Sunday, March 01, 2020

A Sort of Hammerfall

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.


  1. Maybe it all is actually a blessing in disguise like Laura Story's song Blessings. God closes one door and opens another.

    I sometimes wonder why He ever let me open that door in the first place... obviously for a reason, but I'm a little daft at times ;^)

    1. Hobo, I am choosing to think so. This was not the worst outcome that could have occurred. The next steps are unclear right now, but I have faith that these things will be worked out. After all, it worked out perfectly when we originally move here 11 years ago.

      God know where my heart is (Surprise! It is not in an urban jungle). Maybe this is His way of rearranging the pieces to make that happen.

  2. Glenfilthie7:25 AM

    I am not buying it.

    TB, when men like us don’t perform as expected, there are either unexpected insurmountable barriers that need to be dealt with at a higher level, or the expectations were unrealistic. so they’ll probably go through a few more perfectly good employees before they realize the problem is not people, but systemic, or maybe even they are bright enough to see that they themselves are the problem.

    Regardless, I think you got the best of that meet. I dunno if that is a good thing or a bad thing, eh?

    1. Glen, all of those could - and may - be true. There is an element of the system, to be sure.

      That said, if it is the system, I am pretty sure at this stage I will be unable to change it, nor do I think I want to at this point. It is just too much work for the effort, and where do I think the effort will take me? Higher up? The benefits are not there.

      I was speaking with my father tonight. When he asked, I said "I had everything to lose by not being accommodating, and everything to gain by being accommodating." I have other wants and desires that have nothing to do with anything I am currently doing. Maybe this is a way out.

      I think I came out as well as could have, given the circumstances.

  3. Well, is it an unexpected answer to a prayer? For awhile you were looking for alternatives because your job was so stressful and took so much out of you. Maybe this is a transition for a transition.

    1. Leigh, I am really looking at it that way. I think there are possibilities here if I manager this "unpowered descent" appropriately and land the plane. I am hoping being a team player and really trying to make this work will give me some leverage in other ways.

  4. you are not 'that bad' you are just in the wrong slot
    square peg, round hole
    you just need a square hole
    do not let anyone trim the edges from you in order to try to make you fit

    1. Thanks Deb. I kind of think that is true as well. I think I have a little runway to find what that "square hole" might be.


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