Wednesday, April 27, 2011


Next week is moving week at work. The company I work for (to be further known as the Old Company) was bought at the end of March by another company (to be further known as the New Company). This is the second company I have worked for that was bought while I was an employee. It’s a different experience.

Both are international companies in the same industry but the New Company has a much broader field of work. That is because while the Old Company has less than 80 employees total, the New Company has about 7,000 employees. And the integration of the Old Company into the New Company is going to happen in stages over the next seven months (we weren’t told why this was happening but there are rumors).

So what this means for my little office of eight people is that we are physically moving to the office of the New Company which employees over 220 people. The building is in the same town. It has six floors and the New Company occupies office space on four of them (two floors are completely theirs). That is going to be an adjustment.

And with any big change there are pros and cons. Here are mine, starting with the pros:

Pro #1 – I will have a window. I think people take for granted natural lighting until they spend years in a workspace without it. My workspace for the last five years has not included a window. There isn’t even one in my line of view. For me to look out a window I have to get up and walk halfway down the hall to the conference room, which has a window. Believe me, a window is a big deal.

Pro #2 – Voice mail. The Old Company was a family owned company (New Company is employee owned). With not a lot of employees the Old Company felt that no voice mail meant better customer service (i.e. the caller talks to a live person). Tell that to the 90% of callers who ask to leave a message on voice mail. I think people would rather have voice mail than talk to a real person but that’s just my opinion.

Pro 3# – More women. Women can be a fickle bunch to work with. Some are great and supportive and some are backstabbing and gossipy. In my current office of eight, I am the only woman and have been for the last year. Before then there were two of us and at one time (for less than a year) there were three. It’s the nature of the industry were in, men outnumber women. Because of this, for the first time in my adult working life I don’t have any work friends. But at the New Company there are woman (I’ve actually seen them) so I’m hoping that will change.

Pro #4 – I am guessing that 35% - 40% of the job duties that I really didn’t like to do at my Old Company I will no longer have to do at the New Company. While this is a pro, it also leads to Con #1.

Con #1 – This is a BIG con – I don’t know what my job will be. The New Company doesn’t do things the same way as the Old Company, so I have no clue what my job duties will be. I have been told that this could be an opportunity to do something that I will enjoy but I have also been told that they will assess my current responsibilities and place me where I am needed (possibly resulting in a terrible outcome). Will I have input or not? I don’t know and I’m not very optimistic about this. I will be doing a lot of my current duties until September and that is when things will change.

Con #2 – Location. For the last five years I have been extremely lucky because my office was less than two miles away from my home. I can sleep in later and go home for lunch (it’s awesome!). My new office, while in the same town, is 16 miles away. My commute is going to double from less than 10 minutes to about 20 minutes. Yes, I know that I’m not going to experience normal rush hour traffic but I liked sleeping later and going home for lunch.

Con #3 – My co-workers. I already know this is going to be a big adjustment for my co-workers from the Old Company because I am learning that a lot of things I used to do for them (see Pro #4) they are now going to have to do for themselves. I am preparing to hear a LOT of bitching. Also, I spent a lot of time working with Old Company co-workers in other offices and as we integrate more into the New Company I will lose touch and not be working with them much.

Con #4 – Benefits. I found out that I am going to be screwed out of at least on vacation day this year. I blame the Old Company because they didn’t have a vacation policy in writing (that is a whole other can of worms not to be opened). Some of the benefits are better and some are not. The biggest inconvenienced is our 401K. The Old Company terminated it at the end of March and we can’t contribute to the New Company’s plan until June (Why? It probably has to with why the integration is happening in stages instead of all at once) so I have to find someplace to put my money for the next two months.

Con #5 – Lip service. You know when you’re getting lip service and we are getting it now from the big wigs at the New Company. Yes, they are telling us everything that we want to hear right now so as not make any big stinks (of course, my boss is the exception to the big stink rule and I can’t really blame him because he’s getting screwed in the sale in a lot of ways). The New Company hasn’t really told us how things work, although we’ve heard little bits and pieces here and there, but nothing official. And this causes anxiety in different levels from different people.

Now don’t get me wrong, I am very thankful to have a job in this economy. But I will readily admit that I’m worried about what I’m going to be doing come September. I’m not good with not knowing about certain things, especially when it has to do with my paycheck. I hope the thrill of having a window will stay with me for a while...

Thursday, April 21, 2011

I Had A Bad Day

Yes, today was a bad day at work. Without going into the gruesome details, it was one of those bad days that is going to stick with me for a while and make me sick to my stomach.

