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Tales from a botched reorg
Old 04-26-2011, 05:37 PM   #1
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Tales from a botched reorg

The organization I work for is classed as a not-for-profit. Employees are generally extremely long-serving and the culture is slow moving. We have a new Grand Poohbah (GP) for the first time in a decade, so we are going through the first reorg in almost that long. There are no layoffs contemplated, but holy smokes are they screwing the pooch on this one.

In the private sector reorgs I have been through, the rank and file showed up one day, was given the new org chart and job descriptions, and you got started adjusting. Instead the process here has been going on since February and will linger beyond June. In the name of transparency, we keep getting half-done announcements with big sections filled in with "TBD." The GP's reorg council apparently got into such a vicious argument over what to do that they had to shout to end the meeting and send everyone to a conflict resolution and strategic planning class.

The few firm decisions they did make were to reduce the standard raise upon promotion (when there are no more annual raises) and reduce the frequency of promotions. This frankly serves as a big demotivator, since a low single digit percent raise is not enout to compensate for the extra work.

They asked us to indicate preferences as to where we wanted to go in reorg, but apparently that did not work out so well. As a result, the GP is sitting down tonight with her brass and a list of staff names and open spots and will be slamming A into B.

Not surprisingly, people have begun leaving in droves. The latest was the departure of 3 officers in one day last week, including two of the fastest rising, most promising people in the organization.

I am waiting for the "you go here now" news on Friday, since I expect it will precipitate an even larger wave of departures.

See what all you retired folks are missing?
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Old 04-26-2011, 05:54 PM   #2
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Geez Brewer, sorry to hear about the royal mess.

I completely sympathize. My mega got swallowed by a gigantic mega almost 3 years ago. I've had 5 managers and 4 reorgs since then, so definitely feel your pain.

Hopefully there is light at the end of this tunnel for you!
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Old 04-26-2011, 07:05 PM   #3
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Yawn, we got that in Government a couple of times per administration. We almost always went with the "get buy in from all stakeholders" route until the final moments. Of course, the buy in phase was usually, BS from the get go.

The good news is that with all the fast trackers jumping ship there could be opportunities for you
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Old 04-26-2011, 07:18 PM   #4
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See what all you retired folks are missing?
Apparently the latest "retirement health research" indicates that what you're going through now is considered far more mentally stimulating and beneficial to your long-term morale than anything you could do in ER. Or outside of NJ.

Suze Orman would recommend that you stick to your guns (without raise or promotion) until you're at least 67. Preferably 70. Or at least for the rest of your life, whichever is shorter...
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Old 04-26-2011, 08:17 PM   #5
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Fortunately I have alternatives to going down with the ship. I flew west last week for a third round interview with a more sane organization. I also had lunch today with a former coworker who is now a consultant and it is pretty clear that I could walk onto a job at her firm any time I choose. So if it gets really bad I have alternatives.
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Old 04-26-2011, 08:24 PM   #6
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Fortunately I have alternatives to going down with the ship. I flew west last week for a third round interview with a more sane organization. I also had lunch today with a former coworker who is now a consultant and it is pretty clear that I could walk onto a job at her firm any time I choose. So if it gets really bad I have alternatives.
I think the career field you ended up in ("chosen" might or might not be the right word) has always offered exceptional employment mobility, albeit at the price of unexpected involuntary unemployment.
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Old 04-26-2011, 08:28 PM   #7
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I think the career field you ended up in ("chosen" might or might not be the right word) has always offered exceptional employment mobility, albeit at the price of unexpected involuntary unemployment.
Actually, what I am doing now gives somewhat less mobility in return for absolutely zero risk of unemployment.
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Old 04-26-2011, 08:52 PM   #8
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This is a prime example why we all LBYM. You can handle reorganizations with relative ease. If you are reorganized into a job you hate, you can always quit or move onto something that doesn't necessarily pay as much. One of the most satisfying things one can do is where an organization wants to keep you because they need your skills, but doesn't want to give you a title or pay worthy of them. You can look your manager (often someone who brown-nosed his/her way up the ladder) and say "I don't think so." The look you get from the other side of the desk will be priceless....

Reminds me a little of this scene from American Beauty:

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Old 04-26-2011, 09:04 PM   #9
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Good luck. I have never stayed around to see the finish of a reorg. Sometimes it is just easier to move on. Sounds like you have some other options.
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Old 04-26-2011, 09:11 PM   #10
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Yep, polling "the masses" for ideas and asking individuals where they'd like to go usually ends badly. It's the same reason that installing suggestion boxes lowers morale--people would rather just be told "this is how we're going forward" than be asked for their opinion and then have their input (seemingly) disregarded.
Good luck, Brewer!
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Old 04-26-2011, 11:59 PM   #11
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Let me amp that up a bit, Great Luck Brewer!

