For those that have followed me for a bit, you might have recalled me going for a posted position within my company that would have been a promotion. I didn’t get it, but I already knew that going into it based on how the description was written. My goal was more to let upper management know that I’m not opposed to taking on new roles that may be slightly outside of my wheel house for the sake of the challenge. It worked. The new Director starts today, remotely from Colorado, then from Pennsylvania next week. I already know that my current manager and I are going to report to him as well as another individual from the Networking team. My job isn’t changing all that much except that a heaping pile of “conflict of interest” is going away now that I’m not inside the group that I’ve been auditing the last two years.
With the move comes a new desk in a different building but on the same campus. Moving to the third floor of the newest building on our campus is exciting. More so the fact that it will bring with it new challenges from management that is coming in from outside. We already got a new CIO from outside that is already making waves and with a Director to back her up, the change will keep coming. My work is already starting to make people worried in that the results of my reviews and audits are being reviewed and actioned on by senior management with more purpose and intent to get future audits looking better. It only makes my job easier as the more support I can get for the work I’m doing, the easier it will be to have people engage when I ask them for evidence. A recent audit of change requests in one particular group was actually quite poor and the results have not gone over well for those tasked with providing me what I was asking for. It’s probably good I’m moving to I’m no longer in the same building as the people I’m auditing.
The new space brings with it a quieter workspace and upgraded furniture and chairs. Overall, despite the lower cubicle walls to promote “collaboration”, I’m looking forward to not having the kids of distractions I have currently in my soon to be vacated space. You can view the archives for previous posts that detailed my daily living hell putting up with the people around me. I’ll also have a lot more face time with the CIO and new Director because they are in the same building and floor that I’m moving to. Face time as most IT people know is crucial for those moments when they’re trying to figure out who from within is worth promoting into whatever new idea they have and need bodies to run it. Not that I do my job in order to get a better job, but doing my job and being recognized for it is important to me. One of my many motivations. I’ll also be working remote two days per week instead of just one as I’m no longer in the reporting chain that enforces restrictions. My manager sees that I work just as hard (if not harder) at home then when I’m in the office.
Hopefully the rain holds off today long enough for me to move my stuff, freshly minimalized, to the new building across the main parking lot. Otherwise, I’ll have to try to move everything tomorrow. I like change, the more the better.
Acute awareness of anything is not always a good thing. For most people it brings clarity in a confusing situation, lets you see something that you didn’t realize before, or lets you empathize with someone else to help them through something. In my case though, I’ve become acutely aware of the fact that even after 7 months at my current job, I still feel like an outsider. Nothing specific that makes me feel this way, just little hints that I’m still not one of the crowd or a trusted member of the company fold. Sure, everyone is courteous and friendly and will often engage in conversation at the drop of a dime. Free coffee here is our “water cooler” and conversations at the coffee pot are an hourly occurrence if you’re inclined to participate.
My introverted nature I’m sure doesn’t help this feeling though. In fact, I’m almost sure its detrimental to me in situations like this one where I’m the “new guy” in a group where the average tenure of an employee is well over 12 years. I work with people that in some cases were hired by the current CEO, not many people can say that at a company that exceeds a few hundred people, let alone a company that is pushing 5,000 employees. I’m 7 months in and still feel that I’m navigating the political waters of how management operates. The learning curve here is mighty steep and has proved to be a difficult journey to say the least.
Having to adapt to a corporate environment here, if you can call it that, has been daunting after having worked in what I consider normal environments for the better part of 18 years. There are so many levels that you have to fight with to get anything done and partnering that with an ever changing focus and direction makes it all but impossible unless you know people. That’s where my issues comes into full focus, I just don’t know the people I need to in order to get certain projects completed. I’m viewed as an outsider with my crazy notions of how something should be done and asking questions as to why it isn’t. My radar doesn’t quite tune to the “I built this process you’re shooting holes in” negative attitude that normally greets me during some conversations.
There is a very real sense that work is done to propel a career or protect a legacy of “it’s always been done like this” that, if changed, requires people to learn something new. I’ve found through experience that changing a routine in a corporate office is probably the hardest thing you can do as complacency takes root and is as hard to remove as a weed with a 2 foot long root into the ground. All of this struggle adds to my awareness that I’m an outsider and until I yield to the status quo, I will continue to be an outsider.
I’m not sure that my future with this company is going to be along one. I keep pushing forward handling obstacles as they come, but my energy and motivation are taking huge hits while doing it. My only hope at this point is that the retirement train keeps moving ahead and some of the crusty bits go away. My dealings with other “new people” (essentially 5 years or less with the company) have been positive. If some of those people can get their way into the vacated positions, I think I might have a chance to make a real difference. Until that happens though, I have to struggle to get anything done as the “outsider”.
I think the hardest part for most people to cope with when it comes to technology in general is the speed at which it changes. Take my obvious change of template design. Small potatoes when you consider the ground breaking work being done right now at most companies, but my Mom would have an issue.
“I liked the old design” she would say.
“I got tired of it” I would say.
And it would go back and forth like that for about 5 minutes until I got bored with it and moved the conversation onto something else not related to the design of my blog.
As I sit here typing on my Core i5 laptop that barely has a scratch on it (still newish), I think back to the very first computer I ever owned. When I say owned, I mean the first computer I purchased with my own money that I earned on my own without anyone elses help in purchase. A whopping $3,000 garnered me a 486 DX2 with 4MB of RAM and a 250MB hard drive. Had a color VGA monitor and a dot matrix printer, both purchased separately. Yeah, they did that back in the day…. annoying. Anyway, that little purchase kept me working well for about 8 years before I sold it to a friend for a fraction of what I paid for it and they used it for 5 more years. Now you ask how is that possible? I’ll tell you.
Computers back then were built much better, designed to last for years, and had components primarily made in the United States. The computers now are the polar opposite of that. I think they woke up and took a queue from light bulb manufacturers where they make stuff to last only 2-4 years before you need to purchase new stuff. When have you ever picked up a 5+ year old laptop and said “this thing still works great”? Chances are, if you use computers like I do, its not too often. Once the shiny newness wears off, I treat computers the same way I treat any other tool. My old workhorse Dell Inspiron 1200 lasted several more years than it should have and the poor keyboard paid the price. All missing keys and stuff, it practically cried when I would open it up and start using it.
My new laptop hasn’t seen that type of punishment yet, but I’m sure when it does its mostly Chinese parts will not bear the brunt of my hammer fingers and rough treatment in and out of the backpack.