Friday 23 July 2004

Demanding Courtesy

Escalate this!
After the utterly spiteful mail I received from my boss on Tuesday, I had gotten to a point where I would not stand for any of it any more.
There has to be someone in the company to whom I could appeal to redress this situation and make it right, just and good. The idea that occurred to me was to forward it to both the CIO and HR Director, but on the insightful advise of a colleague I included the CEO in the circulation.
Do not get me wrong, all I wanted was for someone to attend to it and create a situation where I could leave the company in the best of spirits, having not burnt any of my bridges. Copying in the CEO was for the effect of having him wonder why he mailbox received this nonsense and have the other parties sort it out forthwith.
I sent the email under the title of Managerial Conduct on Wednesday evening and even copied in my boss, lest he be surprised at what I was stirring up.
By Thursday, afternoon, I was invited for a meeting with the HR Director and CIO. Not knowing what slant it would take, I asked if I could bring a colleague. The meeting arranger paused and then returned later to suggest that the meeting was going to be friendly and completely non-confrontational.
So, giving the benefit of doubt, I had my friend on standby but attended the meeting alone with some biscuits for coffee.
The meeting was pleasant, heart-warming and very positive, apart from condemning the lack of courtesy on the part of my manager, they offered to let me go immediately if I so wished. I however, decided I needed to finish a few tasks before leaving and so set the date for my last working act for the next Tuesday - 3 working days away.
I also asked that the CIO arrange a meeting with my boss to ensure that we met and parted on very amicable terms and that happened this afternoon.
Face-saving addict
As usual, in the persistent, interminable and obsessive face-saving nature of my boss, he consulted with one of my close colleagues, suggesting he allowed the CIO and HR Director to meet with me without him being present. It speaks volumes; as if I would have agreed to attend if he was to make a showing.
The CIO and HR Director had already said they would overrule him with regards to whatever redress I wanted, he either reports to them or the meeting and assurances were a farce. Sometimes the effrontery of the man blows me away.
He also suggested that my need for recognition was excessive, considering there are many more who have done a lot more and have received no acknowledgement or recognition. My point exactly, what is wrong in expressing gratitude to help increase productivity, goodwill and effectiveness at work?
Anyways, I am of the view that I would be well regarded when I leave and apart from referring to my boss, my activities are in a better light with everyone else but probably him.
The Letter what done it
Dear Lady/Gentlemen,
After much reflection, I am compelled to highlight what I regard a gross injustice in relation to my tenure of service at this company which runs to over 2 years.
I illustrate in some detail three particular grievances
  1. The way my resignation was handed and how I am being treated by my manager
  2. The inability of HR to mediate and adjudicate in conflict resolution
  3. The laissez-faire attitude to what could have been a better handled exit and handover process
I decided to seek other career opportunities immediately after a meeting with my manager Mr Boss which included 3 other attendees to defend my implementation of SMS in the Enterprise following standard Microsoft guidelines and 8 years of experience providing this service to conglomerates.
That meeting which was chaired by Mr Boss was a display of the most unacceptable and untenable use of language, innuendo and threats, none of which I have ever encountered on over 16 years of employment.
The way we were treated disrespectfully, shabbily and without integrity was legendary, it was the very last straw in a litany of events that forced a decision to leave.
When I handed in my notice of resignation, it was received with disdain and no acknowledgement of whatever I might have done in service to this company, even though I do have 2 performance review statements that commend my service, loyalty and professionalism.
In working out what is effectively going to be 7 weeks notice, I appealed to the good nature and reason of Mr Boss and well as the record of my service to allow either an early release or a 4-day week of 40 hours to no avail.
This was complicated by the fact that HR was unable to offer any mediation or conflict resolution. The medical opinion of my doctor was that this was creating a stress level impacting negatively on my health and ability to work, but I returned to work anyhow to complete my assignments as best as I could.
I am seriously concerned that nothing was being done to ensure that my activities and responsibilities are effectively handed over to some other personnel.
I suppose there is a difference of opinion between my colleagues who think my leaving would create a vacuum and my manager who by inference contends that my presence or absence is of no significance.
This is just an opinion, but I believe I deserve better than this petty attitude and use of reckless communication.
Whilst I am not under the illusion that anything would be done to redress this matter with a person so high in the management structure of the establishment, I am putting this on record as the view that the company represents of my service until refuted by a competent authority.
I have also attached for your perusal all email exchanges with Mr Boss, starting with my Letter of Resignation of the 10th of June 2004.
Thank you for your forbearance and time.
Yours sincerely,
That did it and did it well, I feel vindicated and everyone else who can see through this whole charade knows that it is best not to stand for discourtesy, no matter how high up the cadre the person is or how old-fashioned it seems.

