Friday, March 23, 2007

On Leaving Legacies

Work this week was a little bit crappy at times. It’s not that I don’t love the challenge of my job but somedays it just feels like I want to run head first into a wall out of frustration at things I wish I had better control over. What’s worst is the feeling that I’m stretching myself too thinly to try to juggle all my responsibilities and deliver on my commitments to them.

One of the thing that I hate most in my job is when one of my subordinates come up to me to tender his or her resignation notice. By virtue of the job and client expectations, I run a close-knit group whose members are personally handpicked by me. Every member of my team was selected by how they could gel with existing team members and how their contributions would enhance the group as a whole. My "thing" when it comes to recruiting staff for my team is not just limited to their technical know how but also how their personalities would complement the rest of the team. Needless to say that when I lose a staff from my team, the team balance and dynamics goes out of whack.

To be truthful, I had a feeling that this particular staff will not stay long once he has gotten what he needed i.e. the experience from us. That’s part of the risk of taking in fresh graduates and giving them on the job training that other companies would not even bother to give. I’ve seen some staff from my team staying on just long enough to make themselves marketable from their experience with my team and then go off to greener pastures in some other company. It’s strange to see that since I firmly believe in loyalty to the company that you work with and standing by them through thick or thin.

I guess that ideal of employee loyalty is an outdated one in today’s job market. My first ever job right after secondary school was with a Japanese supermarket chain which I guess was where I picked up that particular work ethics from. I firmly believe in leaving behind legacies and you can’t do that if you don’t stay with one employer long enough for them to recognize your contributions. I try to impart some of that to my team and while some take it to heart, there is not enough of them to really make a difference in how often I have to recruit new people into my team.

At times I feel as the team that I have built up seems to be a training ground of a revolving cast of fresh graduates. It got really bad a few years back when I realized that another department manager took notice of the way I trained my team and started to lure them away with other offers to join their team behind my back. I eventually confronted the manager during one of our operational meetings and gave him a piece of my mind which thankfully put a stop to his shenanigans but it left me quite bitter for a while. It was bad enough that I worked so hard to get these people in and personally made sure that they were trained up to the level of my expectations of my team only to lose them, it was doubly worse other departments see me as their personal training officer and pinch my staff as soon as they get prospectively bright enough to get them noticed.

I do get a sense of pride seeing my old staff moving up the ladder after they left my team. I’ve met a few of them during external seminars and trainings through the years and see them heading their own teams. Some even still send me the occasional email to update me as to how they are doing now. I guess that I can say that these people will be the legacies that I leave behind as proof of the work I’ve done.

Now I have to go and find a new replacement to fill up the opening in my team. Don’t even get me started on the quality of people coming in applying for an IT field job nowadays … that would take a whole other ranting entry to spiel about.

3 comments:

ZEYN OF ENVY said...

nickxandar,

abang, sometimes, we have to let someone go...it's hard - i know but i'm sure he's made his choice.

he may not see what he'd be missing but rest assured, he's learnt a lot from you and your team.

mjiahua :: tyne&wear said...

well, that's part and parcel in the corporate world. it's beyond one's control to hold the turnover. the best thing that you delivered yours and proud to leave legacy in others. loyalty is not really a culture in malaysian context.

hey, you can't afford to stress yourself. there's another matter you have to take care - your health. don't let the micropolitics affect your health. health is wealth besides other things in life.

Nickxandar said...

Zeyn ...

I sure hope so. The problem is that he was too new to the team and I don't think that he has learned all that he need to perform well out there. I hope he will do ok in the new place.

MJ ...

For me health and wellbeing is paramount. Work and money are things you can live with less anytime but never with poor health.