At the meeting on Thursday, two dreaded words came up. First was the “A” word. It was mentioned several times, usually with the word “voluntary” in front of it. Then, towards the end of the meeting, the dreaded “L” word was uttered.
The “A” word is “attrition.”
The “L” word is “layoffs.”
A freak thing happened a couple of weeks ago. We ran out of reqests. Whereas we were once behind by some 800 documents (a two week backlog, give or take), we busted through almost all of them. We in QA have some work, but OSI has none. And them running out means that we’re on borrowed time.
At first it was just a quirk. Everyone happened to be doing something else besides generating requests for a spell. But a couple weeks later, it became apparently systemic. When we found out that the Assistant Accounts Chief had left, we thought that might be it. But apparently he didn’t do much, anyway.
Requests are cyclical. When I was first hired, there was a lack of things to do. Then a process got changed and before we knew it we were knee-deep in (mostly) unnecessary requests. That’s apparently run its course and we’re sort of out in limbo.
It was noted by Willard weeks ago, though there were assurances that there was enough work to be done to keep everyone employed for years. It’s still true, but increasingly irrelevent. He’d been saying with confidence that there would be no layoffs, but he was a bit dour all week last week. Then the news at the meeting. And a chart:
Necessary QA: 2
Existing QA: 2
Necessary OSI: 4
Existing OSI: 10.5*
Known Attrition: 3.5
*Note: two people are known to be leaving soon. three are going from full-time to part-time once school starts again.
Now, Willard was 100% correct that there is enough work to keep everybody there for quite a while. But right now there is a lull and there will be for the forseeable future. So one of the following three things is likely to happen:
- They realize that resources are being wasted and will reconfigure things so that more requests are sent through RLC.
- They realize that resources are being wasted and rather than reconfigure things so that their employees will keep their jobs, they’ll just start laying people off and pick up more people when the requests inevitably start getting generated again.
- They’re going to take advantage of the opportunity to let go of some dead weight. My partner Simon and I have been comparing notes with Willard for a few weeks now. It would be a good managerial decision to go ahead and let go of a couple people. From a personal standpoint, though, the weak performers are the ones with the most to lose. Wife, kids, and mortgage.
My preference runs 1,3,2. We’ll see how that goes.
It may not ultimately be my problem. The good news is that there is an opening in the IT department. Willard fully expects to lose someone from OSI. Of the group, I’m not sure of any that are more qualified than I am. I have over two years of network administration experience under my belt and a college degree. No one else there can boast either. Unfortunately, Willard won’t have my back this time. Last time he wanted me to move along in part cause he didn’t want to lose Mindy. This time I’m the one he doesn’t want to lose. And I lost the other promotion to Mindy due to seniority, and if they go by seniority this time around I will lose out to Simon. I’d be okay with that, though. Simon is about to take on two step-kids and a mortgage. He needs the money more than I do.
Part of me is a little irritated with the opening. I’d finally resigned myself to my current position as other opportunities dried up. Now I have something to hope for again. That’s not always such a good thing.