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Archive for October 7th, 2010

Quandary: Career Advancement of Technical Engineers Part IV

with 2 comments

It was about a month ago when I was able to witness, at an all-hands meeting, an employee ask a Vice President what the company goals has to do with him.  You can come up to speed by going back to here.

Now it happened again – at a different company.  (paraphrase) “What am I doing here?”  ‘Why are you asking me to contribute?  I am already doing my job as a tiny cog in a giant machine – leave me alone.”

The Scenario

This particular company, a global company with $30 billion in annual revenue, created a “collaboration space” for its employees available from its internal corporate network.  Waves of business units, divisions, and  functional units were added to the collaboration space over time. The collaboration space includes forums, document sharing, blogs, events calendars, and other capability that serves as a social collaboration and meeting space among employees across the globe.

One functional area consisting of  about 350 people was added a few days ago.  Employees in that functional area got an e-mail message with a URL  inviting them to come visit the space and contribute.  One employee, let’s call him “Daniel”, has a question.

Daniel has a question

It seems that Daniel looked to see who his colleagues where in this collaboration space and found a bunch of executives including himself and others.  Should he be in the same group with a bunch of corporate executives?  Was it a mistake?

In the message below, Daniel refers to the executives as the “upper floors” and refers to himself as “in the basement” doing work “stoking boilers”.  Why an I here?  What does this have to do with me?  Daniel, as does every employee, has a picture on file that is included with his posting in the collaboration space.  Daniel looks to be about 50 years old.

The message below from Daniel is original.  Places where you see brackets [ ] is where I had to edit out specific company information for the purposes of posting this.  Daniel wrote to Susan.  Susan is the company “Communications and Analyst Relations Manager”

Hi Susan,

I really have a basic question — Is there value for [ this company ] or me to be in this group? I’m a [ legacy systems ] programmer working on the [ project in ] Los Angeles.  Seems like most of the folks that are in this group are in the upper floors in our “building”, and our [] team is one of those groups that is kind of in the basement,  stoking the boilers.  What kind of work roles within [ this company ] do you expect to see for the people in this group?

Thanks, Daniel

Susan’s reply
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Written by frrl

October 7, 2010 at 1:29 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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