A couple of weeks ago when I was rifling through my desk drawer looking for the lost flash drive (that STILL makes me sick to my stomach to think about) I found something someone (I can't remember who) gave me awhile back. It was Psalms 23 (for the workplace). I don't know who wrote it but I made some changes to reflect my work place. It was on my desk tonight. By coincidence my Bible study is studying psalms. And since it is Holy week I thought I'd share it with all of you...

Psalms 23 (for the workplace)

The Lord is my boss, and I shall not want.
He gives me peace when chaos is all around me.
He reminds me to pray before I speak in anger.
He restores my sanity.
He guides my decisions that I might honor Him in all I do.
Even though I face absurd amounts of e-mails, system failures,
unrealistic deadlines, lazy people, unproofed documents,
staff shortages, stupid questions, fly by the seat of my pants assignments,
solutions pulled out of my butt, crazy requests and a good ole boys club mentality,
I won't give up, for you are with me.
Your presence, peace and power will see me through.
You raise me up, even when the boss fails to promote me (or has any clue what I do).
You claim as your own, even when the company is bought and

I'm not sure what my job is going to be.
Your loyalty and love are better than any 401K.
And when it's said and done.
I'll be working for You a whole lot longer!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

You Have Got To Be Kidding!

Yesterday I had to go to the bank to get change for the office's petty cash. I went to the bank closest to the office, Citywide Bank. And guess what? Citywide Bank wouldn't give me any change.

Yes, that's right. A BANK (definition: an establishment concerned especially with the custody, loan, exchange or issue of money) would not give me fifteen $1 bills in exchange for three $5 bills. I stood before the teller (who as actually sitting behind a cubicle desk) in utter amazement as I held up my money and said, "Really, you can't make change?"

Now I didn't have an account with Citywide Bank (and now never will) but once I step through their doors I was a customer and it shouldn't have mattered if a I had an account or not. I needed change, they were a bank, I should have been able to do business with them and gotten some stinking change!

I guess I should have known something was wrong when I walked in and immediately saw a security guard to my right (a rather large fellow) sitting in an office chair. Not standing but sitting. In the event of robbery the police would probably get there before that guy got out of the chair. So much for customer service.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

17 Days and Counting

If you don’t already know, I’m an anglophile (definition: a person who greatly admires or favors England and things English). So the Royal Wedding of Prince William and Katherine Middleton is a big to-do.

Now I know a lot of people don’t really give a hoot about this wedding and that’s okay. Since we have nothing like a royal family in the United States and never had or will (even with the Kennedys during the Camelot era) I think a lot of people don’t understand what all the fuss is about. Lots of people will be attending/watching and lot of money is being spent. And, to be honest, if I thought my tax dollars were being used to pay for this event I might not be so keen on it. But they aren’t so I’m going to hop on the bang wagon and enjoy it.

What it comes down to is its just plain fun. There is glitz and glamour and pomp and pageantry that just doesn’t exist in the United States (and probably never will – even with our sick fascination with celebrities).

What I think people forget is that members of a royal family (regardless from what country) are human beings who have been born into families that have extreme duties to their country. Our normal and their normal are not the same. Yes, they have more privileges than us but they also have bad hair days, trouble sleeping and heartburn. They get colds and sunburns and toothaches. Their parents can divorce (the British royal family has its share of those) or die young. And even though they get special treatment in a lot of ways, they are also scrutinized for things that you and I could get away with. Their every movement is watched and documented.

And members of the British royal family have to get parliament approval for who they want to marry. How would you like it if the government were to tell you who was or wasn’t appropriate enough to marry? After World War II, the late Princess Margaret (the Queen’s younger sister and second in line to the throne at the time) fell in love with a divorced older man named Peter Townsend. The government felt he wasn’t suitable for the Queen’s sister and the Church of England refused to approve the marriage. Under pressure Margaret gave up Townsend and married someone else, whom she divorced 18 years later. It’s been 25 years since England has had a big wedding (last one was the 1986 wedding of Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson).

And just because it’s a royal wedding doesn’t mean it will go off smoothly. When Lady Diana got out of the carriage at her wedding in 1981 her dress was extremely wrinkled (something any bride would probably be horrified by) and she mixed up her soon to be husband’s name when she said her vows (some people look back and think that was a sign but I think it was just the nerves of a young woman, I mean it would be hard for anyone to remember Charles Philips Arthur George in front of millions of people).

So when Friday, April 29 rolls around I’ll get out of bed at 3 a.m. (wedding starts at 11 a.m. London time), turn on my television and watch. I’ve even taken that day off work (can’t image going to work after this wedding-a-thon). And, of course, the royal wedding has a web site. Take a look and enjoy…