Re-reorganization at work

(The category Devenbert is a tip of the hat to Dilbert)

Work has been insane of late. Earlier this week, the newest boss announced that he wants to reorganize the way our organization is organized. (His words, I swear!!) Specifically he wants to move personnel work assignments to a “competency based model”.

We have been through reorganizations before. Actually, we were still in the midst of reorganization when this latest announcement arrived. We have been reorganizing for three years straight, and this is the forth or maybe fifth different organizational strategy that has been attempted. Well… this is the second attempt at using a “competency based model”.

As I understand it, I will get labeled with some words that will define my competency. Then, whenever I am done with a project I will be assigned to a new project that needs my competency. The sheer stupidity of this makes me sputter when I try to talk about it. I’ll try not to get any spittle on the screen. I don’t care how you slice it, computer software development is not assembly line work. It took me three years to grasp the complexity of the current software package I am working on and I am a very bright guy. You just can’t plug in a new person and expect them to have the same corporate knowledge as someone that has been on the team for years. (I digress)

What is my competency? No one can tell me. The last time we went through this, the pointy haired bosses made the grand decision to ask the employees to state their own competency definition. I and many other senior employees that happen to have many competencies refused to pick just one.

Of course, you know what happened. Those employees that have no grounding in reality, picked competencies for themselves that they have no experience in. One gentleman that can’t think his way out of a virtual wet bag chose to be an “administrative supervisor” and he got the position. Another person, a brand new hire that happened to have just finished Project Management Professional (PMP) training, chose “senior project manager” and got the position, having zero real life experience. I became a “developer”, which means I could no longer analyze or design software. I could only code software that had been “analyzed” by an analyst and “designed” by a designer.

Why couldn’t I have just chosen a competency? Which one do I choose? I have been a project manager, off and on, for about fifteen years. For all of those years and several more to boot, I have been a senior software deleloper/analyst/designer. Frequently I have been a technical writer, a systems hardware designer, an administrative supervisor (I have signed the timecards for the entire department of 100+ people when the boss was on leave!!), a project planner, budget specialist, a customer support staffer, and networking geek.

Whenever a job needed to be done, I did it. I have installed patches, delivered mail and even mopped up the restroom when the toilet overflowed. I have competencies out the wazoo. And I am not the only one. The vast majority of my co-workers that have been around for more than 15 years have also been cross trained and are very competent at many important tasks. Yet, we were told to pick one. ONE!

Oh, they told us that we would get the opportunity improve ourselves and to ask to be moved to another competency after we obtained the proper training. Which means, for example, that instead of looking at my personnel folder and seeing that I have been a damn good project manager with letters of appreciation by folks from San Francisco to Washington DC, all they are looking for is to see if I have shelled out a few thousand dollars to attend a project management professional (PMP) certified workshop, so that I can dangle those PMP letters to the right of my signature. I guess my BSCs from Ohio University isn’t good enough anymore.

I have never seen morale this low at work. Though likely fake the following quote sums it all up:

We trained hard . . . but it seemed that every time we were beginning to form up into teams we would be reorganized. I was to learn later in life that we tend to meet any new situation by reorganizing; and a wonderful method it can be for creating the illusion of progress while producing confusion, inefficiency, and demoralization.
~Petronius Arbiter, 210 B.C.

I think this time around I will claim “patch installer” as my new competency. I’d go for “mop guy”, but I telecommute and they might catch on that I can’t do that from 400 miles away. From “patch installer” I could move up to “senior patch installer” if I show enough grit, determination, enthusiasm and shell out for the proper training. I have only eight years, seven months and a day to reach that goal before I can retire. If I procrastinate enough, I just might not make it!! Yippee!!


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