Wednesday 21 July 2004

Utterly Spiteful Sower

The Sin of Resigning
You would have learnt over the last few weeks that I resigned my appointment from a cable company in early June and in previous blogs I highlighted reasons why I had to go.
This is all documented the listed blogs
However, I will entertain you to a commentary of events that took place after my last review of the situation in the next few blogs.
Meanwhile, it transpired that my boss who did nothing in the spirit and letter of developing his team decidedly held me to the letter of my notice period, details of our exchanged correspondence and the unfortunate impotence of our Human Resources department in conflict resolution would appear hereafter.
So yesterday, after so much angst expressed by colleagues who felt concerned that a replacement was not being found for my role, I called them into a meeting to help me decide the best way to address this issue.
We finally decided on clearly delineating what is left to be done and highlighting that fact to my boss. I reproduce the complete communication below, you might recognise some of the jargon or even the company this pertains to, if you do, you at least know what enquiries you have to make before joining that department.
My Concern about Handover issues
For all intents and purposes, I think I need to address the following basically for your information.
My last working day is the 30th of July 2004 and there are quite a number of projects and activities that I am involved in and trying to complete, especially those just recently raised.
These activities concern the following:
  • The EuroPC for ECC – Completion of the application repackaging set to be deployed on the client – Remedy, Contivity VPN Client testing and refining other applications after the first testing is performed, hopefully soon.
  • Repackaging of the Q.mail client, configured for the replacement of the existing server and a client version upgrade.
  • Repackaging of the Clarify eFrontOffice client SR1.8 – this would deal with outstanding Derby issues, remove the development tools and conduct the cache cleaning in a better managed way.
Furthermore, I had ideas for the SC&D which would have been in the pipeline execution in the next few months.
  • Working on Mozart 2.0 – refining the image, Java Runtime and Acrobat Reader updates, probable Office 2003 upgrade.
  • Upgrade to SMS 2003
Whilst, I would strive to complete these outstanding issues, I am not aware of anyone who would carry on any of these functions after I have left, it would be unfortunate that after having given what is effectively 7 weeks notice, this issue has yet to be properly addressed. It is unlikely that I can fulfil the outstanding issues, conduct a handover and fully document SC&D by the time I leave.
The functions PEBO covers are just the operation of the SMS environment.
Finally, considering how understanding and favourable you have been towards my departure, I have now taken the liberty to withdraw the offer made in my resignation letter to help out whoever takes over my role after I have left.
I trust I have duly acquainted you with the situation at hand.
Thanks and regards.
His reply
Hi Akin,
Thanks for sharing your concern for SC&D after your departure, I am sure the company will survive.
Best regards
My response
That is fine with me, I never considered myself indispensable. It has been a pleasure working for you.
My best regards
His final response
All the best wishes.
Best regards
I did forward this to HR just to highlight the fact that our relationship had deteriorated to such a level that one would really wonder what might have gone on before now.
The whole episode speaks volumes, but hey! I only have 8 more days of working for a man who in not coming to terms that I had resigned has mismanaged what could have been the most amicable parting and it only shows that my 2 years of service to him amounted to nothing when the reckoning was made.
It is a good thing I jumped; I wonder what would have happened if I was pushed, I probably would not be here to tell the tale.

Thursday 1 July 2004

Holidays do end

Knowing how to play
A radical Nigerian educationist once said, "They who do not know how to work, do not know how to play" Tai Solarin.
Contrasting the whole idea of holidays between the Nigerians and the West makes interesting reading.
I remember quite vividly many of my parent’s generation who took their annual leave, then did the utmost to exhaust themselves that by the time they return to work they are really in need of rest.
Not that they did not know how to work, but many had to work under undue stress, from management pressures, unstated expectations, career difficulties and the ever present superstitious psyche of being affected by situations that are always out of their control.
Everything is attributable to something no matter how inconsequential.
R-rated holidays
The ideal for some would be not in work in any month that contains the letter "R", though it could be argued that it is better to go on holiday in the months that contain the letter "R" - go figure.
Anyway, after 2 weeks that saw lots of sun and probably the signs of burning which might show as skin peeling in 2 weeks time and the attendant re-tanning of the tanned hue, one could conclude that it was good fun and I am well rested.
July, presents a host of new opportunities, a new job, starting a Master’s degree and relaxing in the knowledge that things would be OK.
More about the holidays later.