Last week I had written about the fact that I was getting this sort of unspoken sixth sense about my job situation undergoing a change. I would argue that I am not particularly prescient in such matters, but a change in how things functioned has already manifested itself twice in the last week.
In the first case, a project which I am on in which the project manager role has had for the responsibility for being the main point of contact, I was very politely informed that in the future, this responsibility would be transferring to an operational role. My place in this structure would be transforming into a more of a role of communication of information and finisher of the sorts of paperwork that make things happen (and, of course, no-one else really wants to ever do).
In the second case, a year long project which in theory was supposed to be close to a decision has suddenly been put back into play as, in the last week, new individuals are introduced into the process and new considerations need to be made - all for the good, I am sure, but quite upsetting the process that has been built up to this point based on those earlier assumptions.
Neither of things indicate any sort of "End Of The World" scenario of course: in both cases there is still a role to be played for my position, I still have work to do, and the prospect of any sort of personnel disruption has not been mentioned. At the same time, it is a noticeable change.
What it portends, I realized, is that we are undergoing yet another change of corporate culture.
Corporate culture change, if you have never lived through one in your past life, is the process by which a corporation not only changes what it believes but how it functions. Corporate cultures of larger companies can often be stronger simply because they have the weight of size (and often years of existence) on their side; corporate cultures of smaller companies can be fluid as they are still in the process of deciding what they want to be.
Over time, if a corporate culture is not firmly defined, it will begin to take on the shape and form of key leaders as they come into the company. If the key leaders share particular experiences, such as all working at larger companies or multiple leaders all having worked at a single large company, the new corporate culture can come to reflect those experiences. Which is not surprising, I suppose - after all, they are large because they are successful, and they were hired to drive success.
Still, it makes it awkward to live through it.
One of the biggest changes at my level as these processes continue - I have been through more than one - always seems to be the continual shrinking of responsibility and scope of action.
Again, it makes a sort of logical sense: as companies get larger, job roles become more specialized as more people are able to focus more intensely on particular areas. And as that focus comes, so comes the change in job responsibility and authority. The power to make decisions as changes as well and - no matter how much companies try to devolve it lower - it almost always seems to settle back up at the upper levels.
As a result, a position like mine continues to see its span lessen in terms of decision making and authority and increase in the areas of minute documentation execution and information transactions, often the sorts of things that need to be done but not by those setting policy and course.
In the end, of course, I suppose it makes little difference: I am still paid for my work and there seems to be corporate stability. At the same time, the fact that we never talk about these changes - they just happen - always leave one with a slightly concerned taste in one's mouth. There is nothing worse than be dependent on black boxes that sometimes seem to change expectations and proposed outcomes in midstream.