Corrente

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Outsourced!

madamab's picture
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Correntians, I hope you'll indulge me in my tale of woe today. Although it seems strange, I, though already a contractor, was outsourced yesterday. It happened like this:

I've been working at this firm since December of 2008. I was brought in as a part-timer, which was fine for me then. I was still struggling to find a career direction. My job, as I understood it, was to develop the pitifully under-used SharePoint Intranet, to work with the business community to encourage them to share information and documents through that collaborative resource. And, I did it. Boy, did I do it - including developing custom SharePoint applications that are now being used by the entire region (about 1000 people). And, I discovered something: I loved my job. It was terrifically interesting, and it allowed me to do so many different things, from web design to documentation to analyzing and automating business processes (oddly enough, I like that the best).

But something was wrong. Although I first went to four days a week, then finally full-time as my duties piled up, no offer was forthcoming. I was stuck in a strange contractor limbo. I tried for several months to find out what was happening. Never in my decades in the work force had I experienced anything like this: a supervisor who thought I was fabulous, but a hiring manager who basically ignored my existence, only giving me direction when he needed me to bail him out of some mess he had gotten himself into. Not only that, but when an offer was finally tendered, it was an absolute insult - a salary I hadn't made for about ten years, and tens of thousands below the standard for my job description. I was given no real explanation for the odd disconnect between my job performance (which was greatly appreciated by many of the high mucky-mucks in the company) and seniority, and the lack of regard my hiring manager appeared to have for me.

Yesterday, I found out the answer.

It turns out that my hiring manager has a concept of what he wants the department to be. This concept is far more important than the reality of what is happening in that department, of course. The bottom line is, he doesn't want a full-time SharePoint developer in our department; and, he already has a group that develops applications for him. So, he is going to take everything away from me and outsource it all to that group. This group does not know our Intranet, does not know how to create our documentation or do any web design, and as far as I know, does not do SharePoint development. In other words, everything I did, including the system I designed for the entire region, is now going to be given to a group that will do the job I do off-site, without critical skills or key contacts, for much, much, MUCH more money. Is this an awesome business decision, or what? Oh, and the big, big migration I've been working on for months? It's supposed to be completed by August 31st. I'm leaving August 20th. Oh well!

I can't wait to tell all the mucky-mucks, and everyone who is using the system I created, that I've just been shitcanned for literally NO REASON AT ALL. I am going to happily be reciting my hiring manager's extension for the next few weeks, while I finish up whatever I can finish in that short amount of time. I am quite sure that he will be getting more than one irate phone call.

And, although my pride is hurt, it's a huge relief to know why the whole situation felt so wrong for so long...and you know it's time to go when you're terminated and the first thing you think is, "Thank God."

Anyone need a SharePoint Intranet Developer, by the way? If you know of any jobs for me in New York, please send me a private message and I'll email you my resume.

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Stirling Newberry's picture
Submitted by Stirling Newberry on

You'll have no trouble finding a position soon enough.

They just invited you to find a better position.

madamab's picture
Submitted by madamab on

I just saw in the elevator at work that Microsoft reported a 48% profit this past quarter.

Guess what launched this past quarter?

SharePoint 2010.

Yup, my boss is an idiot.

dblhelix's picture
Submitted by dblhelix on

it appears you will be spending no time training your replacement. I know people who received their notices w/ final x days contingent on training their replacement from overseas. Very uncomfortable situation, esp since the workers from abroad tend to be friendly and pleasant, so any anger is misdirected.

Best of luck to you. I'm guessing you'll find something new soon.

madamab's picture
Submitted by madamab on

My supervisor explicitly told my boss that I would not be training my replacement(s). These people are not overseas, though, and they charge much more than I do. It's very, very strange.

The latest spin is that they feel I've done such a good job that they don't need a full-time person any more. I told the HR person that they were wrong, and that this decision is a horrible one and that it was going to cause a lot of problems.

