Monday, June 24, 2013

Time To Move On

There comes a moment in every job when you know it is the right time to move onto a fresh new challenge. In my case, the penny dropped on Wednesday 12th December 2012 at precisely 14:23 (GMT). Our team received a notification from the senior global director (based over in Redmond, Seattle) on the next step of the Incentive Compensation journey. Unfortunately for some twenty of us, we were being told our destination was only eighteen months away. All our roles and those of sister teams in Asia and America were all being relocated to Chennai (formerly known under the colonial name of Madras) in the outsourcing capital of the planet, India. The clock was well and truly ticking. Short term meanwhile, we would have a new boss and be working in a slightly different way for a different company, effectively keep an old bespoke system running until the new system was put in place for FY15 (Fiscal Year 2015 - July 2014 to June 2015).

It took me over six months to finally find a path out but ultimately I am thankful I was able to secure a permanent full time position. I handed in my notice on Friday 14th June but gave the exceptional five weeks notice. There were a few reasons for me to give the extra five days grace to my employer. Firstly I was leaving at the crucial end of year payout period, the busiest period in the year with a strict deadline to meet. Secondly I did not want to leave with work unfinished and in an ideal world actually hand over some knowledge to other members of the Operations Team. We have to remain professional throughout our careers, even if in reality you want to book all remaining eight days of holiday and effectively give just two weeks notice.

As you can imagine, turnover has been extremely high since January 14th (the effective first day of our new contract with a new employer). While it has been hard to say goodbye to some good friends, I have been pleased that they have been able to find new opportunities elsewhere. The prevailing thought in the back of my mind, as we said farewell to yet another long serving experienced worker, was when will it be my turn? With such a high turnover of staff, new starters have been joining on a regular basis. Some good, some not so much.

The recruitment process for any firm has to be rigorous, more so for a team in global transition as we have tight deadlines and no space for water carriers. When I joined the firm, I had to undertake a timed Excel test under exam conditions on a laptop with no internet access. Had I failed the test, I would have been politely told to go home and failed to have the opportunity to perform in a face to face interview.

Unsure of the reasons but the Excel Test was now sent to candidates to their personal e-mail address at home for them to complete in their own time. While still requiring to be completed in thirty minutes, being completely unsupervised, it is impossible to confirm with any degree of certainty if the potential employee has completed the test without any outside guidance. If they passed the test, how could we be sure they would cope in the pressurized office environment with weekly if not daily deadlines.

I strongly believe that no matter how long (or little) you spend in a job, you should aim to have made a difference. To have changed processes, to have improved performance, to provide a better service to the end customer. I feel in my rather short career history, I have fulfilled this aim. However, with my role here at the biggest software manufacturer in the world, I feel I am leaving a little earlier than perhaps I should. Yes, I have achieved a great deal but I felt I could have achieved so much more. Such a shame that my career ambitions have taken me elsewhere. The reality is though I have achieved a lifelong ambition. To work for a company that everybody knows. To work for a company that advertises on not just television, but the cinema, on billboards and in the press.

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