December 29, 2012

Looking Again

I cannot believe that I am saying this, but I am actively looking for a job - again! Oh, how I wish it weren't true -- I really wanted to stay put this time -- and I so hoped that CVS Caremark would be the place I could stay for a long while.

I made the decision to change jobs last weekend, after a brutal week at work where I suffered the ongoing assault of disgruntled clients and account managers. It wasn't my fault, of course, but the target on my back (and those of the other analysts) was the VISUAL needed to aim their frustration. I had been told to expect this level of frustration when I was hired back in September. I was told that it would be this way, and while I understood, and even knew it was coming -- I just didn't expect it to be so vehemently nasty. I can handle disgruntled customers, and while I don't like having to soothe ruffled feathers, and play nicey-nice, I do it when it serves the greater good. I was prepared for having to soothe feathers. I was open to being the calm and resonant voice of reason. I wasn't prepared to be thrown to the lions, and to be clawed at by the vultures swooping over head. No, I don't lay exposed that way for any company, for any reason or for any purpose.

The big reason for my decision to leave, despite the not-so-nice playground behavior, is the way the company, and more specifically management, has handled the implementation of a new print vendor. The vendor, while I am sure was a recommended, and highly respected firm, has not been able to do the work promised. Senior Management made the decision to switch vendors during the busiest time of year, our Welcome Season. They instituted new policy, new ways of handling business, new ways of creating templates -- the entire system was changed -- right at the start of October. This led, of course, to major issues, many of which remain unresolved.

I don't fault the workers at this vendor site, nor do I fault the consultants who have given hours and hours of time to try and make this implementation work. I simply fault the person who made the decision to go ahead and change the most critical part of our process so late in the year -- when billions of dollars are on the line, and when tempers flare hottest, and when it "matters" that every detail is covered, and every single requirement met. This is the person or group of people I fault most. These are the ones who sat smugly at internal meetings and assured the team that everything would be well, and that come January 1, our company and our clients would all be smiling and happy as campers.

Unfortunately, it was made very clear on Wednesday, that the printer was down -- and by that _- I mean simply out of business, unable to produce the materials needed in time for January 1. Moreover, they (or someone in power) made the decision to stop production and send temporary materials (like a printed one page document -- that we could have printed internally, and mailed out weeks ago) instead of the expected welcome letters and cards. This decision has not gone over lightly, it has been accepted because at the least account managers can deliver on some thing, and look the client in the face and say they produced "a product," if not the one the client agreed upon.

It is a sad business, a very sad business to see this come to pass. The analysts with whom I work, and specifically those who have been in their jobs two or more years, saw this impending crash and burn. Back in October, they raised concerns. In November, they asked about various scenarios (specialized print requirements), and then in December, they complained about lack of reporting tools (critical to what we do daily), and lack of data to let them know the status of print production requests. The light was fading, the process was chaotic, and the team in place to handle the issues seemed to be running around with band aids, patching here and there, but not healing the gaping wound.

The rumor in the wind is that we may all lose our jobs, even those of us who have done nothing but worked our little backsides off, 10-12 hours a day, solving major problems and concerns. Moreover, I have heard via a well-informed team member that there is a big meeting scheduled mid-January, supposedly to let us know what is going on or what is planned (as in action). My concern of course is that it will be communication too late -- that this sort of communication needed to go out to us (internally) to apprise us of the details of the failure when we could have acted upon it. Now two weeks after the fact, this meetings leads me to believe it is a "heads will roll" type of sum up. This could mean "you are out" or it could mean "we are changing plans." I don't know. I don't know if I want to know. I don't know if I want to be around to hear the news.

I have given my best to this company. I have put in my hours, and I have kept a good face on. I have done everything asked of me. I decided over Christmas that this wasn't how I wanted to spend my days. I need a job, don't get me wrong. I need to make money to live on. It is more that I am committed to the fact that I do not want to live with the stress of this kind of work, the failure of management to act, and the lack of communication (in essence letting us get bitten and chewed on while someone up there sits back and says "Oh this is not good, no this is not good.")

I don't have a lot of options right now. I need to work, so for the short-term my plans are to stay put, to see what comes of this debacle and to hope for the best. I did decide to stop the long hours. There is nothing I can do now that will make any difference. I work problem-resolution, and since the vendor cannot resolve these problems, I am at a loss to do anything productive. I can pull reports, and I can check whether cards were ordered. I cannot tell anyone whether cards have mailed or will mail. More so, given the fact that I know that printing is down, no cards are shipping out over 1/1, there is no point in trying to push or maneuver to the top of the line. No, I can only continue to give an "I don't know" response. I feel unproductive, inefficient, and as though I have failed in my job.

I don't like this feeling, and I don't like the fact that I have had to be dishonest (not intentionally). I do not like that by association I am part of the problem. I don't like being in this kind of position, and being at the end of a pointing finger.

So with that said, I am actively looking for another job. I am not sure what to do, or what kind of work I should seek, I just know that the next job has to provide the following to me:
  • Competitive salary and benefits (what I am making now)
  • Flexible schedule to allow for my studies at Regent (normal work hours are fine)
I cannot live on less than what I made at UOPX. I need at least that amount, if not what I am making now (which works out to about $200 more each pay period). I need some benefit package, though I consider this the least of my concerns right now. I need steady work, with good hours. My schooling will be online, but I don't know if I will have to attend a video course or be available during the week to speak with professors, etc. I don't think so. I think my online courses will be like Mercy -- asynchronous with set due dates, but not requirements for when to login each day. I will need 20 hours free each week to study. This is the minimum expected and I spent about this much time on Masters level work at Mercy. I am thinking it will be the same at Regent.

Any job that fits that criteria is OK. I am not going to be as picky about the work fitting me personally or about the drive (commute) or the environment. I don't care about those things anymore. I need work so I can live, and it has to not consume my time so I can devote that to the Lord's work (school for me).

Dear Lord,

I understand now that CVS Caremark offered a job that was a good fit for me personally. It was the kind of work I liked doing -- analytical, reporting, and data manipulation. It was just not meant to be the job for my career or life. It was a good job, a change from the grind at UOPX. Now, I need a job that fits YOU, and that works with YOUR PLAN for my life. I need to know that the next job or series of jobs are good fits for what you have in mind for me. I am ready to let go of my needs, my desires, and my wants, and choose instead to follow after what you want. I ask now that you provide a new job for me to go to in January. I would like to leave as soon as I can give notice, and go to a job that is less stressful, and more aligned with your design for my life. I ask that you provide whatever position you think is best, and I will accept it knowing that it is your choice for my life. I thank you, Lord, for your constant provision and for always looking out for me and making changes to better me, not to hurt me. Thank you, Lord, for your grace and mercy. I pray this now in the Name of Jesus, Amen. So be it, thy will be done. Selah! (pause, and calmly think about that!!)

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