Sunday, February 28, 2021

A Sort of Hammerfall: Post Script

 As you may recall, one year ago my life changed rather drastically.

One year ago today was A Sort Of Hammerfall - Not the complete Hammer Fall of 2009 where I was laid off, but a change of position:  after almost 18 years in one line of work I was in, I was transferred to a new area.  After almost the same amount of time climbing the corporate ladder, I was being reassigned to an individual contributor position.

The change was jarring, and completely unexpected - although not unmerited; as I related at the time, it is something I personally should have broached much earlier.  But done, as they say, is done.

The adjustment over the course of the year was both gradual and jarring:  gradual in the sense that responsibilities slowly rolled off my plate and onto the current holder of the office, jarring in the sense that going from being involved in everything, getting 100-200 e-mails a day, and having your opinion needed to being involved in a narrow slice of activities, seeing your e-mails drop by 80% (not a bad thing, that) and moving from presenting opinions to merely facilitating others making them.

Over the year, of course, personnel have changed.  Individuals I was involved in the hiring of have moved on and others have come.  My imprint is fraying; as with most things, I expect within another year anyone remembering I performed my old task will be few and far between.

All of this said, there remained one outstanding issues, one of incredible import to me:  my salary.

The agreement simply said that my salary would continue as is until the regularly scheduled review period.  My ability to be eligible for a bonus no longer existed (any more, at all, forever, from the way I lead the letter).  And so, throughout the year, I have been waiting for the letter that would tell me that a readjustment was happening. 

I had readied myself for it. I had written up budgets to address it.

And so, that season finally came.  And my boss called me, wanting to have a "mechanical discussion" - which, knowing him, meant my salary.

He is a very kind individual, and so his introduction to the issue was soft.   He said that he was in a bit of an interesting situation with me.  He had received letters of salary increases and bonuses for his other employees.  He had received none for me.  When he asked, he was told I had a "separate agreement".  And they would not tell him what that agreement was.

This is unheard of, at least in his - and my - experience.  Managers always know their reports make.

He asked me (in a very kind and roundabout way) if he wanted me to press the issue.  No need, I responded.  I explained where things had been left in principle.  And, I told him, to raise the issue now would be violate one of the first rules of work in my world, which is never draw attention to yourself.

In so very many ways, A Sort Of Hammerfall worked out for the best - without it, my ability to travel to The Ranch starting in Summer would not have happened at all.  I would not have been able to be here when my parents needed me to be here. And I truly believe another year with the stresses of the previous year would have caused me some serious issues, both physically and mentally.

Nothing is a given, of course.  Anything can easily be rewritten at the stroke of a pen.  And this still means that in the event of need, I am a very low hanging fruit to be removed.  It also means - I suspect - that I will essentially be frozen in place until such time as I leave the company, by choice or by fiat.

But I can live with the ambiguity.  Even if I lose that extra "punch" of cash in February, we now know - precisely - how much we will have coming in for the next 1-4 years.  And knowing means we can plan all the better.

This is not the place I would have imagined myself when I was called in on a Friday afternoon at 4:00 PM for my review.  But having seen it to the other side, I now cannot imagine it any other way. 

12 comments:

  1. I think you will be pleasantly surprised at how little money you actually need to get by, TB. I have always been a saver by nature, and because I am so dumb I am cheap and easy to entertain. We used to get inundated with those Freedom 55 commercials where today's elderly baby boomers hung up the skates early, and sailed off into the sunset on a 46 foot yacht to see the world. According to them you'd need at least "5 million saved up to have a decent retirement." Right now I am unemployed Canadian vagrant on the dole ... and I am still saving money and life isn't opulent... but it isn't half bad either.

    You have bigger things to worry about. The folks, of course... but besides that you need to work on your swordsmanship, your reading and comprehension skills, and put more time into the rabbits. :)

    Stay loose over there - and have a great Sunday.

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    1. Glen, you are my role model in this area. I am constantly amazed by what you are doing, knowing as I know that you are still between jobs. This matches something my father and I talked about in the last week before we moved him. By now, they were only spending money on their bills, fuel for driving, and eating out (they always ate frugally). "At some point, the money just does not matter any more" he said.

      I do have plenty of other things on the docket (most of them inexpensive, as I have most of the stuff now). Time is the real currency I am pursuing at this point.

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  2. Life is 10% what happens to you, 90% how your respond. Attitude means so much.

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    1. It does, STxAR. I just have to keep reminding myself of that.

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  3. I was hand-picked for a project 4 years ago, having worked with my two immediate supervisors off and on over the course of a decade. After 3 years of building, the corporate end of our enterprise sacked both of them. My current management doesn't even know my name. My end of the project is currently one of the most successful branches of our entity. My new supervisor doesn't even know my name. She may recognize me on the street, but she doesn't know what I do or where I fit into the bigger picture. My salary is set, with no bonuses for performance, but the insurance is good and I'm too old to really look for another job. I am tempted to relocate and cash out my home in the exurbs for far flung locations just for the security, but more for spite. On the other hand, they don't even know who I am, so that is a source of security in another way.

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    1. Just So - It sounds like we share a similar reality in a different area. I find myself in a similar situation: set salary, no apparent change in either salary or bonus for the foreseeable future, very good insurance, and I am now a little too far out of my previous role to find a job and too new in my current role to find one that pays like this. Under standard circumstances, we are about two years from possibly being able to cash out the house (moving to The Ranch would be ideal, of course).

      But yes, the effective invisibility is a sort of security as well.

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  4. *hugs* and God bless. ♥

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    1. Thanks Linda. It has been a bit of an emotionally jarring year, but somehow God has continued to work through it to provide miracles.

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  5. I retired a year earlier than I had planned. Thirty years in the position was as much as my health could take, and the stress was telling me that I wasn't as resilient as I used to be. Now, with three years of hindsight on a very tough decision, I can truthfully say: NO REGRETS!
    My fondest wishes that you will be able to say the same one day TB.

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    1. Thanks Greg. Certainly the events of the last month have given me a great deal to think about. I am not sure I am quite there yet, but The Ravishing Mrs. TB and I have a lot to talk about upon my return.

      Congratulations on your retirement! I sincerely hope you are enjoying it.

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  6. I am fortunate in that my hobbies are for the most part cheap. I don't desire luxurious cars, boats, or vacations to places packed with people. I prefer the simple stuff like backpacking in the mountains or making my own furniture. My retirement costs have been saved for many many years ago so now our focus is just making it from now until then.

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    1. Ed, most of mine are inexpensive as well - or the remaining ones (I would like to do beekeeping again, for example) ones that the expense would be justified. Last year I started tracking things and we are doing okay - not where maybe we should be, but with Nighean Gheal finishing college this year, that opens up additional possibilities.

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