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Old 05-25-2011, 10:42 PM   #101
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Hi growing_older. You have indicated that the solution you implemented in the past involved overtime (presumably when the production line is down?)

To avoid uncompensated overtime you have withheld this information. People are just focusing on this part - you withheld information. I personally think its understandable if your company has a history of asking people to work overtime without recognizing it somehow.

If I were in your shoes I would simply volunteer the information like this:

"Hi Boss, last time this occurred, I was able to patch the machinery's software. This solution was obviously only temporary, however, I am willing to train someone to implement this solution during my normal working hours. What do you think?"

If the boss asks that you implement it yourself outside of working hours can you not just politely decline or request that it be compensated? I think you would have to firmly, but politely, force this issue. Maybe the resentment that is slowly built up inside you is blocking you from doing this?


EDIT: oops, looks like you went ahead and fixed the machinery. However, you did it without first asking your new boss? That part I don't really understand. How hard would it have been to consult with him first?
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Old 05-25-2011, 10:46 PM   #102
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I used to do the whole overtime, work 7 days a week, take on everyone's problems kind of job. When a family crisis came up and I had to cut back on hours, I was accused of being less productive and was eventually threatened with job loss. I quit before that happened (after the boss told me he couldn't wait for my father to die so things could get back to normal in the office) and it took 4 people to replace me.

When I moved to this new job, I started on the same track but my new boss called me in and told me exactly what you said above. He refused to allow me to do overtime unless he specifically asked for it.

I had never looked at it that way. Now that I'm the boss, I say the same things to my staff.
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Old 05-25-2011, 11:41 PM   #103
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To avoid uncompensated overtime you have withheld this information. People are just focusing on this part - you withheld information. I personally think its understandable if your company has a history of asking people to work overtime without recognizing it somehow.
I guess this situation is a little complex to be trying to describe on an internet forum. Production is not actually down, just running slower than we would like. In the meeting you are asking about I did offer several suggestions (which I also volunteered unpaid overtime) to accomplish. What I didn't offer was another idea, which I considered the most obvious, which would also have addressed the problem. I thought it was noteworthy and interesting that this was also not mentioned by anyone else, and wondered what this meant for morale and general feelings about the new boss. In fact I have found out since then that 2 of them were planning to resign in days and they have now both quit.

What also is tricky to convey on the internet, is that this problem issue is in an entirely different part of the company and my group and my boss are not responsible for it. In fact we'd have to get special permission to go anywhere near there. Calling this "not my job" seems to be awkward, but it really isn't any part of what I or my group or my new boss are responsible for.

Finally, since the meeting ended with no action items and no plan, I privately talked to the machine operator and his boss and arranged to work (unpaid) on a possible fix over the weekend and possibly try it on Monday morning. After all the concern this generated on the forum, I realized I should be giving my new boss (who at that point was issuing edicts but still had not met with me) the benefit of the doubt and at least keep him informed what I was doing, even though I was in fact adhering to official policy and doing none of this during my official working hours, except the one meeting that he was also in. That discussion was short, but seemed to go fine. New boss really didn't seem to care what I did, as long as I stuck to my assigned job during work hours. Fix worked, at least for now, and I think I am not in the doghouse.

Quote:
I am willing to train someone to implement this solution during my normal working hours
This part would be a great idea, but unfortunately my previous attempts to explain how to do this programming (which I did do, although as unpaid overtime) were unsuccessful. We could of course try again, but I think it comes up too infrequently and the people are not interested enough to be successful.
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Old 05-26-2011, 01:59 AM   #104
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Hi growing_older! I feel like there's a lot of similarities between what's going on with my work right now and yours. I've had a lot of changes at work lately, and while they aren't as drastic as yours, there's a new change every few days that make work a little less enjoyable.
If our investments go well, I could have about 5 years left before FIRE. We definitely don't have enough now. I did sit down and really look at my finances, crunched some numbers, and realized what it would mean if I left my current job. I think it's good to know what shape you'd be in if you did leave today.
I also think it would be a good idea for you to do some job hunting if you don't know what the market is like for your skills. DH is a software engineer, and he has been bouncing around with temp jobs lately, but he's had a lot of interest and has been able to find positions relatively quickly.
Once you know what situation you would be in if you leave, it's a lot easier to evaluate the value of your current position.
I'm mostly just putting my head down and trying to make the best of it for a long as I can, while working on an idea for a side business, and having some plans in case things don't work out.
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Old 05-26-2011, 09:28 AM   #105
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None of us were there, and you know what happened at the meeting better than any of us do. We also are not as familiar with the organizational culture there as you are. This is a very complex situation. I would take what has been posted on this thread under consideration, but with a grain of salt.
Very, very true. Yet, what I find odd is that given that we are getting one side of the story, many of the responders here are backing the 'other side'. Usually it's the other way around, we hear the 'filtered' version and pity the poor story teller.

