For nearly thirty twenty years, I’ve been writing computer programs and analyzing business processes so that companies can get things done more efficiently. Although my job resides in the Information Technology department, I’ve been in a lot of corporate environments.
At one bank, I was given a “hush-hush” programming assignment by my manager and told to complete it like any other assignment – but to not tell anyone except him when it was done. When it was done, he reviewed the output and informed me that another programmer on our team had been given the same assignment two weeks prior and still hadn’t been able to complete it. I was used as a baseline to prove the other programmer was incompetent; he was fired the same day. I felt horrible when I learned my skills had been used that way; I was still merely a programmer, relatively new to the field. I felt even worse when that same programmer showed up the next day, literally begging to be allowed to work for free so that he wouldn’t have to tell his family he’d lost his job.
At that same bank and the next bank, I helped improve the tax data collection and reporting processes for high-dollar trust accounts. That meant we needed fewer people handling the trust tax process in the back office. You can guess what happened at both banks.
I’ve worked at several insurance companies. At one, I wrote the code to identify insurance agents who hadn’t paid back advanced commissions on unearned (cancelled) insurance policies, enabling the company to take “appropriate disciplinary action” against agents – including taking several to court. It’s not a coincidence that most of those agents found they became unemployed right around that same point in time.
At a product distribution company, I improved programs to automate purchasing and reorder points, so that less manual intervention was required to ensure our warehouse was properly stocked. The purchasers helped me to understand how they did their jobs and the nuances of their work; while we all knew I had been told to improve the automation in the process, only one quickly figured out that it meant that the purchasing department would be downsized and was able to transfer just before the shoe dropped.
I do not enjoy causing hard-working co-workers to lose their jobs; that is not my goal. My goal is to improve and automate processes so that the employer has the freedom to redeploy workers into growing areas of the company or to allow other job duties to replace the streamlined duties that an employee previously was responsible for. Sometimes it doesn’t work out that way; either because the employer has their sight set on cutting the employee count or because the employees are unwilling and/or unable to transition into new positions.
Am I your enemy? I hope not.
I know how hard it is to lose your employment; I’ve been there too. I know how hard it can be to transition into a new position, a new job title or even a new, yet related, career from what you previously held. I’ve been there too. Not quite thirty years ago, I graduated with an English degree, hoping to enter into the writing field in some capacity. Somehow, I ended up first programming, then doing systems analysis and design, and now business analysis. At every position, I try to gain or improve transferable skills, because experience has taught me that none of us knows what’s around the career corner.