I am in the middle of several regional projects that will now languish and die, for no reason at all. And several bigwigs have already expressed their extreme dissatisfaction with the decision. (One said, "Who do I strangle?" Figuratively, of course.)

They hired me to build up Intranet use, and now that it's getting a lot of use and positive attention, they're getting rid of the position.

I don't get it.

dblhelix's picture
Submitted by dblhelix on

it could be a 'special' relationship b/t the decision-maker and the outside group.

There's nothing that says the outside group isn't off-shoring, btw. You'd be surprised.

cenobite's picture
Submitted by cenobite on

having worked in IT for over 20 years, is:

They hired me to build up Intranet use, and now that it's getting a lot of use and positive attention, they're getting rid of the position.

That's why.

You're a direct threat to the existing IT department. Also, if I'm reading this correctly, you have the favor of people senior to IT management without their direct involvement. This is a big pain in the butt for the incumbent IT management -- they have to keep explaining why their projects aren't getting done as fast or with as much positive user feedback as yours.

You were in competition with the whole rest of the IT department and beating them.

They can't just terminate you because the rest of the company likes what you're doing and would work against it. So, instead, "we're enhancing the intranet program with more flexible staff resources!" which is the usual doubletalk, like:

Zim: I helped put the fires out!
Purple Tallest: You made the fires worse!
Zim: Worse... or better?

madamab's picture
Submitted by madamab on

Good grief, cenobite. That is exactly what happened. And it didn't even occur to me for one second. My jaw is on the floor!

In my next job I will just have to work for more competent, less insecure people. I can't be bothered to dumb myself down just because their teeny tiny penii shrivel up when I walk in the door. (Yes, of course they're men. Did you even need to ask? The group will be woman-free when I leave.)

Lambert, I have long suspected a "special" relationship between my hiring manager and this group. I think you nailed it too. It's all about the kickbacks, baybee. If I really cared I could probably look into it, but I just can't be bothered. Karma will sort them out.

Anglachel's picture
Submitted by Anglachel on

I doubt there is an explicit kick-back between the manager and the external group, but there may be a good friend (current/ex flame, college buddy, drinking buddies, etc.) in the outsource group. Kick-backs are too easy to track. My guess is a dash of misogyny mixed with a mention from the outsource group buddy that they are looking for SP projects was enough. That kind of internal politics you won't be able to battle.

As for the IT angle, I'd be careful making assumptions. Yes, some IT depts. will try to smother you if you are a challenge, but, given a hot technology like SP, more will try to steal you away, especially if you come with a reduced price tag. Internal IT skill raids are big these days in larger companies.

So, catalog carefully your exact skills in SP (Are you on MOSS 2007 or SP 2010?), pull together brief write-ups of the applications you developed and advertise your mad SP skillz. Screen shots and process diagrams are good, too. 78% of enterprise sized organizations run SP in some flavor and most do it poorly. They need your talents. Keep the managers who love you in your contacts and start hitting them up now for promises of references. They'll be happy to sing your praises and they may make life unpleasant for the hiring manager.

HOWEVER - be aware that the industry trend for SP right now is to keep ordinary use and teaching on-premises with existing staff and to outsource more "advanced" development to vendors to avoid keeping high ticket people on payroll. The outsource firms are in turn outsourcing high-skill specialty development (LOB integration, dashboard reporting across the enterprise, high volume records management, SAP/Duet, etc.) to companies that focus on those niches. Your best bet may be to hire on with an outsource agency who will give you a number of customers to support and a wide range of projects to complete. You'll be exhausted, but it's a good way to get well known by the customers and picked up. In my case, I am an employee of an outsource agency and I developed the SP business group. I prefer to be in that position than directly hired by any of our clients. I'd ask for your resume, but we're not in New York.

Insecure penii, alas, infest every workplace I've ever seen.

Anglachel

madamab's picture
Submitted by madamab on

Thank you very much for the industry-eye view, Anglachel. I will certainly take your advice and your perspective is most appreciated.

