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Old 06-07-2013, 09:51 AM   #301
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I'd like to think of myself as an elephant seal among penguins, but the truth is probably closer to a buzzard. Like them, I relish picking over the bones for value and like buzzards my first reaction to threats is to crap on teh would be attacker if I cannot fly away.
Sadly, I had to endure this years ago; even more sadly, I was not sharp enough to come up with this buzzard reference. (Yes, I definitely would have said this during our open discussion.)
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Old 06-07-2013, 01:00 PM   #302
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We hear pretty much daily the drumbeat of needing to control costs, reduce expenses, etc. Travel on fairly critical jobs is being restricted. Yet I turned on my blackberry this morning to find that they are flying an HR creature from the head office to my branch location to do the following mandatory training:



I think I am losing my mind.
Selective spending... reminds me of a period at a past employer when there was cost cutting going on... Two things come to mind...

The first... Offices in City A and B, about 250 miles apart. The fly vs drive question came up regularly, balancing cost vs. time... Could be driven almost as fast/convenient when considering security lines and early arrivals, but then there's the wear and tear...

I was working on a project that required 4 meetings in the other city at a client location in the space of about a month, so 1/week. These were about 4-6 hours. I was told I had to drive, and not spend the night, because there wasn't enough money in the project to support the expense. No shared driving, I'm the only one. Around the time I finished it up, my boss who resided in the other city had to come to our place for a meeting. He flew, an overhead expense. When asked, he started to offer excuses about one day travel, not safe to have such a long day, etc. When I pointed out that I had been told to do exactly those things, silence...

As it turns out, his (and probably my to some extent) annual performance were based in part on margin of individual projects. So there was incentive to not spend $$$ on the project, but none when it came to overhead. This really came to a head when we had a project we bid out but did not get. One of my co-workers suggested we lower our price to get the work, since we had none and were twiddling our thumbs (didn't mention that we'd recently been bought and the new employer arbitrarily bumped our already high rates by 20% for no reason other than wanting more $$$). Answer? No... the margin would not be enough. Next question to boss... you mean you want me to sit here doing nothing that produces income while still costing you $$$, rather than bringing in something? Silence...

Not long after that, a new boss took over at HQ (not city A or B), and he elected to fly his direct reports (including my boss) out to California so they could meet and get to know each other, including bonding on a deep sea fishing trip...

This period of my life lasted for several years, probably lasted that long in part because we averaged more than 1 HQ boss per year, until HQ finally shut us down...

Don't miss it one bit...
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Old 06-09-2013, 06:05 AM   #303
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Ah, selective spending.


I'm in traditional, boring commercial banking. For all intensive purposes, tons of weaker banks were kept open when they probably should have been closed and we still have about the same number of banks as 2007, while the economy is slower and all businesses want less debt. On top of that, the regulatory environment has basically made all the banks shy about buying each other because they don't want to put up with the red tape.

So we end up with too much capacity and have been in this cost cutting race for years. More with less. I'm also 10 years into this career and can't go replace my income easily if I change industries. I also probably work for the best of the bunch, but do more with less for the last four years is frustrating
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Old 06-09-2013, 07:23 AM   #304
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I am wondering if by "banks" you mean banking companies or the bank buildings themselves. Our small "town center" has at least 5 bank buildings inside ~ 10 acres, and most of them seem deserted when we're around during the day. A large M&T Bank building that we walk by, hardly ever seems to have any customers.

I imagine the trend toward on-line banking is behind this, yet I just saw ground being broken for a new bank building in a nearby small city where there are dozens already.

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Ah, selective spending.

I'm in traditional, boring commercial banking. For all intensive purposes, tons of weaker banks were kept open when they probably should have been closed ...So we end up with too much capacity and have been in this cost cutting race for years.
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Old 06-09-2013, 07:34 AM   #305
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I work for the actual bank.


The branch issue is interesting. - branch traffic declines every year, but study after study shows you have to have decent branch coverage because customers want to come in and talk to someone whenever there's an issue or they have something complicated.

I work primarily with businesses - there's just too much capacity lending into that space relative to demand, so all banks are having to cut costs pretty dramatically. I'm sure there are still stories out there about "my business can't get a loan", but there are unqualified borrowers who apply every day. From my perception, it's as aggressive as its ever been lending into this market, there just isn't the demand to support all these banks. Usually at this point in the cycle, there's massive bank mergers and consolidations and its just not happening. The last couple big mergers have take. 2-3 times the normal length and a lot of red tape.

I can't entirely blame the regulators either, they're career govt employees and don't want to be blamed if something goes wrong leading to a bank failure.
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Old 06-09-2013, 09:17 AM   #306
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Interesting perspective, from an industry about which I know nothing.

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I work for the actual bank.


The branch issue is interesting. - branch traffic declines every year, but study after study shows you have to have decent branch coverage because customers want to come in and talk to someone whenever there's an issue or they have something complicated.

I work primarily with businesses - there's just too much capacity lending into that space relative to demand, so all banks are having to cut costs pretty dramatically. I'm sure there are still stories out there about "my business can't get a loan", but there are unqualified borrowers who apply every day. From my perception, it's as aggressive as its ever been lending into this market, there just isn't the demand to support all these banks. Usually at this point in the cycle, there's massive bank mergers and consolidations and its just not happening. The last couple big mergers have take. 2-3 times the normal length and a lot of red tape.

