Continuing the Transition
We receive orientation and then something surprising happens: I’m separated from the rest of my old co-workers.
They get slotted into Engineering Cube Farm A, and I’m slotted into Support Cube Farm B. We’re on different floors of the same building. This is because at Mega, there are distinct divisions between groups, and these organizational lines are physically enforced by locating folks in different areas.
At any rate, once I’m settled into my personal four by four
cell cube, I’m engaged by Mega’s support management.
They’re doing a couple of things at the same time — a) trying to figure out exactly what to do with me and b) taking stock of StartupVille’s customers and making sure that they’re all happy.
As a part of the transition work, I’m asked to manage a few things:
- Identification of all active customers from StartupVille. This includes gathering all pertinent info (phone numbers, addresses, length of support contract, lots and lots of other boring attributes), and generating reports.
- Contacting all active customers and notifying them of the acquisition via phone, then sending personal memos to document the details
- Migrating knowledge-base solutions (FAQs) from StartupVille’s systems into Mega’s. (We had 300+ solutions and this was a manual process, i.e. I had to recreate each solution from scratch. Right, I know — tedious.)
- After learning the new ticketing software that Mega uses, I offer to hand-hold customers through the service request creation process to make the experience positive and smooth.
You’ll notice most of these tasks had to do with customer retention; Mega wanted to ensure that StartupVille’s old clients all came along for the ride and were going to be happy — because happy customers renew support contracts, and the other kind of customers do not.
So functionally, you get it. I’m no longer with my old teammates, and I’m doing a lot of paperwork and management-type duties, both of which I don’t particularly enjoy.
On the other hand, the stuff that I do enjoy — troubleshooting technical issues — has been reduced to perhaps ten hours a week at this point. Our old customers just aren’t opening a whole lot of tickets. And do you know what?
It’s totally OK.
I happily supported all of this work. Yeah, it’s paperwork, and my distaste for this kind of activity is well documented on this blog, but still, I keep the ultimate goal close in my mind’s eye.
The way I see it, I’m laying the foundation for the success of StartupVille’s software, as now sold by Mega. If the software takes off, our engineers will retain their jobs and have a sense of legacy; the work they’ve been doing for the past 6 years will have more meaning.
I lied. It’s not totally OK.
The truth is that it was simultaneously OK and not OK.
I agreed with the overarching goals, but continued to hate the actual work. (Aside: I think this sums up much of how I feel about office tasks. I understand why certain tasks need to be completed, but actually doing them isn’t fun or interesting at all.)
Mining through old documents to find accurate information, copying and pasting data between field after field, clicking on one tab after another, cross-checking to ensure zero-mistake delivery, and migrating knowledgebase articles wholesale was astonishingly tedious.
I was glad when this period of my Mega experience was over. It lasted about six months.