The OP should think long and hard about that. What if we heard the new boss's side also?


This juxtaposition has been bugging me enough to jump in again ( I clipped a bunch of quote snippets here):


Quote:
Originally Posted by growing_older

I routinely am working overtime already...

I'm not volunteering for extra unpaid overtime...

and

Of course I wasn't called into the meeting, I crashed it,...

I did crash this meeting...

This takes me back to my prior stance that you should be fired. From this I can see that you are a complainer. Nothing is ever right. You are complaining about working overtime, yet, you take the time to attend meeting that you are not invited to. Why, so you can complain that you attend too many meetings? What's worse:

Quote:
I cannot crash any meeting I like and insist on them hearing out all my suggestions for how everyone else should work. That would surely get me fired.
So what is the point of attending the meeting if you are not even going to offer a suggestion based on the info you heard in the meeting? That is a TOTAL waste of the company time AND your time. Did they have donuts? No wonder you have to work overtime! Sheesh.



Quote:
After all the concern this generated on the forum, I realized I should be giving my new boss (who at that point was issuing edicts but still had not met with me) the benefit of the doubt and at least keep him informed what I was doing,...

It is unfathomable to me that any experienced worker worth their salt would need input from random posters before they 'realize' that they should keep their boss informed of any potential fix they are going to perform on a customer critical issue, one that the boss pulled a bunch of people into a meeting to get solved. Unbelievable. What if your boss assigned someone to do that exact task, or had people researching it, or they were working on a another approach, and your efforts would actually conflict with this? Your boss is paid to MANAGE - he can't manage when people are doing projects w/o informing him. You are a rogue employee.

I'd wager that you are a drag on the company, one of those employees that takes up 10x the effort on a boss's workload than the average employee.


I'm also wondering if your old boss was really a good boss or not. Maybe he was weak and didn't reign you in, and you see this weakness and possible ineffectiveness as 'good' - for you, but not the company. Maybe the new management recognized this, and that's why he is gone?

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Old 05-26-2011, 11:05 PM   #106
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Thank you everyone for the honest, and in some cases, very forthright feedback. I think I am learning how difficult it is to convey nuances in situations which in some cases can make a world of difference in how that situation is perceived and interpreted. A good thing to remember, since the occasion of a new boss means that he will certainly have less history and background information, yet there is a chance he will feel a need to make decisions based on limited information he may have at hand. I hope I will be better at portraying a more focused positive case with him than I was here, where I was trying to explain background and motivation that would have no reasonable place in work conversations.

Meanwhile, I think Plan A for now is see if I can weather the current turmoil and still last a few more years of working here. If things turn badly, and there is a distinct possibility that they could based on the recent turnover and the limited information I have about the new boss, then I'll be prepared for Plan B. Plan B is contact old boss and see what opportunities he may have. He has a much larger group and they are actively hiring, so there's likely something there. With only 5 years of working left, I am reluctant to change jobs, but since 5 years is still longer than many people hold positions in technology I am not yet worried about taking a job as a short-timer. Plan C would be to update my resume and light up my network. If forced to Plan C, I would want to do it while still employed if possible (seeing many articles about hiring biases against people who are unemployed) but would be prepared to do a full on search in any case. I think I would like to reach my FIRE target with a few more years growth and savings if at all possible, before I consider a scaled back version of ER. I guess that makes that Plan D, if I cannot find work in a reasonable time. That's never happened to me, but I know it has happened to other people who were not expecting it, so best be prepared for the possibility.
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Old 05-26-2011, 11:25 PM   #107
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IMHO always keep your resume fresh and network with your former collegues while doing the best work you can for your current employer. Their situations may not be great either but the only way you will know is to keep in touch.
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Old 05-27-2011, 08:30 AM   #108
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I think you need to move on, and sooner rather than later.

