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  1. #1
    Senior Member mikeybikes's Avatar
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    The Morale at Work is Gone

    The morale here is terrible. I work at a law firm in the IT department doing desktop support. I fix lawyers and their staff's PCs. The law firm has over a hundred attorneys in this office.

    Just last week, the firm laid off some staff (mail room, IT dept, secretaries, paralegals, etc). There have been staff quitting or retiring and not getting replaced. Yet, we are bringing on more attorneys into the firm.

    Nobody has any confidence in the current condition of our firm.

    How does someone handle this? I have a hard enough time coming into work when everyone I talk to is depressed. Any amazing Foo advice?
    My Bikes: 2009 Breezer Uptown EX | 1980 Miyata Six Ten | 1970 Hercules Three-Two-Speed
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  2. #2
    Galveston County Texas 10 Wheels's Avatar
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    Get as far away from attorneys as you can.
    [SIZE=1][B]What I like about Texas[/B]
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  3. #3
    Banned. ModoVincere's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikeybikes View Post
    How does someone handle this? I have a hard enough time coming into work when everyone I talk to is depressed. Any amazing Foo advice?
    Drink...lots.

  4. #4
    Administrator CbadRider's Avatar
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    I was in a similar situation last year and I ended up finding a new job. If you are really unhappy, start looking and getting your name out to headhunters.
    Quote Originally Posted by toddles View Post
    So Tom only hires people that are nutty? Is part of the requirement to be a moderator on this site is that you have to be nuts??
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  5. #5
    GATC
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    Jump before you're pushed.

  6. #6
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    I've been through numerous layoffs. Morale improves eventually.

  7. #7
    You Know!? For Kids! jsharr's Avatar
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    Go ahead and take the stapler home now.
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    Quote Originally Posted by colorider View Post
    Phobias are for irrational fears. Fear of junk ripping badgers is perfectly rational. Those things are nasty.

  8. #8
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    We had a huge staff. Now we have a tiny staff. I am the only one who has been part of both. Morale does get better, but it's hard to get people to understand that 36 people used to do less work than the 5 people do now. Once they get it, they get off your back a bit.

  9. #9
    King of the Plukers Spreggy's Avatar
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    I'll play the other angle. When times are tough, companies are always looking for people to step up and kick some butt. Be the beacon of optimism and usefulness, and your bosses will appreciate it. Find creative ways to effect the bottom line through saving resources or streamlining, and find ways to make your department fit into the new paradigm of less staff by automating or finding software that will help them or whatever. Become a highly valued member of the core group there. At some point the pendulum will swing again toward prosperity, how do you want to be remembered when raises and promotions are back in vogue?
    “Impossible is just a big word thrown around by small men who find it easier to live in the world they've been given than to explore the power they have to change it. Impossible is not a fact. It's an opinion. Impossible is not a declaration. It's a dare. Impossible is potential. Impossible is temporary. Impossible is nothing.”
    ― Muhammad Ali

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spreggy View Post
    I'll play the other angle. When times are tough, companies are always looking for people to step up and kick some butt. Be the beacon of optimism and usefulness, and your bosses will appreciate it. Find creative ways to effect the bottom line through saving resources or streamlining, and find ways to make your department fit into the new paradigm of less staff by automating or finding software that will help them or whatever. Become a highly valued member of the core group there. At some point the pendulum will swing again toward prosperity, how do you want to be remembered when raises and promotions are back in vogue?
    Very well put. This is exactly how I survived 10+ layoffs.
    I'm sure it will end eventually and then I will be off to my next challenge.

  11. #11
    Banned. ModoVincere's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spreggy View Post
    I'll play the other angle. When times are tough, companies are always looking for people to step up and kick some butt. Be the beacon of optimism and usefulness, and your bosses will appreciate it. Find creative ways to effect the bottom line through saving resources or streamlining, and find ways to make your department fit into the new paradigm of less staff by automating or finding software that will help them or whatever. Become a highly valued member of the core group there. At some point the pendulum will swing again toward prosperity, how do you want to be remembered when raises and promotions are back in vogue?
    +1,000,000

  12. #12
    Senior Member Mithrandir's Avatar
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    Worked in a similar situation. Banking industry though. Company laid off 4 people (out of 40, that's a lot), and didn't appear to put any thought into how valuable they actually were to the company. One of them was the only person who actually knew how to install our software at customer sites. The next month was morbidly hilarious as people ran around like chickens with their heads cut off trying to figure out how the installation process went. My manager, one of the ones involved in the firing decisions, literally told me "Well I simply had no idea she was the only one who knew how to do that job".

