Wednesday, February 25, 2009


I admit, I hold everyone to high standards in a world where that is not always the case. But I'm wondering if I'm the problem in this case.

A little over 3 years ago, the company I worked for went through a drastic downsizing. They sold off a company called Southern Testing Services for pennies on the dollar in the process, in addition to many other questionable decisions. A month later everyone in my group was laid off as well.

In the process of selling Southern Testing Services, their "questionable" dealings (I'll avoid saying "outright lying and deception" in an attempt to be nice) caused all of the employees of Southern Testing Services to quit, save for two that had just started working there (a technician and an admin assistant). The new owners brought in one of their sales guys, and hired two engineers (myself and a former co-worker) and a QA guy. Then they wished us the best of luck.

Honestly, the job was below my qualification level. Not that my qualification level is that high, but the truth is what it is. However, I took the job for two reasons: (1) I was tired of traveling, and (2) the fact that the business was a shambles looked like a fun challenge. And, it was.

The first year we turned a 2000% profit on what they paid for the company, after all the bills were paid. To show that it's not a typo, I'll say it again: 2000% return on investment. The second year, we made about the same amount, even though we lost our technician (total employees = 5 at this point). That's with no oversight. They basically called every week or two to see if we were on our financial target. That's it.

Year 3 begins, and the powers-that-be notice that there could be potential here. So, they decide that we some "help". Now, I hold no degrees in Business Administration, nor have I even had a class in it. However, if something is working that well, it seems to me that you'd want to investigate why it was working so well, and use that as an expansion point. Apparently, that's not the way "help" works.

The CEO of the parent company is a former GE guy. So, "help's" approach was to bring their corporate policy here. Instead of promoting the people that got you here (or even listening to them), they hired managers from outside the company to manage us. Then those managers needed sub-managers. Then the power struggles begin. Somewhere in the middle, we (myself, the other engineer, and the sales guy) went from running a successful small business to being treated like rented mules. We still do what it takes to make sure things run smoothly, but now other people fight over who gets the credit.

So yesterday myself and another engineer took off to attend a TVA job fair. Apparently the world came to a screeching halt (and I even worked half a day). Now, if you realize that it's that big of a problem to loose two people in a company that now has roughly two dozen employees, you'd think you'd like to find out what you could do to prevent said two people from leaving. Of course, you'd once again be mis-applying logic. They've been pissy with us over it.

Now, am I being overly sensitive in an "it's all about me world," or is that just not the way to treat employees you intend to keep?