Fun Times at Work

My position at work gives me a lot of inside information sometimes.  It is why I’m on the “insiders list” meaning I cannot trade company stock except for maybe 4 times a year.  Simply put, I know too much or at least have access to too much info.

And, because I am in the hub of the company, meaning I work with every organization, I can start seeing things come together before most people.
About a month before DJ was born, I put the pieces together and figured out our company was going to merge with two others.  Hell, I had even deciphered the code name, thus figuring out the companies involved.  All of this came about not because I was seeking it but because they had me doing odd things that forces one to start putting together the pieces.  As far as the code name went, they used an obscure comic book reference.  It wasn’t obscure to me – thanks, Garbanzo!  
The last month, our company’s atmosphere has been just odd.  All of a sudden, Legal is asking me about every contract known to man.  I’m examining termination clauses with them – but not really being told what I’m looking for.  Then, there is a rush to close the financial books – the board is more acutely interested than before which, of course means, there was a problem requiring me to intervene.  (It’s a sure fire way for an IT problem to happen.)  Then there was the two weeks of super-hushed, no one is talking, fun that happened during our quarter end.  Quarter end is the busiest, most frantic time for our company, and yet there  was quiet.  Throw in the people who like to freak out at me that weren’t, and I was pretty sure there was something going on.
Right before I left Friday, my cohort mentioned something about a meeting on Monday.  He didn’t have details, but thought he would share.  We speculated off and on via IM so we would not be overheard.  We knew there were offers on the table for our company to be bought – that has been public knowledge for 6 months now.  It naturally followed that it was the announcement.
I tried to keep this info out of my head over the weekend.  You can drive yourself nuts over speculations.  And, as I mentioned to someone, if they closed down the company, I know they would keep severance in tact (it was already expected to be part of the deal), so I would get at least 19 weeks of pay + insurance money, etc.  I would be one of the lucky ones if that went down.  
I checked the business wire when I got up Monday.  If they were announcing it publicly, I knew it had to be up before the bell of the stock market. And, I was right.  The news is very, VERY good for us.  Better than I could have imagined – and trust me, many of us have hoped for and imagined this scenario many times.  
My enthusiasm about the news was confirmed by the CIO who is my boss.  It was further confirmed by a couple of the sales people who were on the early morning call rolling out the info to them.  The stock market responded favorably.  My email contained notes of support from former bosses and employees who had left.  What could have been a shitty day turned into a good one.
Nothing is finalized until July 1st, so we have to get thru the next couple of months.  And, there are still some layoffs that will happen between now and then – that has been the plan all along.  Do I feel secure? About as secure as you can in this economy – and as an IT manager.  I think a lot of that will depend on this big project we are doing.   But, for now, the news gives people direction.  No one has the excuse that they are waiting to see what happens with the company.  I can only hope this helps them get re-motivated.
If not, I think we have some names to add to that layoff list.
Yes, that statement is harsh.  I don’t like layoffs.  I don’t like people losing their jobs. But, if it comes down to the company staying open and that person keeping his/her job….I vote the company. There are a lot more people affected if the company closes.  Plus, I’m not apt to be protective of people who would rather sit on around waiting for someone on a white horse to come rescue them.  Get off your ass and fix the problem is my attitude.  
Andy Grove, former CEO at Intel, wrote a fascinating book about his management style called “Only the Paranoid Survive”.  In it, he explains that if you find yourself in the middle of a desert (metaphorically speaking), pick a direction and walk.  Figure out what to do along the way.  If you sit down and try to figure out it, you risk dying in the middle of the discussion.  At least if you can’t figure it out while walking, you have a chance of walking out of the desert.  Don’t sit there and wait for inspiration to strike, don’t wait to be rescued, be active in your own rescue.  This analogy clearly struck a cord with me.  And, is a good way of explaining why I feel the way I do.  
And, I should also clarify that I think these people should be fired rather than laid off.  I mean, lay offs are supposed to be what happens to good employees – not a way to compensate bad employees just to get them the hell out the door….but I digress.

What do you think?

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