Some Reasons the Search Initially Began

No hiding it, this is a long entry and a lot has been going on since my last post. Official notice of when there will be official notice of layoffs has gone out, I’ve had to drive into the area of the office to meet with IT to help me with a computer issue and I’m still fighting with an insurance company about getting coverage for one bill.

Anyway, to pick up where I left off.. There are places I’ve come close, places that just by feel, felt more like home then where I currently am, but those leads, while promising leads within my current search, have often ended oddly and in a manner befitting a comedy or perhaps a comedic farce, but let me get back to those in a moment.

Since I’ve touched on some of what I’ve encountered in my job search, let me mention why I started searching for a new position after almost 7 years at (ABC).

My most current job search started slightly over two years ago, when, as mentioned, I saw (ABC) had ceased to be the (ABC) it was when I started. This made my search important to me but not as intense as perhaps it should have been even at that time.

Truthfully, all else being equal, if just one factor from the final months, let alone today, existed when my search started two years ago, as I noticed that (ABC) was no longer the place it had been when I was hired, I’d have been looking far more seriously from the start.

That one factor is an increasing feeling I no longer had a place, no longer belonged at (ABC).

DSCN2975

We’ll always want you.

That alone made me realize that even if other events hadn’t occurred, events which have made my search be one of great urgency, I’d still be looking with an increased seriousness, especially the less I feel like I belong or am wanted.

As things stand, the great sense of urgency itself arose when it was first announced there would be a significant funding cut to about one-third of the overall company budget due to a major sponsor cutting back on what they provided the company. Granted, from what I’ve been told by trusted sources, it could have been much worse, for had it been about a year prior, the donor’s cutting back might have been the instant demise of (ABC).

This was also before the Covid-19 pandemic and numerous other donors cutting back either this year or going forward where future budgets will be cut and more likely laid off and nothing will be stable on a 6 month, forget annual, basis.

Even before the pandemic there was no question of layoffs, and with other world events, COVID-19, having taken place, there was merely a brief delay in any layoff announcements, likely to wait to see where funding fell and likely finding further ways to make cutbacks to funding, and planning more layoffs and other changes.

For those remaining, there is the possible decrease in benefits, some other offices closing, possible reduction in hours of staff not “laid off” (this started in part when, during our work from home time, the office closed at noon Fridays… oh, for the time being the full week’s of work hours must be completed, and it was full oay, but who knows if tgst will last) possible cuts in salary to all staff, reduction in overall office space… and since at least some of these are items I’ve know were whispered about and are being put in action as a means to attempt to conserve funds… the latter, benefits and salary cuts, seems all but a certainty.

I do wonder though, if they decide to cut salaries, will the top brass also share in getting a salary cut and if so, will it be proportionality similar to all others cut? Or will they be given a pass as they are “working on solving” the issue and therefore “it’s more important than ever to retain good people at the top”?

If it’s the latter, well it would fit with the world today, but I’d still cry out in protest and argue they are part of the group that allowed us to get into this mess in the first place by not diversifying and spreading out our donors and sources of funds to the point no one donor cutting back would have such an impact, and therefore they should be the first to quietly and humbly take salary cuts to preserve not just jobs but the projects those jobs support.

Yes, I know what I said is not nearly as easy as it would seem on paper, but given how long that one major donor (who was seemingly so important they have directly or indirectly impacted who’s been retained in a leadership position through several regime changes since I joined) has remained a major donor, it doesn’t seem like much was done to even attempt the diversification of donors from a few large to many, many smaller.

This especially applies to the current CEO, who in various upper level positions has somehow lasted through no fewer than three major restructures to the top power structure (in just 4-years) rising from about 5th in line to end up in command. I’ve got a sneaking suspicion it has more to do with their ties to the major donor then their leadership abilities, but that is based on observation as to the former and is only speculation based on a conversation with a trusted source, as to the latter.

Still, it is my opinion that if any two people should be the first to take the preverbal bow to the audience before exiting stage left, it should be the current CEO and their 1st Louie (the COO).

While I understand what yet another disruption to the power structure, especially the resignation of two of the top officers, could look like to donors and the possible further impact to funding it could have on (ABC) especially during these times, I have a few things to say to that…

Firstly, that CEO should be the one held most accountable for not working to change and diversify the funding, especially being the only one left from the power structure that existed 7 years ago.

Over those seven years to the ascension to CEO, they were in multiple positions toward the upper echelons of power. Actually, for as many years as I’ve been there and more previous, they been in such a position, albeit not always at the very top, to influnce policy. If pressed, I’d say within the structure that existed when I first started, they might have only been fifth or sixth in the chain of command. Yet that still means they held tremendous power.

They had the ear of the CEO and others, the ability to influence policy and leverage contacts to gain new donors and yet they seemingly didn’t… granted I have no clue if they tried but it wasn’t until recently when the impact from this particular donor went from what would have been an instantaneously fatal blow to (ABC) to one that is instead likely to be a much slower, lingering demise, that they at least publicly started to lead the charge to diversify.

At that same time they were also talking to the staff about wonderful conversations they’ve had and what a wonderful relationship they’ve got with the major donor and went on to say the donor didn’t only cut what they did, what they had been funding to (ABC), because it was an across the board thing for them, that that means the impact was not just targeted at (ABC).

Fine, but saying our ship isn’t the only one in the fleet that’s rapidly taking on water doesn’t help the situation in the least or change the fact (ABC) is sinking.

