Thursday, February 23, 2006

Wind from the North

I just went out for drinks with a boss that I never bonded with or liked. We worked together for 13 years and never really saw eye to eye. I was in the majority in the company that really disliked this guy- and thought that he was really bad for the company. Hey was a good ol' boy- part of the old guard, somehow the senior management felt that this guy was really good. I felt different, but the politics were such that you could never say a bad word against the powers that be without commiting career suicide. He holds a powerful position and people are scared to get caught talking bad about him.
We had been through a lot over the years- upswings, downturns and most recently a change of ownership of the company.
Well, the occasion of our drink was that it is his last day tomorrow, as he is leaving the company.
I thought that I would be elated, but i wasn't.
Now I miss the old days in the old company- even if there were people that I felt that I didn't like at the time.
In the past, I hated the fact that we had to make do with what we had- and had to forego the latest technology because we didn't have the money. I read what was out there and felt that we were the only antiquity around that was not keeping up. We had to seemingly work harder with familiar old technology to give our customers the excellent quality and service that they came to expect from us. We had to keep up with others that had better, and did things with surely more ease and efficiency than we did. And we did keep up. We were in the top 1% of our peer companies. We were seen as the best of the best, despite of all out secret shortcomings because the boys knew what they were doing.
Then all of our prayers were answered. We were sold to a large, rich foreign company who bought us becuase of our great reputation, and despite of our obvious need of an upgrade. Instantly, the latest technology crashed upon us like a tsunami. We had all the toys that we had ever longed for, and most companies still longed for. Along with that came the flood of new work from our confident customers who were elated that we were expanding and upgrading. Everything all at once.
Along with all of this instant growth and investment, came the huge pressure of something called ROI. Suddenly we were expected to know exactly what to do with all this new software, hardware, equipment and such. We were expected to instantly turn this into cash in the bank.
To make a long story short, we fell on our face. Sure- we should have had more time to learn and test and develop. Financial people don't think like this.
What we cursed about yesterday, we miss dearly today. Oh, to be familiar with anything again and just have the routine of the work day to be your major beef.
Suddenly we were faced with problems like technolgy that was so new that you could not hire experienced people. You could not get experienced technical assistance. You were expected to make it all work- now. You all of a sudden were pioneers in a new global economy on the leading edge of technology with tens of millions of dollars at stake.
Eventually, something had to give and it was the bosses that took the fall.
The company will go on, and we will be among the best again.. but I can't help feeling like we let our bosses down, even if we didn't like the way they treated us.

I suppose the moral of this story is that change happens and never think that you are the best at anything. If you resist change, you are only making it worse for yourself in the long run. We all have much to learn, and the world is ever changing. America is at a huge risk because of apathy and a false notion that they are and always will be the greatest. There are emerging nations that work way harder than we do for less pay. They work as hard as our ancient ancestors did- but we do not. This is fearsome.
My company is now in direct competition with these foreign companies and it will be all we can do to stay alive.
Remember: when a country lost a war, America helped rebuld it with the new technology. Now these countries make America look outdated. Wake up.

Dave B.


Joe Bob said...

I hear ya, "neighbor". I can't help but think we've set our alarm clocks a bit late on some aspects, so to speak...and napped a bit past the point of catching the "Oh sh1t" until it got a bit too far by us. Then again, lest we not forget...some of our own folks right here in the good old US of their haste to make the fast buck with ultra cheap labor, put those opportunities right into the laps of the "3rd world" countries that are now kickin us right where it counts, as our unemployment rates continually increase, and more "cheap labor" is recruited from "over there" so that a handful of CEO's and the like can reap the benefits...funny thing though...we keep right on buyin the stuff, don't we?? Oh...that's pretty much enough on that...I know y'all get the idea of what I'm sayin...

Joe Bob said...

Oh...Hey..go read this...
Are we going to invite them right in the front door now...let them own the front porch even? Let just one...the rest will surely soon follow. Is it fair to wonder these days if my grandkids just might be hand stitching soccer balls as a 1.50 a week? Kind of in fun, I jest...but isn't it scary at times to see this going on and the American public just sits back and let's it???

Odat said...

Thanks so much for that....because i can so relate!!! I just go with the changes spite of myself.. and i do miss the good ole boys (even tho i'm a woman) because they had the history and the knowledge...

Sassan Sanei said...

Isn't competition the core of capitalism, the great American way?

A sense of entitlement will never get you very far...

But goal-setting, clear planning, a little luck, and a lot of plain old hard work will.

Good luck to you.


Anonymous said...

Where are your Blackberries made?