Monday, October 03, 2005

Vocational Turbulence

Caveat Lector: really long post.

Eeek. So… I just got out of a meeting with our HR VP and my new manager. The short version is that I have withdrawn from a voluntary departmental transfer. Lord willing, my employment here will remain fruitful and the decision will prove to be a good choice, apparent to everyone.

A little history… We’re trying to fill an internal staffing problem by transferring me from our equivalent of an IT department to the Service Management department. The goal is to get a new trainer and support staff person for our plumbing, heating and A/C market. Recruitment of qualified individuals has been difficult.

Previously, I had approached our VP with some questions on Accounting. I figured that I could better support our clients if I learned some Accounting, and he agreed. When we started having difficulty filling the position, our VP thought of me. After our VP discussed the opportunity with me, I agreed to try it out. After three months, we would make a final determination. In the mean time, I would answer to both my current boss and another manager. My manager-to-be had only one reservation: would I be happy doing the job? Only time would tell.

In several important situations, I have ignored a “gut feeling” about what I should say, or something I should do, and each time I have regretted it. It was almost three weeks between the initial discussion and the official announcement. Between then, I grew increasingly uneasy with the prospect, but I suppressed the feeling by dismissing it as a baseless fear of failure.

Days before the official announcement, someone I would be working closely with asked me why I was scheduled for training with him. In other words, he had no idea. He indicated that the manager said I would be learning the product to help them take up the slack. I agreed that this was true. This was my primary motivation for agreeing to participate; what’s good for the company overall is ultimately good for me, too. Several co-workers heard (through the grapevine, not from me) of the upcoming changes. Everybody suggested that I was capable of performing the job function; a few suggested it was a bad idea.

On the day before the company meeting two events transpired that made me give more attention to my nagging doubts. First, while driving home from dinner with my wife and mother-in-law, I ignored a strong intuition to make a u-turn and detour around a certain intersection, which led to my family being stuck with me in lousy traffic for some time. This incident caused me to introspect, and I confessed to Cathy that I had misgivings on the upcoming transfer. Secondly, my wife then confessed that she was being submissive in her support for the transfer, but in fact the change was a concern to her.

Note to the ladies:
your husband wants to hear your opinion,
even when and often especially if you disagree with him.

The announcement came the next day, stating that I was switching departments. I then went onsite to a client for training, and went home more convinced that this is not a good fit.

That next day I approached my new manager. I told him that, even in this early stage, I was becoming convinced this was not a good fit. Further delays would only hurt our recruitment efforts, so I thought it best to tell him sooner rather than later. He met with the VP, and it was decided that we should wait until early October to revisit the issue.

Virtually nothing happened in the intervening time in terms of my training.

Well, it is October now, and we revisited the issue. My feelings have not changed. I think our VP was truly rather disappointed; not only was this a convenient was of filling a staff need, it would also do so without increasing costs, and I as an employee would become more valuable to the company.

I have two weeks to change my mind, and after that the offer is no longer available. Cathy had already expressed a fear of retaliation, but I doubt that would occur here. I really am a loyal employee, and I do work hard. I also pointed out that I still want the training, so my value as an employee should increase. But, the position will likely have to be filled by recruitment.

Ultimately, the company has the right to inform me I am being reassigned. And, frankly, I could not afford to be unemployed, so I would do the job. As a Christian, I would do the job to the best of my ability, but I doubt I would be happy. God has blessed me with a good job; to do other than my best would be just plain wrong. Still, a reassignment would significantly reduce the attraction this place has for me, and I would start looking for full-time ministry opportunity after my schooling was completed.

I am reminded of a scene from “Ever After”, where Danielle speaks for her step-mother, Rodmilla:
Danielle: I want you to know that I will forget you after this moment and never think of you again. But you, I am quite certain, will think about me ever single day for the rest of your life
Rodmilla: And how long might that be?
I am wondering how long it might be…

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