Changes. Big changes.
Before I launch into a description of the new year, it’s worthwhile to summarize how I felt about my year 1 experience with FinancialCompany.
It wasn’t easy. I put in a lot of extra hours to get up to speed and become a reliable member of my team. But at the same time, I thought the trade was generally fair: I was paid a lot of money, and in return I gave the job most of the life energy I had available. My first year manager respected me and was appreciative of my efforts and contributions.
In short, I wasn’t upset or bitter about the job at that point. It was exhausting, but represented a means to an end. My thinking was along the lines of: It’s OK. I’ll be FI soon enough.
When Cthulhu took the reins of our team, everything changed.
The day following the reorg announcement, Cthulhu calls an 8AM team meeting.
Team assembled, we sit down and watch our mighty overlord strut in a custom fitted suit back and forth in front of a whiteboard. He introduces himself and asks why we think we have a new manager.
We have no idea. There’s silence in the room.
YOU ARE ALL NOT MEETING EXPECTATIONS I’M HERE TO WHIP THIS TEAM INTO SHAPE
His voice is emotionless, completely devoid of intonation. If you went by the content alone, you’d think he was angry, but his voice doesn’t sound upset. It sounds like someone mixed human vocal output with a foghorn. Us muppets are completely speechless.
PERFORMANCE MUST BE IMPROVED NOW THAT I AM IN CHARGE THERE WILL BE CHANGES
Huh? Was there something wrong with what we were doing the year before? This is the question we all want to ask but it sticks in our throats. We’re so shocked at the outwardly aggressive behavior of this guy that none of us can push any words out.
CHANGES BIG CHANGES FAILURE TO COMPLY WILL RESULT IN CONSEQUENCES
Cthulhu spends the next twenty minutes informing us of the following:
- We now have biweekly team meetings. Monday @9AM, Thursday@noon. There is no mention of lunchtime being overbooked. Of course there isn’t. Cthulhu knows not of human frailty.
- We are on strict availability rotations.
- We have weekly individual 1:1s
- Our quarterly objectives (known as MBOs, or Management-By-Objective) are no longer optional goals. They are a required part of our job, and failure to meet them will result in repercussions.
- From here on out, everyone on the team must log into the company instant messenger application and this is one of the ways he will monitor our availability.
- If there is a single failure to respond to a phone call or pageout from the company during the year, our bonus will be forfeit.
I winced visibly when he mentioned the 1:1s, remembering the experiences with Mr. Data from my first job. I probably have thrown up if I’d realized in advance exactly how much worse these were going to be.
2005 was not a good year.
After a few months with the new structure, I noticed something.
The Cthulhu liked one of his employees much, much more than the others. They went to lunch together most days. In meetings they’d sit next to one another and nod at the same times. I’d spot them leaving work, walking out of the building chatting.
It was Bert.