Thursday, May 07, 2009

One legged man, report to the ass kicking contest immediately

So, in the last few weeks, I've had an "interesting" time.

First, my workload at work effectively doubled. Then I got a nasty sinus infection. Then I had my birthday. Then I got another bout of intestinal salmonellosis (actually, from the food at my birthday party).

Just when I was done recovering from that, one of the guys I lead found out he had to go in for double bypass surgery (which is today in fact. Praying for him now). We're down to 4 guys, plus me and my boss, doing the work of 12.

Oh and I got more "enterprise" docs, meetings, and tasks to do, in addition to all our regular work. We've been working 7am to 6pm most days to try to keep up, and it's not enough.

Finally, after all that, we're having a re-org and a big management and structural shakeup in my division. They announced it last Thursday, and it has sent a major shock through EVERYTHING.

A bunch of people are being laid off (thankfully no-one in my group, but lots in the org as a whole), or moved around, and it's creating total chaos. Some folks have been told that they're being laid off a couple months in advance, and let's jsut so their motivation was not improved.

I can say without irony here, "this is why they pay me the big bucks". When you hit this level, it's expected that you suck it up, and make it happen; and that's what we're doing.

Of course this isn't sustainable long term, so we need to recruit four more people permanently, and get in at least a contractor or two on a temporary basis.

... Unfortunately, with the management shakeup, my boss may not be around to do the hiring; so I've been interviewing the candidates etc... We've got two good internal prospects, and two contractors identified, now we just need to get approval to hire them/transfer them.

Actually, we've got four good internal prospects, but we can't have two of them for another couple months 'til they finish what they're doing now.

Oh and of course, once we actually get the new guys, they'll actually be a DRAG on our productivity for the first few months, while we get them streamed into the group.

My boss and I think we have a plan worked out with the big boss, where he gets a technical one step bump in grade, to take on more management duties (he's 50/50 management technical right now) and more staff (we're probably going to go from the 7 - including me and my boss - we are today, to somewhere around 10 or 12), and as lead I take on the tactical management stuff like one on ones and performance reviews. That way we've both still got the bandwidth we need to do the enterprise level architecture stuff, while making sure all the management tasks get done.

If that works out, it means more work, and more responsibility for me; but it also means I'm pretty much guaranteed my bosses job when he retires in a year or so (he's 65). Oh and unlike today, his job wouldn't be a pay cut for me (only senior management make more than chief architects. My boss is officially classified in the same grade as I am, but he's grandfathered in as a manager from before the current classifications went into place. Otherwise as a manager at his current level, he'd make $20k less than I do); it would be a $10k bump, plus an extra 5% bonus.

Unfortunately, because of HR rules, they can't just promote him, they have to post the position out and do a competitive evaluation and hiring process. Obviously he has the advantage in the process, but it's still a pain, because we can't move forward with anything on the management front for about 6 weeks, and it's always possible that HR could do something that would screw him up in the meantime (HR doesn't like promoting someone shortly before they retire, and my boss is going to retire in less than two years).

Right now, a management freeze like this is bad enough; but with the resource constraints we have at the moment, a management change would be a disaster. We've made that clear to higher, and they understand it; but HR is HR and rules are rules.

So, the side projects I've been doing, and my recreational pursuits and writing have been taking a hit, obviously. I think I've missed more days on the blog in the last month than I did the previous two years.

Hopefully things will settle down shortly.