Tuesday, July 19, 2005

The organisation is dead 

I’d better apologise up front. This is little more than a rant, perhaps as much against myself as it is against anything else. I just wanted to get it out of my system and try and move on.

The organisation is dead; long live the organisation.

Much as I detest and despise this job, I’ve learned to live with it, after a fashion, and now that it’s under threat I realise how much my identity is tied up with it and feels under threat also.

The new order however has fewer seats in it than the old order, and we are required to play a game of musical chairs. We vacate our seats, dance to the corporate tune, and when the music stops some of us will be without.

I understand the rationale behind what they’re doing, I just doubt their competence to plan and implement these changes; they’re just playing games with the organisation, treating it like a toy. That didn’t work; let’s try this instead. The manner of their communications shows a crass and complete lack of comprehension of the impact that their plans have on the human souls that sit ranked in front of them.

I’ve been here before, but on that occasion the whole thing was done and dusted in 6 months – plans set, announcements made, 2,500 people – including me - on the way to being got rid of, and a new structure up and running all within those 6 months. This time round, all that’s been achieved in 6 months is an outline plan of a new structure, yet to be fully agreed, and no firm plans yet laid for its implementation, which is expected to take 2 – 3 years. That rate of thinking and action doesn’t bode well for a rapid, decisive response to an ever-changing business environment.

In a division whose mission is to drive leading-edge technology into the rest of the rest of the organisation, what place will there be for a technologist whose faith in technology died long ago?

In some ways, I’d love to put my hand up and say: Yes, I’ll go; I’ll take voluntary redundancy. That way I’d escape working for an organisation in which I no longer believe or can place my trust; I wouldn’t have to feign interest in matters that bore me rigid, wouldn’t have to cover up my woeful lack of technical knowledge. I could stop forcing myself to be a square peg in a round hole. I could stop pretending to be someone else, the effort of which leaves me exhausted and empty at the end of every working day.

But what else could I do? How would I pay the bills? I have no career dream I want to make come true, no enterprise I’ve secretly been planning in my fantasies; indeed, I have no fantasies.

This is what really gets to me: I have the opportunity to pack in a job that leaves me cold, and go and do something new, but instead I’m likely to choose to join everyone else in an undignified scramble to secure one of the new jobs in the new outfit, simply because I can’t conceive of a viable alternative. That hurts.

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