    Really?! You're her manager! That one line right there told me all I needed to know: the employment decisions of the company were not merit based in any way, and simply political. The other person who held the same position as the installer was married to the CFO and was skating by doing no work for years, and didn't have a clue.

    A week later they asked everyone to write up and provide management with their resumes so they would know what everyone actually does at the company and what they are capable of doing. That backfired pretty badly... since people had to write up their resumes, it was only natural to decide "hey, while I have this updated, why not send it out to other companies and see what's out there?". A massive voluntary departure by 15 people over the next 6 months shook up the company pretty badly (me being #15). And after I left they still had to make more layoffs. Amazingly the company is still operating 3 years later, so I guess my prediction that they were done wasn't quite as accurate as I thought.

    But I'm glad I left. If you're unhappy, it doesn't hurt to seek greener pastures.

  13. #13
    Gears? CliftonGK1's Avatar
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    Do you have a job there, or a career? If you have a long term career plan with the place, then look to be the optimistic guy with the voice of positive change and rainbows and kittens for everyone.
    If it's just a job, come in and do your work, don't complain, go home, and collect a paycheck every two weeks. In your spare time, look for a new job (or a career, if that's whatcha want.)
    "I feel like my world was classier before I found cyclocross."
    - Mandi M.

  14. #14
    Senior Member Mithrandir's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spreggy View Post
    I'll play the other angle. When times are tough, companies are always looking for people to step up and kick some butt. Be the beacon of optimism and usefulness, and your bosses will appreciate it. Find creative ways to effect the bottom line through saving resources or streamlining, and find ways to make your department fit into the new paradigm of less staff by automating or finding software that will help them or whatever. Become a highly valued member of the core group there. At some point the pendulum will swing again toward prosperity, how do you want to be remembered when raises and promotions are back in vogue?
    This could backfire. Some places are overly political, and if the wrong person gets wind of you trying to find ways to be more efficient and eliminate their redundant positions, the people in the redundant positions may conspire to have you canned instead. NEVER underestimate how much effort useless people can put into vengeance... after all they spend most of their day not doing any work!

    At the company I posted about previously I got in trouble by doing this. Didn't affect my employment, but it definitely affected my compensation. We had this process where we would require developers to open this gigantic text file (CSV) in order to modify forms on our application since it was all data-driven. It was impossible to find anything in it, and it was just a gigantic mess, and it didn't strictly conform to CSV anyhow so any editors like Excel would not read it right.

    Anyway, I thought it was ridiculous that they were paying $40/hr developers to spend hours making stupid changes in an unorganized text file, so I took 4 hours one day and made a visual form editor that would read the form, let you move prompts around, change the text, etc, and it would let developers accomplish what used to be a 4 hour task in less than 5 minutes. In fact my intent was to make it so easy to use we could move it out of the development division and into the customization division where the work should have been done in the first place, and they get paid $25/hr.

    What I didn't know, of course, was that one of the lead developers at the company kept this manual editing system intentionally and killed any attempts to automate it. It turns out he had been skating by for years not doing any actual work. He was in charge of distributing work tickets and would give himself 90% of the form change requests, so he could spend all his time working on really easy things and padding out his time (it was relatively easy to say that a 3 hour form change took 5 hours, for example, to give himself free time during the day). As soon as I unveiled this new system, he decided to get me back and continuously complained to my bosses that I wasn't any good and I was slacking and that my work was sub-par. I didn't find out until after I left and another lead developer filled me in with the dirt, but he was responsible for torpedoing my annual raises for my first 2 years there.

    I just found out they made this dirtbag a manager a few months ago. Sounds about right for them, to be honest. Promote the worthless, fire the performers.

    So yeah. Politics. They suck. Glad I quit a long time ago.

