Nothing Finer than Living in North Caroliner

Nothing Finer than Living in North Caroliner
Blue Ridge Smoky Mountains

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Day 48 - No More Milk in my Coffee

Fresh milk
The year I was officially "on notice" to fear for my job, I saw many many changes at the company I worked for. Employees were encouraged to give suggestions to upper management for ways to save the company money.  I think this is a great flow of upward communication and the management actually listened.  They encouraged us to share information with others about our daily jobs. They also sent a monthly newsletter that talked about this dilemma.  They mentioned that information about our job is like milk. We can hang on to it and hang on to it until eventually it becomes soured or spoiled.   If information is shared, the newsletter when on to say, it can become gold.

Our VP shared with us, the question management used to make the hard decisions: "Are these items necessities or are they entitlements?" Webster defines entitlement as 3:belief that one is deserving of or entitled to certain privileges.  I had never thought that way before.  Many of these items we didn't really need. We think we are entitled to the fresh water from the water coolers around the company when in reality, the water from the faucets or fountains would quench our thirst just as well.

Changes that involve necessities are welcome...such as thinner paper towels in the restrooms, taking copiers from each area of the company and having centralized copiers which multiple departments use, turning the lights off at 6 PM automatically, and turning off the air conditioning/heat during the weekends.  Thinner toilet paper we are familiar with, but is it really worth it?  We just use more if it! Using standard shipping instead of overnight for non-essentials is a great cost saving idea. Many of these cost reduction ideas were great. 

I personally was told to "work myself out of a job" by my Director.  That is exactly what I did.  With each internal client, I gave them the tools that in the event I wasn't here one day.  This is what they would need and who they should call if they needed help in my absence.  So well in fact that given twelve months and a pledge to save the company $1 million, ahead of schedule at seven months with a savings of $770,000, I was let go five months early.  No hard feelings on my part as I saw the signs.  A friend of mine told me when you see them stop the coffee service, this is the final subtlety that shouts, "YOU ARE NOT GOING TO HAVE A JOB SOON!"    I just thought that I could make a case for myself as I was saving the company a million dollars, that in itself should have been rewarding enough.  

I asked my boss in order to show more value, would the company invest $1000 in computer classes for me?  I could learn computer technology so that I could be transferred to the IT department.  I was told no.  So the reality was I was not a necessary employee and I believed I was entitled to that job.  The irony is the person that I trained to do my job gave his notice two weeks after I was let go.  They reposted my job to which I applied and didn't receive even a phone call.  So the wake up call came.  Instead of me feeling entitled to that job, I needed to review my thoughts, that company felt entitled to a person they thought was better.  Super, I don't want to work for someone who doesn't see my worth.  They are not a necessity for me, there is another company out there somewhere who will have the privilege of hiring me, they will have to earn it, no company is entitled the superior skills that I possess. 

I paid for the computer classes myself and enrolled into college for computer science.  The right thing to do is to take note of the little changes that are going on around us.  Notice EVERYTHING.  The biggest sign is when people stop talking to you.  For whatever reason they can't deal emotionally with the guilt they feel for being relieved that it wasn't them and it was someone else who lost their job. 

Lately I've noticed that many public places don't have the hot water turned on.  So when we wash our hands there is only cold water. Not a big deal, but something to be aware of.  With change, people like to keep their cards close to their chest.  If I had done this and kept all the information to myself, I may or may not still have a job.  But the bottom line was I had to look at myself in the mirror.  Be a team player and do the right thing.  Even though I lost my job I still believe this is the right philosophy.  I left the company carrying my boxes in the biggest downpour of rain without an umbrella.  And I felt relieved.  I literally was singing in the rain. The people who still work for this company have turned the milk into gold and good for them.  Good thing because not only is the milk gone, the coffee is too!

One of the symptoms of an approaching nervous breakdown is the belief that one's work is terribly important.
Bertrand Russell (1872 - 1970), Conquest of Happiness (1930) ch. 5

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