I have been fairly quiet these last few months. Honestly 2013 has not been a great year for my family or myself. These last few months however have been a dramatic and lest just say an “educational” experience.
Back in September I was offered a full time position in a small firm in Cape Coral. With the economy the way it is, Obamacare becoming a reality, and my wife and I wanting to have a child soon the idea of a steady paycheck and not having to pay self employment taxes looked pretty good.
I took the Job.Its the reason why I have not pushed Lanterns Light LLC much. I was after stability, the company was small, but busy. I got to work with some astounding people, and I got to do something that I never really got a chance to do working on my own. I got to work with the other people in my industry. Oh I have had contacts before, people that sub contracted me work, or I have consulted with but this was the first time I got to be part of a team doing what I was trained to do.
This all lasted about a month and a half. The firm that I was working for was sold to a much larger firm. Now to his credit the owner of the small firm did not have to bring me along, I was the new guy and still learning how things were done in his company, but he did.
In October I was working for the larger firm. Apparently they were not sure what to do with me, you see my skill set was never in on specific IT discipline. It evolved from handling the smaller business here in SWFL, residential customers and my own studies. So they put me in as an assistant to a gentleman that handled there procurement, and handled there in house server prep and repairs.
Now position was not glamorous. I spent a lot of time prepping computers for other techs, imaging hard drives, and receiving inventory. I ran parts to other techs when they needed me and picked up computers for repair.
But I am a professional, I did what I was told. Also I was told that the guy I was working with was a genius, a real hardware guru (witch was true). I was also told that training with him would lead to other things. (witch was not true). So I stuck with it.
Now this was a big change for me. I had gone from running my own business to doing things that an IT intern would normally been tasked with. I was wondering if anyone from the Large firm ever did look at my resume. Also while the small firm was a quick 15 minutes from my home, getting to the large firm was an hour drive each way. It came down to it my family and I were breaking even with the cost of gas getting me back and forth to work.
There were some other trade offs, my wife changed her work schedule to make sure she could get there witch meant most night I would come home and it would just be me and our cat. I ended up having to refer out some clients that I have had for years, people that trusted me. I ended up having to end a business relationship that I had developed for over 6 years. I no longer had control of my schedule. I missed my old haunts, the places I use to network. Also the company was very strict about overtime. So it was a hard adjustment for me being use to working 10 to 14 hours and a stretch.
But I thought It was all going to be worth it. I was working for a company that had an incredible reputation. That I was starting at the bottom that if I do my job, that I do what was asked of me and did it well that I would move up in the company. That this was just the start. Also in a few months I could get health insurance, start building my 401k.
So I stuck with it. I went in each day with a positive attitude on time an ready to work. I did what I was told I completed my tasks to the best of my ability. Cause that I thought I had a future there. It was worth the commute, the menial tasks, the less then stellar paycheck to have this companies name on my resume. To have steady paycheck to down the line provide the security that I wanted for my family.
“I am sorry, you work hard and you do good work but I need to let you go” That’s what my supervisor told me literally two days after Christmas. It turned out that I was hired by the large firm as a favor to the owner of the small firm. I didn’t understand, I told my supervisor “I thought that the idea was that I train with you for a while then I would move up in the company. That I would be able to do tech work again?” Apparently that plan was news to him because he then told me. “That was never going to happen.” You see I was not the first that this had happened too. In years past they would hire this man an assistant because he would get bogged down. Eventually things would get caught up and then, the assistant would be let go. Now I don’t know what the pervious people that held my position were told, also I don’t know if was deceived or that this was a miscommunication between the small and large firm. All I know was that what I was told and the truth were miles apart.
I would be lying if I said that this didn’t hurt. That for doing what I was told and for doing it well I was rewarded by getting fired. I can say that when it happened I gathered my things quietly. Shook my supervisors hand, and walked away with my dignity. I went to the owner of the small firm now an executive in the large firm thanked him for the opportunity and I walked out the door.
So what I have learned:
Look at what the company has invested in you.
Looking back I should have seen this coming. They never activated my desk phone, they never gave me my own login for some of there software. I just thought that they wanted me working right away and those were details to be worked out later. In reality those details were never going to be worked out since everyone knew that this job was temporary but me.
When you Job description does not match the work be wary.
When I started with the large firm and had to do paper work my job description was for a Network engineer. The closest thing I did to that with the company was stocking wireless access points on a shelf. Mostly I did what I was asked because I wanted to be a team player to do my part no mater what it is to help the company. They asked me to run parts I said “okay”, they asked me to unload a truck I said “where do you want it?”
The larger the company, the larger the detachment
I was let go because the company owner could not justify my salary for the work I was doing. However the work I was doing needed to be done. My supervisor has an amazing amount of responsibility and no shortage of work to be done. Not only that the owner of the company would task him multiple times a day pulling him away from other work. The owner of this company had no idea of the work I was doing, that I helped get thing caught up. Now in a few weeks my Supervisor will be behind again. The work needs to be done but all the Owner looked at was a Profit and Loss statement.
Now, I am not trying to blame anyone this is not what writing this was about. I have used general terms ie: Small firm, Supervisor not only to protect myself and others involved but there is nothing to gain by damaging anyone reputation. Why I am writing this is that I do hope that others could learn from this. That I can turn this whole mess into something positive, something useful.
Now I am at a cross roads, do I look for another Job, or do I go back to being the Owner of Lanterns Light LLC. Stability v. Freedom, Me doing everything v. Me doing 1 thing for someone else. So my friends, my family, my clients, I want to hear your opinion.