Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Catch the Train

Well in the week since my last update... so much has happened. So much.

1) My secret meeting went extremely well, and I think there's a great opportunity out there. The catch is that for funding reasons it can't start until July, so I'm not sure exactly how to hold out until then. Perhaps I could get the old gang together and do some street corner busking.

But seriously - the job would be working in a clinical context again, doing large scale analysis and planning, working for cardiologists and geeks alike to build a new system. They were clear that it's a year to start, but could turn into multiple years... and they'd work with me on family friendly travel options (week on/week off, etc). It's for a children's facility too, so there's good karma in helping care for kids.

2) The trade conference has been an unmitigated disaster. We were asked to share booth space with our parent company which is in an entirely different line of business than us. So the whole booth looked like Company X, with just a little sign inside saying "Plus Company X Consulting". We were off the main drag, and had bad sight lines, and nobody knew we were there. And nobody would wander in looking for our services either, any more than you would go to a Ford dealership to purchase the new Stephen King thriller.

ADD to this that our parent company has been involved in some unpleasant litigation recently which has led (rightly or wrongly - I don't understand the lawsuits) to a general perception of our company is borderline unethical... and that's the name on my badge. As I schmoozed in receptions, I actually had several people physically recoil and walk away as they saw the name. REALLY.

So even though we all know I'm moving to some new thing, I did want to attend and do my real job well, since it is my job. But I was 100% stymied, and the end result is that I didn't have a SINGLE potential client interaction. It's mind blowing!!!

3) I did make some PERSONAL connections for my next potentials, however...

4) Allright I gotta vent - with a lot of time in the booth and not much traffic, I got to see our management team in action, and it wasn't pleasant. Our CEO showed up for 2 hours one of the days, and sat on a couch in the booth doing emails. Didn't say hello to the 10 people working, no pep talk, no personal connections whatsoever. The dominant narrative on this guy is "he's really smart, but not so good with people" - my revised narrative is "this guy is a total jerkwad". Sorry, but the job of CEO is to lead. To lead, you need to motivate people, not be a toad. It would have been better for him to have not shown up at all than this performance.

The layers below him were equally annoying. Booth rules are simple - walk around, engage customers, smile, don't eat, don't sit. Standard VP behavior in OUR booth? Sitting in circles, talking on phones sipping coffee, checking email, ignoring customers (the few that wandered in). It was embarrassing.

So to recap - terrible booth, bad location, uninspiring leadership, bad customer reaction to our brand... hmmmmm.... Remind me why I'm looking to move on again?

5) To rub salt in the wound of the week, the obligatory "team building exercises" for the week were just more depressing than anything. With the downward spiral in all other aspects of the company, our personal relationships are all fraying, and there's a breakdown in our willingness to tolerate eachother's quirks. So at the dinners, there were long silences, and a lot of "Whew, I'm beat - time to turn in!" Compared with years past where we all cut loose and had a great time... it just felt like one of those balloons with a slow leak.

I'm getting on a train to take me back up to Palatine to see the family, and I'm happy to have this week behind me. I thank you for letting me get this off my chest... I'm going to have 5 wonderful days up here surrounded with love which will bring me right back up to fighting strength!


Anonymous said...

Wow and ouch. I picture the CEO on that couch doing online job searches himself.....
Get your balance on. Move away from the unethical. By balance I mean that center where you know who you are and what you're about.
Be well and whole and have a fantastic Easter!

Rich said...

soon, you will move on to something bigger, better, stronger, faster... and you will KICK ASS. (LIKE A BOSS!)