  15. #15
    Me and the cat... Pamestique's Avatar
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    I'm work now for 45 years... that said, I've been in good places and bad and through good times and bad. It's just natural and you have to learn to be flexible. If your situation looks iffy, and laidoffs are coming (and frankly since you are the IT guy I would think about the fact IT is usually the first to go cause companies now contract out that service) look for something else. I've had alot of different careers in my lifetime... all because I lost one job and had to find another. It's all about personal attitude however - stayed away from office politics and negative people - your work environment is what you make it.
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  16. #16
    Me and the cat... Pamestique's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spreggy View Post
    I'll play the other angle. When times are tough, companies are always looking for people to step up and kick some butt. Be the beacon of optimism and usefulness, and your bosses will appreciate it. Find creative ways to effect the bottom line through saving resources or streamlining, and find ways to make your department fit into the new paradigm of less staff by automating or finding software that will help them or whatever. Become a highly valued member of the core group there. At some point the pendulum will swing again toward prosperity, how do you want to be remembered when raises and promotions are back in vogue?
    This is perfect advice....
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  17. #17
    Pwnerer Wordbiker's Avatar
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    First things first: establish a Raptor-Free Zone.

    All your petty problems become meaningless when facing a hungry raptor.
    Quote Originally Posted by ahsposo View Post
    Ski, bike and wish I was gay.

  18. #18
    Strong with the Fred Big_e's Avatar
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    I work for the city and the same thing is happening here. Employees are being layed off, many are retiring, a small few are quitting because of the low moral and a very small few have passed away. New employees keep coming in.

    We're solving the problem by all the few remaining old-hands gathering into a corps or support group. We get the job done and our bosses know that they can come to us for any difficult cases. Heck, we wrote the book for our jobs in many departments and have more experience than many of our supervisors and managers.

    The new employees do make us laugh. They remind us of ourselves about 30 yrs ago; 20 in my case. They're going to change the world, don't you know! The idea is to hire new inspectors at lower wages and keep them there. We know we're being phased out so we provide support, training, move up when we can or just bid our time until retirement...which is not too far off for me.
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  19. #19
    Senior Member jdon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spreggy View Post
    I'll play the other angle. When times are tough, companies are always looking for people to step up and kick some butt. Be the beacon of optimism and usefulness, and your bosses will appreciate it. Find creative ways to effect the bottom line through saving resources or streamlining, and find ways to make your department fit into the new paradigm of less staff by automating or finding software that will help them or whatever. Become a highly valued member of the core group there. At some point the pendulum will swing again toward prosperity, how do you want to be remembered when raises and promotions are back in vogue?
    BS!!

    When corporations cut back its all about numbers. They don't give a crap how good a job you did, what you saved the company or the little morale boost you tried to give coworkers. You are gone. You are just a number and by eliminating as many of you as they can, management makes targets and receives their bonuses. They take from you and line their own pockets without a second thought as to your well being.

    Yes, I have been in the corporate world for 30 years now and have seen this played out over and over again.

    Go ahead and be the bright light though.

  20. #20
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    I call BS to your BS.

  21. #21
    Senior Member Mithrandir's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DataJunkie View Post
    I call BS to your BS.
    He's not wrong. I've been through 4 rounds of layoffs in my career. Without a doubt, the people who always get cut are the ones who have the highest salaries; you know, the ones who busted their asses making the company loads of money and were rewarded with promotions and raises.

    Then a few years down the line a professional beancounter looks at an Excel spreadsheet, sees someone making twice as much as someone else you can hire out of college, and they get cut. Unless it's a really small company, no one EVER remembers the good things you've done in the past.

  22. #22
    Chepooka StupidlyBrave's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DataJunkie View Post
    I call BS to your BS.
    My personal experience is consistent with what DJ is saying.

  23. #23
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    I only wanted to call BS to someone calling BS.
    I have been through many more layoffs than Mithrandir.
    In all actuality the truth is that sometimes the guy making the difference is kept. Sometimes it is whoever makes the most money who is let go.

  24. #24
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    In other words it is crap shoot.

  25. #25
    Senior Member JonnyHK's Avatar
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    Start making copies of the REALLY interesting files.

    If you do get canned, maybe you can sell them to someone for some decent cash.

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