pmsumner: (Default)
Once again my delightful employers have decided that the roulette wheel of future employment shall be spun. Yes, we're downsizing.

There is a positive side to it this time, at least: they've told us in advance. The last 2 rounds of redundancies came relatively out of the blue. This advance notice is a double-edged sword. We got a de-motivational speech from the owner on Wednesday, telling us that they were effectively closing a subsidiary company in the US, then sent an email (yes, an email) round at 1630 on Thursday telling us that there would be cuts. As of Friday evening, we are still no wiser as to how many they want to get rid of, what departments will be affected. No news on anything.

On a more positive note, I had an interesting discussion this morning with a chap from a recruitment agency (are they psychic?!), talking about a job in Chester that I might be interested in. I have to update my CV this weekend.

Speaking of which, how the hell do I describe my job?

Well by title, I am a Group Technical Support & Validation engineer within the development department.

I currently spend a lot of time on a specific project. Testing and assisting with the development of a bespoke web-based Linux, Apache, MySQL & PHP (LAMP) application which provides a health monitoring solution for our digital recording units. This includes master/slave synchronisation (written ourselves as MySQL doesn't support this natively) and all the problems this brings up. Dealing with mobile units and the problems this introduces (e.g. recorders on public transport), simplifying installation (automating the building of an RPM & installation scripts) and general Linux system administration.

I am responsible for testing and approving (or rejecting) hard drives, CD/DVD drives and any other 3rd-party hardware used in our units.

I provide an interface between development and anybody else who shouldn't be talking directly to developers. I need to communicate clearly and at the right level with end users, developers, directors, marketing, training, customer services and more.

I have specific responsibility for supporting and testing AoE RAID devices. I have worked closely with the manufacturers to learn everything I can about them, including initial configuration, maintenance and recovering from single/multiple drive failures.

I'm jointly responsible for testing and releasing new software on our digital recorders. Testing that new software doesn't introduce new bugs, that new features work as expected. I work very closely with development teams to resolve bugs.

On top of this there's whatever else needs doing. General dogsbody. If it needs doing within the department, and it's not specifically a developer's job, I'll probably end up with it.

Ok then, that wasn't as hard as I thought it would be to write down. It sounded like a lot when I was thinking about it but it's not that bad.

I look forward to seeing my CV when I am done...
location: LL11
Mood:: 'blah' blah
pmsumner: (Default)
Though I went back to work on Thursday and Friday, and refused to talk on the phone. I suspect it was a good thing and that if I'd have taken calls I'd have ended up even worse.

I think I might make a counter-proposal at work regarding redundancies, something along the lines of working part time or changing hours or something related. I've also got another option, which is making the EMEA support job permanent and changing job titles. I don't know how to work it best, though I've got some time to think about it.

This weekend the good lady and myself went to Tesco and traded in our Clubcard points for vouchers to spend on wine. £25 worth of clubcard vouchers equals £50 worth of wine tokens. Oh my did we go on a spree... :) We've now got enough wine for ohhhh, at least a week! I don't think 12 bottles for £50 is too bad, considering that we got 4 bottles of cheap-ass-but-decent-enough Cuvee Prestige.

Been enjoying what I've seen so far of "The Secret Life of the Airport". It's possibly sad and geeky, but I really enjoyed "The Secret Life of the Motorway". Also been watching "James May on the Moon" which was fascinating and awe-inspiring.

Read-through of act II of The Secret Garden was amusing on Thursday. I vocalzoned myself up and just went for it, those things are disgusting but work miracles. The kid playing Mary was in stitches - she'd obviously not read through the script before-hand and found out that she has some rather uhhm, unpleasant things to say to the school-teacher. "I hope you get hit by a lorry and your head falls off" had her nearly rolling on the floor!

I can't decide if I'm looking forward to this show or not! I've not got a huge amount to do, but have some key dialogue and take part in 2 important songs. I think it could be an impressive show, but I think we are going to struggle with some of the bloke's bits. The story of amateur dramatics nationwide, apparently.
Music:: American Dad - Bush Comes to Dinner
location: CH3
Mood:: 'okay' okay
pmsumner: (Default)
posted by [personal profile] pmsumner at 04:07pm on 26/05/2009 under ,
We have more news which is trickling slowly through the company. So far we have about 25 people that we know of, out of a workforce of ~250 (I think), so a 10% cut is about right.

In that 25, we have people from development (hardware & software), validation, support, customer services, stores, repairs, product management and sales.

I've already started applying for new positions. I know from bitter experience how slow the world of recruitment can be. I've been looking at what happens should the worst happen - i.e. I get the boot and don't have other employment arranged. Looks like I would get some money from the state, but really not much (just enough to keep me from defaulting on debt repayments) and I definitely wouldn't get it for long, and wouldn't be able to keep up my share of household bills!

I've got 3 applications in, 2 for the local NHS trust and 1 for Carphone Warehouse. CPWH isn't ideal for me in location terms, as it's a bit of a trek, but I'm not in a position where I can be particularly choosy. Economic downturn + possible job loss = Phil who'll accept more travel than he would do previously.

I've also got a couple of other applications I need to fill in the next couple of days for Shropshire. Annoyingly - I'm struggling to find anything interesting that I have a slim chance of getting in the private sector.
location: WA4
pmsumner: (Default)
posted by [personal profile] pmsumner at 03:05pm on 13/11/2008 under , ,
As you probably know if you've been reading my automatically posted Tweets, the past week has been an interesting one in work-terms.  Friday morning at 10-ish the whole floor was pulled into the break room and told that the company would be shedding ~35 jobs in the support, sales, IT and customer service departments worldwide.  We were told to go sit down and wait.

About 30 minutes later our team was pulled aside by our boss and told that we weren't being "shed", and we talked about it for a while.  Turns out that we had lost:
- Half the customer service team (3 people)
- One of the field engineers
- The customer service manager
- Half the sales force (4 or 5, we're still not sure)
- The manager of our "Fusion" program, which is in place to reward high-spending customers.
- One of the IT dept (only 3 of them anyhow!)

So it's been weird.  None of us can make sense of the people who have gone, considering the direction the company has been taking lately in terms of sales (more direct sales as opposed to selling through distribution) and the effort & money that has gone into the fusion program only to seemingly abandon it now.

The doomed have been in and out the office a few times and it's hugely uncomfortable.  I try not to feel guilty about it (being sat here when they're sat at home) but it's difficult at times.  We're all discussing what the bosses are doing, what the ultimate aim is, and hopefully when the "consultation period" is up and the people are no longer employees we'll get some answers.

However, in more positive news I have an interview.  It's for a Desktop Support Analyst position at Carphone Warehouse Networks (formerly Opal Networks) in Irlam.  It's the wrong physical location to be perfect, but I don't have any trust in this company any more.  Once they've done one round of redundancies, I am going to wager that the chances of another wave being round the corner are quite high.  So, job applications are going to be sent out seriously now, rather than just here and there when I see something that grabs my attention.
Mood:: 'drained' drained
location: Work

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