Lessons learned from a new job

Today was my last day at Spansion. I was surprised to learn from my consulting company that my contact was terminated as of today. This is a week and a half after they renewed contract with a raise for 3 more months. I didn’t get a good explanation for the cancellation but what I was told was that the Director of the company wanted me gone after a disagreement I had with him.  My performance was never discussed and I assume I was doing well. I had a few people tell me this week that these projects would never have gotten done if it wasn’t for me. So, I assume that I did a good job. I surely worked hard.

However, no matter how hard you work, it won’t matter at the end. Here are some of the lessons I have learned from this job.

1. 1.It doesn’t matter how hard you work, it’s all about appearance. I am an efficient worker. I have all my facts in my head and they are accurate. As a program manager, I needed all the facts at the tip of my finger tips. I did that. However, it’s not about how efficiently you work, it’s all about how hard you appear working. I had a co worker that toiled at things that isn’t that difficult to do. I can get what she was doing finished in 8 hours, which she took 12 hours to do. So, she always come in early and leave late but her work was good but not outstanding. They really like the fact that she was putting in 60+ hours per week and getting paid for 40 hours. I usually put in about 45 hours but I guess that wasn’t enough.

2. 2.Always go with your gut instinct when you are interviewing. I had a feeling about the Director when I interviewed but I like the manager that I would “report to” so I signed up. Specially the Director only spends at local office once every two weeks or so.  It was the Director who decided that I needed to go. He has a reputation among everyone who deals with him to be an ass. He knows it and he doesn’t care. He will just burst in to your office and start yelling at you for smallest reasons. His relationship with vendors is so bad, they started to avoiding doing work for us. So far, I avoided him because whenever he wanted something, I had the answer. He pretty much left me alone. However, some managers set you up for a failure and he did that to me. He told me to do something that was impossible and when I told him it’s not possible, he started to yell at me saying he doesn’t care and just get it done. I knew I was in trouble at that point. 

3. 3.Make sure you boss doesn’t set you up for a failure. Be aware of the following phrases: “I don’t care, just get it done” “Just go set up a meeting with this guy, I don’t care if you know him or not , just get it done.” “Don’t tell me it can’t be done, just go push it to get it done and I don’t care of the government closes on weekends.”, etc. Look out for someone who expects miracles to be done so he can look good. This Director was such a person. His expectation were way off and when he didn’t get his way, he would throw a fit. 

4. 4.Don’t work for companies whose stock is lingering below $3. It’s a sure sign that the company has no clue what they are doing. I have worked for many companies in the past but I gotta admit that this company is the most bureaucratic company I have ever seen. The Director knows this but his idea is to run his division “better” is to run it like a “startup” company. This coming from someone who’s never run a startup company, let alone worked at one. I have done it myself and he’s clueless when it comes to what a startup company is. The reason why people work long hours and work hard is that there is an incentive at the end of the hard work. Almost everyone has equity in the company so they are part owner, which gives them a big incentive. In a large bureaucratic company, it doesn’t work. He basically used this excuse to get more hours from people, specially from contractors who are forbidden to work more than 40 hours per week without over time. The company doesn’t allow over time but he thinks that by telling people that we are working like a start up company, people will work without the right incentive.

5. 5.Never get a contract position unless it’s the last resort. As a full time worker, if the company is not satisfied with your work, they have to follow a process. They have to let you know what isn’t working out and give you chance to work on it. All this has to be documented. They can not just arbitrarily dismiss you on personal whim, which they can do with a contractor. The entire time I worked for them, all I heard is that they like what I am doing. They never had any feedback on my work other than something positive. So, it was a surprise to me that they terminated my contract. I mean, who gives a new contract with a raise then dismiss someone with almost no notice? Be aware.

I think that’s enough for now. I hope I don’t make the same mistakes again. I am looking for a new full time position.

On August 20, 2008, posted in: Uncategorized by
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