To me, even their presumed attempt to offer comfort, to try softening the blow, was more a brag fest about their relationship with the major donor, the relationship being the only reason some say they are still here and are the only one of the old guard of eleven kept on through so many changes to leadership.  Of course, I must acknowledge their wonder relationship eith the donor has, to date, provrn so essential, so useful, that it, along with a Metro Pass, would get them a ride on the MTA.

I’ll be furtherly honest, I have no clue what part, if any, the CEO played in the diversifying suddenly happening, though I suspect as little as the bar tender does with bottling the whiskey.

It is entirely possible that the donor themselves merely gave far more advance warning of smaller cutbacks that were easier to make up for and were done in a manner that reduced the blow to a large one from a fatal one, before this one was announced.

I’ll go further to say that even if the plan to weaken the impact of this major donor possibly cutting back on funding, was a plan already in place by one of the previous two CEOs, long before this cutback was even suspected, and that these things taking the time they do to work, only started to come to fruition under the current CEO, it is they who are now taking bows for the result…

Regardless of which of any of those options or any other options is the truth, it remains my opinion that the current CEO failed multiple times and on multiple levels to take the necessary steps to, or push to, diversify the donor base as to ensure a majority of (ABC)’s eggs weren’t in one basket.

If they can prove otherwise, I will withdraw such a comment, but until they do, I fall back to the number one rule of leadership, “Everything is your fault”.

And yet somehow, despite the failings I’ve seen, despite what seemingly wasn’t done by them, even if that was just to become the squeaky wheel which couldn’t be ignored and which might have prevented this entirely or at least lessened it, along with their second in command (their 1st Louie, whose addition to the staff is its own story), they’ve been one of the few to survive far longer than those that might actually have been more helpful, able to exert far more of an impact and perform far more meaningful duties in keeping (ABC) afloat for just a bit longer, maybe until (ABC)’s version of the Carpathia arrives, but more on both of them later.

DSCN2929

I’m a cat, nothing is ever my fault.

Secondly, as I already intimated, it’s probably already too late to save (ABC). If anything, even before the economic crisis and the COVID-19 pandemic is likely to further decrease funding, (ABC) has been rapidly changing with those that are currently in command being so by-the-book that I think they use the book to decide when it’s time to eat and sleep.

They appearef far more focused on finding a way to let people go this time in a manner that didn’t anger those that are left and “avoids the mistakes” of the previous massive purge, then in finding a way to preserve jobs and maintain the family feel.

I’ll give them some credit, they certainly try to talk a good game, but I fear in their focus of saying everything just right (which means they say everything precisely wrong) they are missing the larger issue. That is, that it is likely no longer a matter of if the ship will sink, but how many more sunrises (ABC) will see before it is fully submerged.

Take their promise to be rather generous with the packages for those to be laid off, which the CEO discussed in a meeting and was later followed, that same day, with an e-mail repeating those promises but also included the massive disclaimer line of “It is important to note that these are our intentions today, but as we know, the world can change quickly and without warning so we will need to adapt to whatever comes our way.”.

To phrase it more succinctly and directly, ‘I’m saying this stuff but ain’t promising nothing’.

They are basically hoping that much like a commercial, people only hear the first part and ignore the disclaimer throwaway line or say, “we understand”.

I do understand the world is changing and nothing can be certain, but then again in such a situation I wouldn’t promise anyone anything as large as the moon or as small as two slices of cheese pizza, unless I am 100% certain I can deliver.

See, I get it that people tend to get upset when things change for the negative after being promised something heavily in their favor, this group seems to be missing that to this day, almost a month post layoffs.

Therefore, with so much unknown, with so many questions unanswered floating in my mind and propelling me to get out on my own terms, my urgency to search for an escape had increased within the last 6 months.

Yet, as the urgency increased, I found myself reaching ever increasing moments, points, during my search when I’m not sure if I should laugh at the absurdity of the entire thing, or cry from the frustration of continually feeling that I’m expanding a lot of time, effort, energy, and at times money, to move in any direction.

A direction that I’m not even sure is forward, but often feels like an expenditure of time, money, energy and goodwill to fight tooth and nail for 30 steps forward all to ensure I lose only 5 steps from that day’s starting position.

Okay, this is not entirely fair as there have been several moments when I’ve felt that I was on the brink of a great success, of being able to get away from the mess that was currently at (ABC), or in one case to walk away before it even truly began to be a mess and things reached the point of teetering on a great precipice.

Yet more on that moment’s rather comedic ending in a moment, as despite how close I might have come in that attempt, it didn’t happe. Meanwhile I was at a point where there were less than subtle signs that time wss running out much faster than I had initially thought and I might be forced to at least attempt to get something that is less than ideal.

The subtle signs included my department working on putting together a “Standard Operating Procedures” manual. A manual which includes step-by-step guides on how to perform each department member’s key duties. (tbc)

This entry was posted in cats, changes, changing world, job search. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Some Reasons the Search Initially Began

  1. angela1313 says:

    I am working now on a business development pan for a new business and your post really resonates with me. Customer dependence (or in your case, donor) isone of the top five obstacles for small and medium businesses(and some large ones as well). Your points are spot on.

    In my view modern corporate management most closely resembles the upper echelons of the more degenerate Roman emperors, and we know what happened there. So busy jockeying for power, no one is actually nurturing and building the business. When my my first developed Alzheimer’s I read every book on brain function in the library. During all that reading I came across some work which showed the qualities esteemed in CEOs and COOs are the ones we tag as sociopathic or even psychopathic in others. No wonder there are so many failures and scandals.

    I am reading your series with interest and wishing you all the best.

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