The Culture

(source: flickr.com via @_dchris)

Four months in and I’m getting the hang of the place. By hang, I mean I understand how things sort of work. And by work, I mean that each department does things differently because there are just no rules about what can and can’t be done. It’s the Wild West.

Since the money is still rolling in, this shoot first and ask questions later seems to be tolerated. Never mind that the company has culled a large proportion of its workforce in the last year. Never mind that there is little sense of team and that lunch hours are usually solo eating ventures. The place is still commercially viable despite its foibles.

I begin to think that this is the culture. Everything is down to the individual. Want to get things done? Do it your way. Just make sure that the margins are positive. There is no trust here. Everyone is in it for themselves and just be thankful that the boat isn’t sinking.

Then I read this about a letter sent by the CEO of Airbnb about keeping a company’s culture alive to sustain its future. If the company I work for is still making some money despite its appalling culture, is that such a bad thing?

Maybe I’m just in the wrong place, the wrong time but I have little faith here. Just like everyone else, I’m in it for me. I don’t trust in anyone doing the right thing and I’m just waiting for the right time to jump ship.


So, I’m Working Again

(Source: flickr.com via @SoundsLogical

It all started about six weeks ago and I’m grateful for paid work. The job is very different from my past, focused more on business processes and what would be the mechanics of business improvement. I got the job because someone my wife knew needed a body with a little business nous. So, I’m here, working.

In all my career, I’ve only really worked for two companies and that gives a very limited view of business in general. This new company is really no different from the others. They’ve all had some success in the past but are now trying to adjust to a new market but is being held back by that heavy history; some people are less willing to change and the momentum is slow.

A former colleague would say that “grass is grass”, meaning that it’s no greener on the other side. This new experience proves that to be true. There are people that helped me ease into an unfamiliar industry. There are others who start the relationship testing my ability, looking for ways to doubt.

I can only hope to add something to this business and along the way pick up something for myself without losing too much along the way.


And Like That, It Ends… Or Does It?

(Source: flickr.com via @Christian G.)

I had my group interview last week and soon after they were seeking references. That’s great, right? Clearly they want me. Then I reach out to those that I think would vouch for me – ex-managers and senior people of influence. I send out pensive emails, seeking their kind words of support, to tell a total stranger that I’m the person they need. Then, I start to doubt. In my last company, managers are two-faced. They give you one image but give another when you’re not around. Of course, they’re not all like that, but it’s just hard to tell who isn’t lying.

Given the circumstances of my departure (generally amicable on the surface), I am not certain who I can truly rely on. Can all the work be undone because of misplaced faith in someone’s supposed belief in you? That’s hard to tell. I’m still waiting for a formal offer and they always said that that would be pending referees.

Time ticks on.



Source: flickr.com via @PetroleumJelliffe

The company I used to work for is close to being taken over by private equity. I’ve also heard that a number of people I used to work with have either left or been given severance packages. The crew that remain are impatient for the end and seemingly have little care for the fate of the organization.

Me, I don’t know whether to take some joy at the ineptitude of the leadership that led to this or to feel bad that others will be joining me in this seeming never-ending job hunt.


Dear Applicant

Source: flickr.com via @AustinGranger

The theory is that for every job application you tailor your resume and your cover letter to the needs of the job. You find your more appropriate skills and achievements and bring them to the fore, hoping to make the task easier for the person recruiting.

In some instances, the recruiter asks for other questions to be answered.

What do you most value about our brand? 

How do your values align with ours?

How would you contribute to our organization?

So, it takes a little time to feel like you’ve got it right. What peeves me is that after all that effort, the rejection email I get starts off with “Dear Applicant”. If the etiquette is to be respectful of the advertiser, shouldn’t the same principles apply to them?



Source: flickr.com via @Mareen Fischinger

Announcement Day. A moment that the folks inside are anxious for, even though some are certain to know their roles and others are just fodder. Today, was certainly no different, which makes it kind of a farce. Essentially, people who have a job go into this meeting knowing that someone isn’t going to get a job and the brutal thing is about finding out who doesn’t. And then those who don’t have a job have a sense they don’t have a job but don’t know for certain. It’s doubly painful for them. A colleague in the same boat as me mentioned as aside that it was cruel that we were invited to the meeting – like it was being rubbed in our faces.

I missed that. I scheduled a discussion with a recruiter at the same time. Apparently they clapped for me after my new (old) boss talked about my decade of service. Asshole. He didn’t want me anyway.


Dead Man Walking


With the noted staff reductions still to come, it’s evident that there are people that have been given some bad news. While there have been tears, there are others who have held their dignity and ploughed on with their work.

Those in the latter category seem to be in a good place emotionally; they’ve got jobs or other plans. I feel sorry for the ones who have struggled with the news. In particular, I know someone who is being targeted, with the sole intention of being pushed out of the business. This person has been pressured to work long hours and with no possible hope for success. During our hallway discussions, there is enormous pressure being mounted and the only dignified option is to leave.

The worst thing is that I’ve heard from other sources that the manager had been bragging about performance managing the employee out of the business. This is questionable ethics in times of great uncertainty and difficulty. One can only hope that actions like this have a sense of kismet about it.