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Not My Problem

My current company is a software service provider, and my department specializes in a niche ERP application. The model under which we operate is simple – we train fresh graduate engineers in the technical aspects of the application, and as they work they way upwards, they eventually build some expertise in some area – a niche within a niche. For some it is the complex interfacing skills (with third party applications), for others it may be system administration, and for the rest it is the ERP’s application to some specific industry. The common factor in all these cases is “working your way up” – taking on a variety of challenges before finding something you would like to specialize in; you usually get enlightened about your preferred specialization after about 4-6 years of work.

* * *

A few weeks ago, I had to fill a position for a client, where the requirement was expressly technical – the engineer was not expected to understand the client’s industry. He would be given purely technical problems to solve. I called up a person – let’s call him S. S has close to 2 years of total experience, and for the past 6 months has been working for one of our larger clients (large = more revenue for us). However, a couple of months ago the client got into a financial crunch, and most of the work was suspended – putting S out of work.

So when I appraised S about the new work that I had for him, I was stunned by his answer. “I don’t want this kind of work. I only want the kind of work that I am used to doing.”

I told him that the way the economy is, having some work, however undesirable, is much better than having no work at all. He nonchalantly replied, “having no work to do is not my problem. It’s your responsibility to find work for me.” I was speechless, and ended the meeting.

If it had been my previous organization, S would have got a round of heavy firing, and would have had to work on the new assignment anyway. But then the “culture” of this place is different. We do not “offend” or “hurt” people. We do not do things which would potentially risk their jobs.

So what if he’s a non-performer with a holier-than-thou attitude?

Let the business suffer; it’s the employees that are more important.

Categories: Corporate Tales Tags: , ,
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  1. April 20, 2010 at 1:16 PM

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