I have already copied a lot of the process documentation and reports I had created, as well as the training course outlines (we had no training either before I got there) and some user guides, and next Friday (the week before my last day) will do a bulk reference solicitation. I went to the SP 2010 launch at our local Microsoft Partnering group and created an overview of what SP 2010 will do for an organization, as well as recommendations for considering a migration for our company. I've got that too.

You are right about the penii. I've had exactly one great boss in all my decades in the work force. He was a man, but he was an exception to the general boss rule, I'm afraid.

I just talked to my father and he told me he lost his job last week too. What a week for my family!

Submitted by cg.eye on

"We've got to protect our phony-baloney jobs!"

It's a rough time, with fear for all, and I'm convinced they toss those who can swim the best, overboard first -- even though they love tying an anvil around your neck as a lovely parting gift.

Submitted by lambert on

Why do you think they toss the best swimmers overboard first?

Submitted by libbyliberal on

That really sucks and I am sorry.

"No good deed goes unpunished." How I wish that weren't true in corporate America, but it seems to be ferociously consistent.

5 years ago our entire department was outsourced, but not to people making more money, the new worker bees, in India. Lose/Lose. More $$$ for the topdogs. At the time the company outsourced they were restructuring an entire floor from perpendicular walls to swirling walls and covering it all with Italian marble. State of the art conference center floor. The bathrooms were for royalty, too. Appearance is important. Spectacular appearance. Support staff ... er ... not so much.

But apparently that was too costly -- work by the Indians -- so they are using cheaper workers in Manila now, a couple years later. But watch out, Phillippines. Someone said that the outsource work would ultimately come back to Americans once the third world is making a heckuva lot more than we Americans. Ironic huh?

They handled it swell, too, my old company. Some assigned liaison, about 12 years old, called us all in and on these huge charts for an hour told us why laying us off and outsourcing, some were 20-year vets, was going to help them as a company, as if that hour of our lives needed to be filled with anti-empathy narcissism. As if that was our biggest priority, THEIR needs, and was the way to go to disclose to us our unexpected future. Oh, and he never said those two little words to help the sting, "We're sorry." He could have afforded to say that. No skin off HIS nose. Just an easy enough courtesy.

So, they (your guys) will get to repent in leisure of their mistake. Meanwhile you have to re-enter the jobless hellish hallway. But there is higher ground. Karma for that blasted company. Better opportunity for awesome you.

This was painful to read.

This group does not know our Intranet, does not know how to create our documentation or do any web design, and as far as I know, does not do SharePoint development. In other words, everything I did, including the system I designed for the entire region, is now going to be given to a group that will do the job I do off-site, without critical skills or key contacts, for much, much, MUCH more money.

My new company the other day, someone in authority but not high authority refused to authorize a car voucher for a proofreader ... maybe $20+, out of fear of executive order against extraneous costs. I won't spell it all out, but that unwillingness to spend that modest car cost home probably cost an incalcuable amount in terms of a huge deal that the low level authority didn't have the "forest not trees" imagination to begin to comprehend. Some of us were in the chain of workforce that had to deal with the project sans proofer -- the proofer would have made the time constraints on the urgent and costly deal doable. It was a royal mess. Of course the authority who made the penny wise pound foolish decision was far removed from the head-rolling that ensued later, as he was from the horrible stress his ass-covering decision caused the rest of us. Ain't that usually the way?

Again, will keep my eyes and ears open.

How about primarying Obama in 2012? Ya got my vote.

madamab's picture
Submitted by madamab on

Thank you so much.

As for your story about the car voucher, penny-wise and pound-foolish seems to be the order of the day!

Primarying Obama - oh my goodness. I'm not crazy enough to want that job! :-)

Submitted by libbyliberal on

I will follow-up with my modest corporate network contacts and get back to you. I hope you get some juicy references at least from the big wigs who care but not quite enuf to prevent it from happening. And your poor DAD!!!!! Geeeeeeezzzzzzz.