I can't entirely blame the regulators either, they're career govt employees and don't want to be blamed if something goes wrong leading to a bank failure.
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Old 06-09-2013, 10:22 AM   #307
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Just don't invest in banks right now. Expect flat to declining earnings.
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Old 06-10-2013, 04:21 AM   #308
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Too much capacity or too little has the same result, higher costs for consumers.
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Old 06-13-2013, 05:03 PM   #309
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Another one for the "greatest hits" file. This is prominently posted on our internal homepage at the moment:

Quote:
"Discipline" to be featured at upcoming <HR gibberish meeting>
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Old 06-13-2013, 10:44 PM   #310
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I'm sure that meeting will appeal to some, but it's a bit too kinky for a square like me.
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Old 07-12-2013, 09:14 AM   #311
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Another one for the "WTF?" file:

I got back last night from a weeklong vacation and thought I would look at my email before bed to take the edge off re-entry this morning. What do I find? An email from my superior telling me the amount of my (already delayed) mid-year bonus. This is already a piddling amount, but this year I find that it has been reduced almost 40% and there is no explanation whatsoever in his email. Uh, OK. I didn't think I could be less motivated than I already was, but there it goes.
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Old 07-12-2013, 01:17 PM   #312
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Old 07-12-2013, 05:54 PM   #313
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Our corporate culture has become so fearful of confrontation, that only employees who are getting a bonus or award are notified. Those who aren't getting anything, never hear a word either way. No lists are published, and no one is allowed to tell anyone else what he/she got, or didn't. We have been informed that "this is how private industry does it."

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Another one for the "WTF?" file:

I got back last night from a weeklong vacation and thought I would look at my email before bed to take the edge off re-entry this morning. What do I find? An email from my superior telling me the amount of my (already delayed) mid-year bonus. This is already a piddling amount, but this year I find that it has been reduced almost 40% and there is no explanation whatsoever in his email. Uh, OK. I didn't think I could be less motivated than I already was, but there it goes.
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Old 07-12-2013, 06:06 PM   #314
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Worst part of my job was getting furlough notice while on vacation.

Even worse was being back on the job after 2.5 months of furlough...
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Old 09-04-2013, 01:01 PM   #315
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I have to agree with being furloughed the last few years sucks big time! Also lack of cola's,falling behind industry standards of pay being a Gov. Employee. But our benefits are far superior so that keeps me going. 5 more years, piece of cake!
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Old 09-04-2013, 01:33 PM   #316
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I am on the second week of two travelling out of town for an assignment. At least that is the theory, anyway. In fact, there is little or nothing to actually do and the 5 people in the room here spend their days BSing, surfing the web, wandering out for long lunches, etc. There is no way we would be allowed to kill off the trip (or even part of it) because management would be unable to check off certain boxes. My travel expenses for last week alone were $1300.

At this point it its 120 days until I quit, so screw it. I show up late after spending the morning in the woods and as soon as we quit for the day I head back to the woods.
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Old 09-04-2013, 04:33 PM   #317
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ER'ed May 1st this year from a Megacorp... Before I forget, here are my top 10 worst part of the job:

#10: Waking up every morning dreading what BS I would have to deal with today.
#9: Reading endless & unimportant emails that are only sent out for CYA.
#8: 99% of meetings conducted over conference call. Conference room meeting are too old school I guess. I missed being able to read people faces as well as having their full attention.
#7: Working with multiple cross-site teams. This makes for long days (time zones) and communication issues across all sites.
#6: Being forced to commit to unrealistic schedules w/o proper funding & resources.
#5: Working your ass off to hit a critical project deliverable only to find out it was not critical. Too much the "sky is falling" being communicated from management.
#4: Spending valuable time doing post mortems only to repeat the same mistakes.
#3: Endless task force teams. Does every problem need a task force team?
#2: Resolving "people" problems vs. the "real" problems on a project.
#1 The inability of upper management to commit & make timely decisions. They are too scared that they will make a wrong decisions. I thought that is why they were paid the big bucks ...

Wow... I really did make the right decision to ER ....
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Old 09-04-2013, 04:56 PM   #318
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Worst part of my job was getting furlough notice while on vacation.

Even worse was being back on the job after 2.5 months of furlough...

A true nightmare! A lessor person could not have survived the shock to the system.
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Old 09-04-2013, 06:39 PM   #319
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Brad,

Did I work with you?

MRG
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Old 09-04-2013, 09:14 PM   #320
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1) Working in "human" resources. Period.
2) Knowing that "Leadership" makes two or three hundred times as much money as staff do.
3) Politics.
4) Not telling people what I really think of them or the organization (however, that is starting to happen more and more now as my FIRE date approaches).
5) Being sucked into a deposition next Thursday to defend the org against what I consider to be an immoral and unethical lawsuit. I'll say no more lest I start cursing.
6) Working at a well-respected, world renowned organization. One which houses much of its support staff in a crappy area. In a former warehouse. Painted sterile, hospital white. Containing row after row of cubicles. While requiring males to wear ties (I often won't).
7) Bureaucracy. Bureaucracy. Bureaucracy.
8) Hearing my name called again, and again, and again, and... Because yet one more person wants something.
9) Coming back to the warehouse after a magical time in the canyons by the Pacific ocean.
10) Getting up in the morning to go there.
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