I realize that living in NJ moving to Chicago is 'west'. If you really move west, say within 100 miles of the Pacific Ocean, north of ah, Monterey, let me know.

You realize that Portland has the BEST brews in the USA...
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Old 04-27-2011, 12:11 AM   #12
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Good luck. I have never stayed around to see the finish of a reorg.
I didn't know reorgs were ever finished.

When I was at a Navy training command, one of the command's former commanding officers came back down from his new "victory" tour at Mt. Olympus Navy training HQ to tell us like it is at the top of the food chain pyramid.

He said that his personal vision of Hell had two scenarios:
1. Perpetual Thanksgiving-Day dinner at his mother-in-law's house, with all her extended family, or,
2. Leading the Naval Education & Training Command reorganization, along with its "skill spectrum" and "training continuum". It would only seem like it continued for eternity.

He said he'd decided to reach out to his mother-in-law.
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Old 04-27-2011, 06:55 AM   #13
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Actually, the opportunity I am looking at is in dex' neighborhood. I might be bringing a bit of the Jersey Shore culture he appreciates so well right to his doorstep.

Like most people, I have seen bad management and painful reorgs before. But these people take the cake. There isn't a big enough clue bat in all the world...
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Old 04-27-2011, 07:57 AM   #14
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They asked us to indicate preferences as to where we wanted to go in reorg, but apparently that did not work out so well. As a result, the GP is sitting down tonight with her brass and a list of staff names and open spots and will be slamming A into B.
I have never seen anything like this. Preferences? In a restaurant - yes. At work - what difference does it make?

Of course, the good news is that the most qualified people leave and that creates additional opportunity. The bad news is that your workload goes up immediately and you end up surrounded by clowns.

It's nice to have options.
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Old 04-27-2011, 10:32 AM   #15
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Let me amp that up a bit, Great Luck Brewer!

I realize that living in NJ moving to Chicago is 'west'. If you really move west, say within 100 miles of the Pacific Ocean, north of ah, Monterey, let me know.
HAHAHAHAHA!

When we lived in Chi-town, one radio station chanted how this was "the great North West territory". Since when?? To this day, I believe they were oxygen-deprived. It was like Texans talking about being The West.

The best I can say about Chicago is that it isn't New York. If one must, one can live there. For a while. If one can live without seafood that doesn't stink.

After living both places, it occurred to me that those were the folks who weren't smart enough to stay on the wagon train.

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You realize that Portland has the BEST brews in the USA...
Ya, Brat. The ghost of Henry Weinhard still walks the boards in old NW Portland. I miss it so. Our daughter lives there now. It is cool place, even cooler than when I was growing up there.

Now if the subject is BBQ and po-boys, it is a different story.

Crawfish? Tell them about Jake's Crawfish House. Jake had his own lake in the Cascades with a crawfish farm. Don't forget Louie's Oyster Bar, home of Crab Louie.

I talk too much. I should quote Governor Tom McCall: Welcome to Oregon. Now go home.

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Old 04-27-2011, 10:43 AM   #16
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I talk too much.
CHP? I detect a case of the low down, too-much-time-on-the-road, beer-drinking, Azerbaijanian blues...
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Old 04-27-2011, 10:53 AM   #17
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Yawn, we got that in Government a couple of times per administration. We almost always went with the "get buy in from all stakeholders" route until the final moments. Of course, the buy in phase was usually, BS from the get go.

The good news is that with all the fast trackers jumping ship there could be opportunities for you

In my agency, major reorganizations like Brewer describes only occured about once every decade or two but still, I think donheff is on to something here.

Brewer, you may not believe it but it is great news that people are jumping ship. Reorganizations are a good opportunity to rise in the organization, if not immediately then soon afterwards while things are still settling out and roles are still fluid.
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Old 04-27-2011, 11:08 AM   #18
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Brewer, you may not believe it but it is great news that people are jumping ship. Reorganizations are a good opportunity to rise in the organization, if not immediately then soon afterwards while things are still settling out and roles are still fluid.
That may be true, but the place is so massively dysfunctional, the workload so much higher, and the incremental comp is so niggardly that I am not interested in rising. I would not want to manage for these assclowns, which it would most likely entail. So this is really all about minimizing the damage, not seizing "opportunities."
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Old 04-27-2011, 11:25 AM   #19
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CHP? I detect a case of the low down, too-much-time-on-the-road, beer-drinking, Azerbaijanian blues...
Most perceptive, grasshopper. Full of rocks, the road to financial independence can be.

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Old 04-27-2011, 11:27 AM   #20
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Ed
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C'mon, then. It might not be the West, but it's where it begins...
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