Friday, July 19, 2013

All Good Things Come To An End

I am feeling very much mixed emotions as I leave Microsoft today. I was sad to be saying goodbye to some good friends but first and foremost, good people. These are the people that have been with me on the journey over the past two years. The highs and the lows. However, in December last year we were informed that our jobs were effectively being outsourced to India. The only saving grace was the fact that we had two years to find alternative employment elsewhere. The next stop was Chennai, and I had no desire to be on that plane or train (even if relocation had been an option, which of course it was not). As you can imagine, some members of the team took this better than others. Some of the older members of the team with family and long term financial commitments were worried. I was looking on the positive side. After all, in many similar situations you do not get the generous notice period of twenty four months to find a new permanent position. However in the short term there were going to be changes and while my wife would say, "the only constant in life is change", this change was a leap into the unknown.

We all knew that our jobs would not last forever. This is the whole idea behind contracting, the ability to switch people to different roles or disband them all together and relocate your entire function offshore. Perhaps we all got too comfortable and were just rather shocked by the news, thirteen calendar days before Christmas. Stability is important for everybody, no matter their station in life. The Operations Team had been relatively stable over the past eighteen months with only one departure in that period. That changed almost overnight with ten leavers in just over a month. We were saying goodbye to an experienced member of the team every week. By mid May the make-up of the team had completely changed with many new starters and only a handful of the original team remaining - many of whom had started a long time before me.

Many years ago when I took the first steps in my humble career I had one goal. To work for not just the biggest companies in the world but leaders in their field, the innovators, the trend setters. I have achieved this goal in recent years, working for the leading technologies companies of our age. With Intel and now Microsoft on my CV, many doors will open. People did ask me why I decided to leave a permanent position at Intel, to take up a contract position at Microsoft. One of my previous managers had said to me, that when considering any role, think long term. Will your next job you have an offer for, help you secure the job after that. I knew with a tech giant, household brand on my CV, securing the next position, even in this rather difficult climate would be ever so slightly easier. While the story ends here rather abruptly and the dream of a blue badge role never materialised, I feel I made a difference and had a positive affect on both the people around me and the organisation as a whole. I feel I also tried hard to secure a role within the organisation long term, by applying for over forty roles within the UK and the US but to no avail. As my Dad would often say to me, when another rejection was received in the post (or via e-mail in recent times), "Their loss, son!"

Probably for the first time in half a decade, I will be keeping in touch with a small group of my work colleagues. Many live in (or just outside) Slough, so there will be no difficulty keeping in touch but ultimately we became good friends outside of work over the course of my time here. This was perhaps the reason to disband the team was so difficult to swallow. We had just reached the point that everybody was getting on extremely well and performing their duties with the utmost diligence. Nevertheless, I am sure I will see them on a regular basis, many have already left and two ex-colleagues even made a guest appearance for lunch today.

It was a great relief to leave the building, having signed off all of my outstanding CRM cases and re-conciliations to a colleague, hand my badge to my manager and walk out the revolving door for the last time! I took a long deep sigh, one adventure had come to a close and a new adventure would begin in earnest on Monday morning. Nothing lasts forever but it was great while it lasted. I will take away some great memories with some great people at this place. Did I live the dream? No, not quite but I grew to understand the dream was possible, just not here and most importantly not here right now.

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