Andre is like Golden Boy in many ways and yet doesn’t annoy me but a fraction of how much Golden Boy does. Andre shares Clem’s right-wing politics and strong religious backbone. Returned missionary. Married Young. Got the job in part due to family connections (his brother is a crucial software developer, Clem’s dad is a church leader). Exudes a certain confidence that Clem does, despite a lack of justification, performance-wise. Also like Clem, it became pretty apparent pretty early that he was going places. Unlike Clem, however, Andre has a solid work ethic and is constantly trying to improve. And Clem strikes me as smarmy, while Andre is just overly serious.
A couple weeks ago, I happened to overhear a disagreement between my boss Willard and his sister-department counterpart George about other managers poaching from our deparment(s). It came out that someone was being shifted elsewhere. Willard thought this was good because the experience garnered in Reports & Legal Contracts would be valuable elsewhere. George saw it as bad because if someone doesn’t work in RLC, they lose ground on the training devoted to them. But what I remember most from the conversation was tha this particular person was getting a better position not necessarily because of their experience, but because of their “personal stature.”
Personal stature? I figured at that point that it was either Clem the Good Mormon Family Man or Andre the Good Mormon Family Man. Since Clem didn’t seem to have a clue what was going on, I correctly determined that it was Andre.
Personal stature? What the heck kind of criteria is that?
The job in particular is a phone-based support position in Troubleshooting. As it happens, I have no particular desire to be moved there despite the increase in pay. What I don’t think that Todd Cummings, the head of Troubleshooting, realized was that it used to be that Troubleshooting would never, ever hire someone from RLC. The old manager was emphatic about it. It was his view that RLC was incompetent as evidenced by the fact that problems occur with our reports and contracts with regularity - neverminding that we pass through an average of 300 a week, it’s the five that are wrong that get everyone’s attention. So he passed over Simon and Paige (when she worked here) in favor of someone with half the experience from the outside. Always from the outside.
We’ve always had a great relationship with Todd, a former account manager. He even bought our department pizza once to express his appreciation. So it wasn’t that much a surprise that he broke with his predecessor’s decisions, though it was disappointing that he took Andre without even finding out who else might have more experience. But I cut Todd some slack because I believe this is his first managerial position. I started poking into it and found out that Andre found out about the opening and pre-emptively asked for the position, so it was effectively filled before a casting call was necessary.
But while I understood how it happened, in the unravelling of events it occured to me that Todd might not even know of the bad blood we had with his predecessor. He might also not know what a wealth of experience exists in our department for future hires. I decided to go out on a limb and email Willard, letting him know that there was some resentment towards the decision and that it would be good to let Todd know that we might have some people to fill future openings.
Willard took my email and had a talk with the rest of the department heads. Willard went a step further and asked that any other department that has openings notify him and give RLC personnel preferential hiring when the qualifications are in the same ballpark. Much to my surprise (and George’s dismay), the new policy is that we must be notified of all openings outside our department. We are officially the farm system, which is actually an improvement over what we were. On the whole I believe it will be a good thing. Without advancement opportunities, we’re going to lose the best people to job offers elsewhere and only the worst (because they can’t find other work) will stick around. If you’re going to hire overqualified people (as Falstaff does), you need to make it a concern to give them a chance to utilize their skills or they will do so elsewhere.
It was quite gratifying to know that my email made a difference. We’ll see how long it lasts, though.