September 14, 2012

Last Day at UOPX

The day has finally arrived -- I cannot believe that today is my last day working for the University of Phoenix! I am excited to be moving on, but sad to be leaving all the great friends I have met over the past fifteen months. God has been amazing to me, bringing me such wonderful coworkers, and giving me the opportunity to be cared for and now missed. WOW! I am blown away by His Gracious Generosity and Compassion towards me.

As I consider my last day, I think back to my first day some fifteen months ago. I started on July 25, 2011 with about 25 other new hire advisors. Those first three weeks were hilarious. We were told by our trainer that our class was special, that she had never had a bunch of new hires who were so fun to be around. We laughed, we mocked, and generally we acted like a bunch of high schoolers. Out of that class, only 23 moved on to actual placements within the company (two dropped for personal reasons).

Since that time, about half of my original group have left the company. Some early on, and some recently. I think there are about fifteen who still work at UOPX. I guess it is to be expected. This job is not for everyone, and lately, with all the pressure to produce and remain active, the stress has increased.

In my building, advisors are being let go daily, mostly for performance related issues, but some for failing to account for the time or misusing their time (changing time cards, not logging in/out, etc.) It seems extreme, but Arizona is an at-will state and that means that companies can fire you for any reason or no reason at all.

The chopping block has seen all levels, so not just advisors, but also managers. I was talking with a friend who said that before I started, so back in 2010, there were 900 advisors in our division (Northeast). 700 were let go in November 2010. From August 2011-September 2012, another 100 have either left or been terminated. At last count, I believe there are more like 200 actual advisors. I am not sure what the plan is (on management's part), but if they are downsizing due to the economy, they are going to end up with a shortage of advisors.

In my group, Healthcare, we have been told that they plan to keep 26 advisors. I think this is a lot right now, and if they reduced the core group down to 20, the group would be more productive. Perhaps they will do this, shift people around. In our group, most everyone is a solid producer, and most do follow the guidelines for availability, etc.

Well, I am very glad to be leaving today. Even though I was a top producer, I didn't like the pressure to be active. I also didn't like the micromanagement to enforce activity. I understand that my employer can make decisions based on what they feel is best for the company -- but this style of management doesn't work well for me.

So today will be my last day at this employer. I had such high hopes for working here. I wanted to remain in higher education, to move up into a manager/director position, to complete my doctorate here. I wanted so much to stay and be a part of this University -- but now I see that this was not the plan the Lord had for me. While I have made great friends, I have come to see the work here for what it is, and while I understand about sales/marketing and enrollment -- I realize that I am designed for different work.

My new job will be very different, and I am hopeful that it will provide additional opportunities for me to grow and develop into a manager/director. Perhaps it will, perhaps it won't. One thing is for sure -- I will be doing a different kind of work, and I will no longer have to count my dials and punch out every time I have to go pee!

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