You clearly have no respect for your new boss and his boss, and secretly harbour many resentments about the company. Whether your perspective is actually warranted or not is essentially unimportant; what matters is that life is too short to spend the next five years in an embittered condition. You are not trapped, you have other options.

You clearly admire old boss, and believe that he is currently hiring. That may not be the case one or two years down the road (people retire, move away, die, etc.). Why not activate Plan B immediately?


Something is holding you to your current company, but it's unclear - possibly even to you - what it is. I suggest that you do some thinking about that:
  • if it's merely inertia, give yourself a kick in the behind;
  • if there are some important positives about your current employer, acknowledge that and you will be able to focus on those rather than the negatives.
A couple of parting thoughts:

Quote:
Originally Posted by growing_older View Post
I am certainly resentful that I have a new boss with no input to the process at all. Many places this would be the norm, but this particular company makes a big deal about how cooperative and inclusive all our processes are. Thinking back over the last few years, I cannot think of another example anywhere in the company where a new boss was hired without involving team members in some way.
Sounds like a pretty unique situation. I suspect you'll have substantial difficulty finding alternative employment that provides you with any significant opportunity to vet your immediate supervisor.

Quote:
Originally Posted by growing_older View Post
I think what I resent most of all, is the last few years of building up rapport and earning the support of my old boss are now all gone.
What can I say, except "life isn't fair".

The only way to remedy this particular complaint is to contact old boss and see if he has a position for you at his new workplace. If he doesn't, or if you prefer to stay where you are, stop crying over spilt milk: it's a waste of time and energy.

Good luck with whatever you decide.
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Old 05-27-2011, 11:59 AM   #109
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Thank you everyone for the honest, and in some cases, very forthright feedback. I think I am learning how difficult it is to convey nuances in situations which in some cases can make a world of difference in how that situation is perceived and interpreted.
On the contrary, I think you communicated those nuances clearly. If you don't agree with the suggestions of forum members, it does not necessarily mean that we didn't understand what you wrote.

Good luck with your decision.
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Old 05-27-2011, 03:39 PM   #110
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I'm glad things are smoothing out for you. In fact, being taken out for lunch by the boss is a step in the right direction.

All that being said, it might be time to look for a new job for the simple reason that it would be an adrenaline rush. It would be a tremendous ego boost to see if you can still compete on the open market. It's easy to get stuck in a rut when you're close to retirement - a new job might give you just the mental uplift you need to survive the next 4 or 5 years pre-retirement.

And if you can't find a new job, you'll appreciate your old one even more.
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Old 05-28-2011, 12:09 AM   #111
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I'm glad things are smoothing out for you. In fact, being taken out for lunch by the boss is a step in the right direction.
When i I took an employee out to lunch, it was usually a "put up or shut up" situation. If I wanted to "thank" an employee, I took them & their peers out for beers (I also let it drop who was responsible for the free beer).
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Old 05-28-2011, 06:35 AM   #112
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Boy, I would have completely missed your message! I like beer in its place, but "being taken out for beer" by the boss doesn't strike me as classy. I like being taken out to lunch and always consider it a compliment (unless it's a cr@ppy place).

