the nature of the review. We went through my failings - of them, I will only say that there is validity to some of them but the review took into account none of my successes and did not reflect the environment - ever changing - that we work in. Not one victory was mentioned. But of course, that is never the time to argue it.
We then talked about next steps. The recruiting drive probably started today, and is expected to take two to three months - so right now it is business as usual. He asked if I thought at all about what else I might do. I had one suggestion, a gap I know needs filling - but he suggested something entirely different (project management - knowing my boss, I am sure this has already been vetted and will come up as the end result). I said, of course, I would be fine with that. We shook hands and I went on my way.
So on the bright side, I still have a job and the promise of a job (Really, it is a thing - I had all of my personal things ready to go in the event it was a different conversation and I was permanently on my way). They value me - or probably equally accurately my knowledge, to probably extend a job through the end of the year. I will need, of course, to learn whatever the new position is, and quickly.
I have expectations, of course. I expect that my salary will drop, somewhat precipitously (and from my HR friend, our salaries and positions that they handed out like candy in the old days are definitely a hiring burden now when looking for a new positions, whenever that day will come. Too high up and too expensive in my previous position - most now assume you are just there until another opportunity). I expect to be isolated from my group - which makes sense and is what I would do in similar circumstances (cement the new leader's role and authority, etc.). And I guess we have enough warning that we can start adjusting our spending and savings now - the biggest concern, of course is college tuition.
I have had some to think about all of this, of course - originally I was just numb, but I have become numb and depressed. Am I really that bad? Am I really that out of touch? And realistically, once I am out of the job skill, I suspect I will never be back in. That will be a change from something I have done for 19 years.
I think the regret - the big regret - is that I did not express the fact that I felt out of my league earlier. I knew it. I felt it, but was told by my HR friend not to say it because it would lead to bad consequences. Perhaps; I cannot imagine consequences much worse than this.
The next three months will be hard. I need to keep my team in place and focused, even as I know that I am leaving them and cannot tell them. I have to prepare for my successor, and then the inevitable handover of authority and questions. I have to prepare to quietly disappear from the stage when called upon to do so. And I have to deal with a serious look inside to match this realization that management - senior management, but really any management - is not for me. And most of all, I have to plan for a major change in incoming cash (our life style is not too elaborated, so I hesitate to say a change in that).
But to be clear, I have a job now. I have a salary now. I have a house and care and family and pets and books and my swords and Iai. All is ultimately well.
I had blogging earlier that I felt unsettled, that something was leading to a change of sorts (here and here). Turns out in a single hour, that can happen.