Today, again, I’m questioning my company’s practices regarding employees.
What follows is a rant about my employer. Click “More…” below to continue.
No word yet on those reviews; we all turned in our self-evaluations, but I haven’t heard of any further action taking place. No problem. I consider them almost meaningless anyway.
An old friend of mine who works here revealed to me today that his hours have been cut back (he didn’t say how much) and his benefits revoked. As far as I know, this is not because he hasn’t been doing his job properly, but to cut costs.
They recently hired a fifth person to take technical support calls. I believe this was in response to an increase in call volume over six months ago. Or perhaps so that they will be able to let one of the other tech support agents go (my paranoid brain says it must be me, since I’ve received the one complaint lodged against tech support since they instituted a way to document complaints, over six months ago). Earlier today I received an email advising that the old policy allowing tech support to take overtime hours to cover for missing employees or excessive call volumes has been revoked (the email implied that we should have known this already), and the new policy is to always “make up the difference” by not working some hours on other days that week. This way, the company will always be billed for 40 hours per week per employee. Again, a cost-cutting measure. this one doesn’t effect me much, since I think I’ve had about 1.5hrs overtime in the last year, but it is a good example of the way management handles things.
My company recently secured US$8mil in venture capital. I heard unofficially that nearly US$7mil of it was spent before it was secured, putting the company just barely ahead of losing money. Before the money was secured, they had put in a hiring freeze, and as I have mentioned before, a freeze on increases in pay, always saying “until funding is secured”. Except that in the two weeks since funding was secured, their actions appear to be cutting back further than ever before. They have been allowing staff to atrophy since our highest revenues were generated last year, when in order to reach profitability we need to be able to handle a minimum of ten times the volume of business we had on our highest day last year. I suppose they think they’re being more effecient, and they may be, but they certainly aren’t making me feel secure about the future of the company.
I know that the part of the company I work for, when looked at on its own (for that is what it used to be), is profitable, and has been for over 10 years. I know that my job, technical support, will be something that the customers will be willing to continue paying for, even if the services side of the company fails and atrophies, and that I am very capable of assisting those customers. Still, if the services side gets too far in the red, will they take the software side with them?
Worse to me than the prospect of losing my job hanging over my head seems to be the idea of staying with a company that is not concerned with the future, well-being, or happiness of its employees. Also, I have always strived to avoid politics of any kind, especially those that could threaten my job. I am not a politician. I am a software support technician. Today, the second level tech advaised the first level techs that they would be taking on a couple of tasks that have been until this point only a part of the second level’s job description. He literally said in his email that the reason for this was so that it didn’t effect his ability to earn a calls/hr bonus. Since he was sucking up 5 overtime hours EVERY WEEK, finding out that he couldn’t do that anymore must have made him decide to change his own job description, and the job descriptions of four other employees.
If I had wanted to take on those responsibilities, I would have. Over a year ago, when a differentiation between first and second level technicians was first being made, I was offered the position first, and flatly refused it. I long ago decided that I have no interest in “climbing the ladder” and that I do not want any more responsibility than I have to, so it was an easy decision for me at the time. I didn’t need the extra money, and I didn’t want the extra responsibilities. When I started, I agreed to take technical support calls. Anything more and they start to lose me. Well, since I turned down the position, we’ve gone through three department heads, and the current one has delegated so much of his responsibility to the second level tech that he is now semi-officially my “supervisor” and I guess he’s decided that means he gets to make decisions about what my job is supposed to be.
I may be over-reacting. I may be able to shirk the bulk of the responsibilities the second level tech is trying to shirk down onto me. If I can’t, I’ll probably start being vocal to the real manager about it, and we’ll see if I can do that and not lose my job as a result. I have such strong emotional responses to these silly little things at work. Probably because I spend more time at work than doing any other thing while awake. And typically, more time at work than I spend asleep, as well.