I think, therefore I write. (我思,所以我写。)

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Tuesday, April 13, 2010

I'm so not cut out for this

You know, never under-estimate the power of grapevine. The information you get from such channel can be very useful; but then, having the information and not being able to do anything about it, then i couldn't help but wonder what is the use of the information in the first place except reducing the shock effect.

I'm talking about my team member whom i heard was thinking of resigning and i was sent to KL to boost up the morale. Apparently, whatever i did or said had not made a difference at all.

Last Tuesday, just the week after i returned from KL, he msn-ed me to pre-alert me about his impending resignation. As there is a manager in KL who handles their administrative stuff, he would have to tender his resignation to her. But as i was his direct superior, he actually informed me first before handing in the letter.

Since i had expected it, it wasn't as shocking as it should have been. Knowing this guy, i did not think that there was way to make him change his mind, but then i'd still have to do my part to talk to him.

So what my boss and i did for the following days were several telephone conversations with that team member for more than an hour everytime. Basically he is happy with his job scope and workload. He also said that he appreciates having good bosses and that was why unlike all his previous resignation, he hesitated for very long this time. In the end, he still made the decision to move on because of what he perceived as a non-conducive working environment, and also because of his current pay.

I then asked him for his bottom line for a counter-offer, to which he quoted RM2K increment from his current pay after a day of consideration. He said this will be a figure that is too big a temptation to say no, and also big enough for him to overlook all the remarks thrown at him. I dutifully conveyed this message to my boss.

Yet, later on after another day of pondering, that team member changed his mind. He said he knew that this is a figure that our company would have difficulties giving, and nothing will change his mind anymore because he said even if we do obliged, he will feel so wrong about it and would have "no face" to see us again. Hence he told us not to go through all the hassles of talking to the company on counter offering anymore.

With that, both my boss and i agreed that we shall respect his decision and not pursue further. At the same time, we are speeding up our recruitment process.

Losing this member is very much like losing an arm, both to me and to the department. He is one of the pioneers who joined our team, and he has very good technical skills that the other team members lack. Even though i always believe that no one is indispensable in any organisation, i do seriously think and know that without this member, we are gonna have a hell of a tough time to come.

Yes, we can always look for a replacement, but knowing the market that is in shortage of such professionals, we can either get one in as good as him at an expensive price (probably amounting to the RM2K extra he asked for), or we can hire one within the budget ted pay but who will not be able to match up to his professionalism. I am really worried for the fate of our team, especially we are doing a few crucial projects now such as the USA and Libya.

Frankly, i feel bad about all these. As a leader, i failed to do anything to prevent it from happening, and then also failed to salvage the situation after it has happened. I really do not know nor enjoy doing all these people management work, but i gotta do it nonetheless, for that is part of my job. Unfortunately, my personality does not seem to fit the profile of a project manager very well.

Sigh, sometimes i really think i belong to the woods, living like a hermit -- of course, that is provided if there is electricity and Internet connection in the woods.


in a similar plight now, both of my subordinates are looking out for jobs, not that they're very good but it takes time to hire and train and there're many projects on hand....yet my boss doesn't seems to care still throwing booms everyday...

I dont mind staying in the woods without electricity and internet. In fact that was what happened to me last Friday!!!! No electricity and the maintance guy refused to fix it!!!! So i was accompanying by mosqitoes the whole night, the only diff is that I got to work the next day but living in the woods means no work! So I still prefer to live in the woods!

It is more worrying if his resignation would cause domino effect to other subordinates and making even low morale among them, at least that was what happened in my ex-manufacturing-company. Since feb there were about 5 personnels tendered (including me) in my ex-comp according to my msn friend. I can imagine the the anxiety of my boss and one from other department over this, especially we were in middle of a project and lots of fire-fighting too. Instead, the mgmt so bad that it always become our favourite talk during our lunch and teatime (the negative perception is very very high). My boss is good person, I'm grateful he's kind to me and protective too, but the problem is since he was promoted his skill and technical knowledge have deteriorated till he doesn't clear what's going on in the project, nor understand the architecture of it. And unlike "peasants" focus only their part, manager should oversee the whole system of it, which supposed to require more technical, but apparently the reverse is the trend :(.

"Nobody's indispensable" indeed has been frequent words in our cohort to tell if anyone of us finds a job, better seize it as job is just a job and we're always under-appreciated in my ex-company. The negative perceptions were so bad that instead we were motivating each to do better job, our tea+lunch talk discussion was job market, jobstreet, interviews, tender letter in front bosses. I'm not a manager (yet), but I understand that as a manager one should instill positive spirit to the subordinates. One should be looked up possessing great technical skill and exhibit it and earn people respect so that subordinates are indeed hands+legs rather than the brain. Think of in a war it is general that guides to victory, generals like Hannibal, Caesar and Korean Admiral Yi. Instead of remote control from capital, these generals went down to battlefield and coordinate formations, flanks, ambushes, etc etc, and instill the soldiers in speeches, war cries and reward after victory.

Always think about positive, positive. In fact during my last days in my ex-comp, I "volunteered" to work until 8-9pm to solve problems that have been hovering for some time(Ironically, I told my colleagues when resigned one should spend time in surfing net or taking long teatime break instead, but I did not do what i said). I told myself that if I can solve when nobody could (eventually i did them), I'm the greatest (actually the stupidest too). TRy to see project/staff mgmt as challenge. Maybe you should spend time in National Library to borrow some books about mgmt and comm skills. Or friends in HRM area? perhaps it may turn out fun fixing problems due with staffs and increase in productivity+efficiency as part of failure analysis. don think to fall back technical line, being technical would lead nowhere in career. you don't like to be led by dumb and apathetic manager, don't you? and of course , it will be great if you can be a technical ace + mgr at the same time.

electricity and internet won't make you survive in woods - you need food, water, and sewerage system too :).

steve jobs' inspiring speech at stanford?

and maybe you wanna try to talk to your "friend" like dilbert?

and little art of my own (quite lame) ...

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Monday, April 12, 2010 @ 3:47 am: Summer Bearista
Monday, April 12, 2010 @ 3:27 am: FB Status
Saturday, April 10, 2010 @ 3:46 am: Grandma's condition
Friday, April 09, 2010 @ 3:57 am: Dysfunctional family
Friday, April 09, 2010 @ 3:32 am: Alternative snack
Thursday, April 08, 2010 @ 4:21 am: Still unwell
Thursday, April 08, 2010 @ 3:58 am: To an angel
Wednesday, April 07, 2010 @ 3:54 am: Falling sick
Tuesday, April 06, 2010 @ 3:47 am: I need fixing
Tuesday, April 06, 2010 @ 3:26 am: The past (long) weekend