Confessions of a Rocket Scientist
Sunday, October 23, 2005
  Surviving Restructure
Back in August, just before I went on vacation, we got some bad news where I was working. It seemed that the company had decided to let go of about 25% of its work force and "restructure." I was given a stay of execution. I could expect to work for another month or two until my current project was completed.
I saw a lot of people box up their stuff and leave that day. Just a few days earlier one of these folks, a former colleague from a former employer, was telling me how he felt so fortunate in having found this place when our previous employer had been restructuring and letting people go.
Well I could see the handwriting on the wall. It's time to get looking. I posted my resume on the various job sites and started submitting my name for listed positions. I told my boss right away that I would be looking. He said that I had to do what I had to do, and he understood.
Things started looking up. While on vacation I got a few calls and actually set up a couple of interviews. I kept my boss informed of this all along. As I can now see, that was a mistake.
I thought I could trust him. I really thought we had a professional rapport and mutual respect. My delusions came to an end when he took me aside and told me to pack up my stuff.
Look, I knew it was coming. The work had dried up and there wasn't enough to keep two people on staff. If he had simply said that, I would have understood, shook hands, and gone on my way without an ill thought. But that was not how he handled it. I was scolded for spending too much time looking for another job. This was, according to him, "unprofessional." He insisted on escorting me to my cube to clean it out, and I was escorted from the building. Did he really think I was going to sabotage something? Or is this what he would have done in the same situation?
I am at a loss to explain his behavior. All of the time I took off was vacation time I had coming. I had gone so far as to do some work at home to keep up with the schedule. And all the time I was interviewing, I was under the impression that he approved. If he hadn't, I certainly would not have kept him informed of my activities.
This whole episode has left a bad taste in my mouth. I can understand a company doing what it has to do in order to stay in business. But I can never understand somebody who betrays a confidence.
Well, I was played like a trout. I believed in the basic integrity of my supervisor and payed the price for my
naivete. After nearly 40 years in the workforce you would think I should know better. But I still have this childlike optimism that people are basically decent. I now know at least one more person who is not.
So now I'm "between gigs" looking for work. I have enough saved that money isn't a major problem right now, but I really want to find work as soon as possible. As for my former boss, I wish for him that, as he goes through life, he is treated with the same level of consideration by everyone he meets as he showed me on my last day.

The continuing story of a man, his hobby, and the search for a really good cup of coffee.

"The first cup of coffee in the morning recapitulates Phylogeny." -J. Pournelle

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Location: Quakertown, Pennsylvania, United States

Two time cancer survivor, happily married, LaSalle Alumnus

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