Friday, July 24, 2009

The Old -New employee

For the past 2 days I attended the new employee orientation. I was with new employees who have been with the company for only a few weeks or months. I was the oldest having been with the company for almost 14 years. But I was asked to attend because I am new to the country and zone having been here for only 4 months. It was a good orientation and I was able to learn more from this orientation than in my past years in the company. I have never felt close to the company except during these past few months since I arrived here. With all that they have done for me in the recent month, like transporting my whole family here, have increased my sense of loyalty.

The speakers where great featuring a few grizzled but lively presenters. All are seasoned veterans who have spent at least 25 years in the company. One presenter reminded me of the late author of ‘The Last Lecture’. It was great to see the new employee orientation from the eyes of an old employee. It gave me a sense of pride to be one of the 'old' people around. I was the only one from Asia and I think most of the people thought that I seemed to be from an exotic land. I met a few interesting people and had a few missed opportunities to mingle more with the people there. But generally it was a very relaxing 2 days to learn more about the company. I also had a chance to go to the gym after the orientation.

I did not attempt to work during the training and left my computer at the office. I came this morning and saw that my boss arranged meetings with the external suppliers which I should have done. He was in a grumpy mood when I told him that I would bring my son to driving school for a few minutes. He also arranged the meeting in the afternoon when I believe he knew I already had a meeting booked with my functional boss. I think there might be some tension between my functional boss and my hierarchical boss. Also some changes will be coming soon with a new leader coming on board. I think there will be a sea change coming with a lot of pain for the contractors. I think the local staff will be asked to step up and do more work as some of the tasks will move offshore rather than on site.

There are a lot of old friendships and loyalties here that may be affected. I have to tread carefully because there are tensions shimmering below the surface. I am the new person here and I think am being used as a pawn between 2 opposing camps – the reformers and the status quo folks. It’s the usual change sweeping in and the usual folks are resisting. This company is known as being dynamic with changes happening all the time and some people in the leadership will use the economic crisis to transform and rock the boat. I have seen these office struggles all my life that I am not as excited or concerned as before. One gets to accept the inevitable and learn how to ride the waves like surfboarding. At least I now know the terrain with the employee orientation and I have more confidence as well learning about the systems.

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