Monday, July 4, 2011

An Explaination of Sorts

Not that I really owe anybody and explanation, but I thought one was in order because my posting has fallen off as of late. Yeah, I noticed it too.
 I mentioned a couple of posts back that I applied for my Boss's job when he moved on. I confess that I threw my hat in the ring at the last minute for what might be considered some poor reasons. I did not apply at first because the list of requirements included a BA, which I lack and they preferred a Master's Degree, which ain't gonna happen at this stage in my life. What I do have is 38 years experience doing this sort of work. When I found out that 3 others who also lack major parts of the requirements also threw their hats in, I followed suit. At the time, I thought "What the Hell?" I also thought that I wanted to be on the 'inside' of this show, and not on the outside as one of the interview committee, which I had been asked to join.
 I mentioned earlier that I thought they were just giving us the courtesy of an interview and would cast us aside citing the fact that we missed a 'Major Requirement'.  Today, as I write this, I'm not so sure. They flew an independent HR guy halfway across the country to give the first round of interviews as an unbiased pair of ears. That part went as expected, but then they changed the game and we were all interviewed by the internal team which is made up of people we work with. These interviews were a lot rougher because these people know us and we can't 'skate the truth', we have to be honest, and in some cases explain decisions we have made in the past that didn't work out so well.
 They have a tough job making a selection, and the final two or three will board a plane and go across the country to interview with the Division President. Did I mention that this is a Staff Level Manager's position? Actually this position is responsible for around 70 production level folks and has about a half dozen supervisors reporting to it. There is also a union contract to negotiate every few years as well as $40 million in annual production to get out the door on time. So I think it's fair to say that a lot rides on this guy's head.
 So this is why I haven't written much lately. I have been getting the impression that I might have a (slight) chance of getting this job. My interviewers have made some comments that indicate I surprised them. They haven't taken anybody out of the running yet, and we have some heavy hitters applying from the outside with the shiny MBA's falling out of their front pockets. Still, I have been struck by the idea that I 'might' just have a chance, which never occurred to me before. My grapevine works pretty well, and I know that a few guys didn't do so well in the interviews. That's no surprise to any of us. However, my grapevine, in this case includes one of the interviewers and he is understandably not telling me details of any importance, just things that I had already guessed and we already knew would happen. It would be unprofessional for me to ask, or him to offer, anything that would betray the trust he holds.  I'll just have to wait like the rest of the group.
 This has had me thinking all night, every night. Can I do this job? What will be my first mistake? How will I handle this [major problem] or that [major problem]? How do I get through the interview with the President, who I have only met once, in a hallway, as we walked? How will I stand up against 'the other guy' who has the college, the $800 suit, the fancy shoes, and all the current catch phrases?
 I admit, I don't work in those circles, but I have been advising people in those circles for a long time now. In many cases I have snatched them back from the brink of a catastrophic decision based on their college education, no doubt, many, many times.
 I am a trench guy. I run the job like we run fires. Find out EXACTLY what is going on from the people that are doing the work. Meetings take too long. Get off your ass and go SEE what the problem is. That's me and that's how I get things done faster than anybody I know. I would really love to have a shot at this job and show them how a working man can run a company based on what he has learned over many years of actually 'making stuff' instead of reading about how it is done and having meetings to discuss it.
 The other consideration is that none of us wants to break in a new Boss. That takes an awful lot of effort and we have too much work to do.
 Knowing my Company as I do, I think it's gonna be another 4-5 weeks before we see anything close to a decision. I've had 3 interviews so far, and with folks taking vacations, I suspect things will slow down now. I am anxious to get this over with because I am not the only one that has had to pick up the slack left by not having a Boss. We're all trying to make things happen but it takes a lot more effort and time when you have to go and search for a Staff member to give approvals.
 Just give me the damned job and I'll show you how it's supposed to be done.

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