Monday, August 29, 2005
FED Files - Volume IX
Few things in this world can rouse up a normally inert FED like getting a new boss. Nothing provokes more emotion or unpredicted outbursts of anger than the new boss's rules. After years of sitting in the same office with the same people and drinking out of the same coffee mugs, these people will give up everything (but the aforementioned coffee mug) for a position in a different office with a boss that they've known since kindergarten. Once the office is gutted from all the experienced employees, the directorate then offers lateral movement (and sometimes - though rarely - upward movement) to the rest of agency. Within days other disgruntled employees disman their previous posts to fill the openings in the newly gutted office, whereby gutting their own offices. If a large enough office gets a new boss, this can cause such an upheaval as an unplanned reorganization.
For several years now, my office (the hazardous waste disposal branch) has been a peaceful office where everyone knows everyone else's birthdays, children, and coffee preferences. They've all sat in the exact same location since the last planned reorganization several years ago. Their only struggles are putting up with Marny* who talks nonstop to her crazy girl friends about her crazy life, and Kevin* who has the tendency to be a bit bossy. However, a new boss was introduced to the hazardous waste disposal branch. She has implemented new time and attendance rules which no longer allow for the 'come whenever, leave whenever' policy we've been accustom to.
Since hire (in the middle of July), our new boss has managed to whittle down our once large office of eight permanent employees and three interns down to a lean three permanents, three interns. Here's the demographics for the five that abandoning ship:
- Two females
- Three males
- Four are married
- One widowed
- One is retiring
- Two are laterally moving into a new position within the building
- One is joining our agency's contingency support team in Iraq
- One is transferring to one of our Asian locations
So, our large office is down by five warm bodies. The want-ads are sure to fly. Five openings can cause a raucous across the building. Probably nearly 100 people will see the want-ad and will be reminded how much they dislike their current positions and will not only apply for the opening in our office but also any other openings that will provide them an "out" of their own offices. You can plainly see how this could have a domino effect.
My opinion is that it's a conspiracy. After our last reorganization (followed by a RIF - Reduction in Force) our work-force is a little exhausted of being "forced" into new positions by management. So now management is getting smart. They no longer "force" their employees into a reorg, nor do they "force" their employees to transfer, but they sure have a knack of making them willing to go.
I'm certain that they had a meeting a couple of months ago and said, "How do we implement a new reorg without looking like the bad guys....." And then someone had an epiphany. "Ah! I know! Let's hire someone mean for one of our biggest offices. Those people will then bail and we can get new people in there, and then we'll get new people for those openings, and so-forth and so-on until everyone is doing a new job." And that's just what they've done.
*Names have been changed for the privacy of the above parties.