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When i I took an employee out to lunch, it was usually a "put up or shut up" situation. If I wanted to "thank" an employee, I took them & their peers out for beers (I also let it drop who was responsible for the free beer).
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Old 05-28-2011, 10:24 AM   #113
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When i I took an employee out to lunch, it was usually a "put up or shut up" situation.
If that is supposed to be some kind of boss code, I have completely misunderstood the lunch invitation. He mostly tried to introduce himself and ask me for history and ideas about how the place runs, especially in light of the recent turnover. He seemed like he was genuinely looking for useful information.
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Old 05-28-2011, 10:58 AM   #114
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This has been a fascinating thread. I would suggest to the OP he start searching for a job. I don't see the lunch invite as a definite positive sign. With so much of the original staff gone, boss needs to keep who has remained...for the short term, but not necessarily long term.
Like many others, I don't get positive vibes from OP, and if that is such a common response from us strangers, I'm sure it's similar in OP's management. From a financial perspective, you might hold on to your job for 6-12 months. Hunker down, keep your nose clean, and if the ax falls maybe you can get a respectable severance package that combined with unemployment can bridge you to ER.
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Old 05-28-2011, 12:13 PM   #115
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kumquat
When i I took an employee out to lunch, it was usually a "put up or shut up" situation.
If that is supposed to be some kind of boss code, I have completely misunderstood the lunch invitation. He mostly tried to introduce himself and ask me for history and ideas about how the place runs, especially in light of the recent turnover. He seemed like he was genuinely looking for useful information.
OK, I've jumped on the OP a couple times with both feet in this thread, so I'm going to back him up on this one.

Just because kumquat used the lunch in that way (and it may have been appropriate for the circumstance), doesn't mean the new boss is doing the same in this case. From the description, it makes sense to me the new boss could be genuine in trying to build a relationship and solutions. I would be.

I think there is hope for growing_older in this place. We can't know, maybe it is toxic, but these re-orgs also open opportunities. IMO, if growing_older opens up and leverages a relationship with this new boss, and can offer real solutions and try to balance that with some adjustments to his other responsibilities it can be a win-win-win. It is very tough for the new boss. He's trying to figure out which employees are an asset, which are liabilities, who he can trust, etc. It's a land mine field for him.

Something like 'hey boss, I think I have some real insights and experience on how to improve situation X, but I really need some relief from my duties Y and Z to give X the attention it needs.'

Now, if you can choose wisely, and X is important to your boss, is relatively easy/enjoyable for you, and/or a success adds to your value, and/or dumping Y and Z is a real relief, there are all sorts of potential good to come out of this. I think you just have to turn your attitude around from one where you're seeing the problems and instead seek out the opportunities.

OTOH, it might be best to get the hell out ASAP! Only you can read the tea leaves over there.

Good luck!


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Old 05-28-2011, 01:20 PM   #116
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Tough, hip-shootin' crowd around here.


Most of us have a hard enough time figuring out social signals person to person; how can we understand them with such clarity long distance and through another's eyes?


I will say that OP is amazingly tolerant of being dissed by "helpful" forum members. This alone should be a big plus in his job suitablitity rating.

Ha
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Old 05-28-2011, 01:33 PM   #117
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...........I will say that OP is amazingly tolerant of being dissed by "helpful" forum members. This alone should be a big plus in his job suitability rating...........
+1
I'm amazed at the tone of some forum members. What ever happened to empathy?
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Old 05-28-2011, 01:53 PM   #118
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+1
I'm amazed at the tone of some forum members. What ever happened to empathy?
Empathy can run a business right into the ground.

I'm not empathetic. I'm not even sympathetic. I've worked around people who think they know everything, submarine the boss, and adversely impact morale.

As for the lunch thing. Since we only know the OP's spin on it.... it could be the boss was trying to find out how much of a situation he would have on hand if he kept the OP in his employ.
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Old 05-28-2011, 02:26 PM   #119
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Empathy can run a business right into the ground............
Thanks for straightening me out. I was thinking that this was a forum for like minded and caring people sharing life's issues.
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Old 05-28-2011, 03:28 PM   #120
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Well, then, let's try this.

Poor OP. The workplace is terrible because he didn't have any say on picking his boss. I understand why he crashes meetings - because the people in the meetings are so clueless about the business it was up to him to save the place. He is such a valuable employee, after just two years, that the new bosses take him to lunch and tell him how much they value his input into running the business.

It's no wonder he's changed his story throughout this thread because the details were too difficult to manage. We were just too dumb to follow his evolving story.

Feel better now? He'll be looking for a job within three months.
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