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Thursday, July 26, 2007

Calls, part 2

Well, my second day of calling local Quality Assurance managers went pretty badly.

Out of five people I tried to contact on Tuesday, two were unreachable - as in, the information I had carefully researched turned out to be wrong. Or maybe things had changed at these companies since I did my research two weeks ago.

One of the remaining three I did manage to get through to - but he was in a meeting. Said to call back later.

For the other two I left messages. One of them returned my call, but apparently quickly wrote me off as some sort of salesman or outside consultant. Kinda hard to explain "No, I'm just some out-of-work guy looking for a job by unconventional channels." At least the conventional channels are still open to me, for what that's worth.

In the middle of my round of calls I received a call that completely threw me off my stride.

The caller ID indicated it was from my former employer. An unfamiliar female voice informed me that hourly jobs were available, and asked if I would like to come to a meeting on Wednesday at 1:00.

This wasn't really a surprise. An article published a few weeks ago stated that the company had recalled "almost all" of the employees it laid off at the end of February. My neighbor brought this to my attention when she asked me when I would be starting. I knew nothing about this at the time. After a few calls I learned that people had, in fact, been recalled, though to positions other than the ones which had been eliminated.

So I called Human Resources about three weeks ago. My contact there confirmed the information, and told me that I would be receiving a letter from the company in about two weeks.

Well, no letter ever arrived, but this call was the follow up.

I said yes.

There were three of us there yesterday: one was a 28-year veteran, next to whom I felt like a newbie with only 15 years under my belt. The third was an articulate youngster covered with piercings and earlobe rings (not earrings, but one inch wide rings of metal inserted into holes in his distended earlobes). We were given a quick tour of the plant and shown three jobs. I stepped back and let the other two see everything in close up - for two of the three jobs, I could have been giving the tour; one of them was in the department I started in fifteen years ago, and the other was in disc replication, the department for whom I had done extensive Statistical Process Control work in the second phase of my SPC Coordinator job from 1996 through 1998. (The third job was in Printing, which didn't interest me at all - too many nasty chemical fumes.)

At the end of the tour we were asked what our first choices would be. I chose the disc replication job. I was able to beg off a start date until August 8, which gives me a little more time to secure a more career-oriented position somewhere else, and gives me a deadline to focus on.

The pay isn't great, relatively speaking. Factoring in my bonus, the new job will involve a 1/3 pay cut - which still probably puts it in the upper 10% of available jobs in this area. I will retain all my old seniority and benefits, though all of my vacation time for this year has already been paid out, so any time off would have to be without pay.

The job is day shift on a 4x4 schedule, something I did for the first two years of my employment and missed terribly: four twelve-hour days on, four days off, with occasional mandatory overtime. This works out really well for me from a time perspective: my commute is at least 45 minutes each way, so instead of spending 90 minutes in the car five days out of every seven, I will now spend 90 minutes on the road four days out of every eight. When I was working, weekdays essentially consisted of wake, eat, shower, commute, work, commute, eat, sleep, with a little time for blogging thrown in but not much else, all extracurricular activities packed into the weekend. I usually spent at least nine or ten hours at work each day, so a twelve hour workday isn't that much more. The extra time off between shifts will be welcome, though I've pretty much had my fill of free time for a while.

And the job will be...nice. No worries, other than doing the job well, and learning an aspect of the DVD manufacturing process from another point of view. No calling customers begging them for work, or begging them to provide us with the components required to do their work. No sitting by the phone waiting for it to ring, no waiting at the computer for the next urgent e-mail to arrive. No wondering if tomorrow there will be more work. All that stuff is Somebody Else's Problem. Disc replication is the company's core business, which is part of the reason why the position of DVD Asset Manager for the Compression, Encoding, and Authoring facility was eliminated.

Of course I won't stop looking. I don't intend to spend the rest of my life as an organic component of a disc replication line. DVDs won't be around forever, and I know that my employment status could change in a heartbeat. But for now, it looks like I once again have a source of income.


~Deb said...

You're blessed with something many people don't have----a steady income and a good job. Is pay the biggest thing in life? Probably not...but remember, you have to really love what you do in order to create "happiness" with your career.

I hope things go the way you want them to!

Marc said...

Congrats on the job opportunity. My philosophy is that your job's sole purpose is to give you money to do the things you want to do with your life.

marcoshark said...

Son of a..... Well, in one respect H., I am happy for you. At least you have a real option in front of you. I just thing the-company-who-shall-not-be-named, could have done this whole thing a lot better without all the stuff you had to go through.

Jennifer said...

Glad to hear it. You know the old saying - it's easier to find a job when you have a job. And, if you do find something after the 8th, at least you'll have the satisfaction of telling your new/old company to take a hike!

Gort said...

Jen beat me to it. It's easier to find a job when you have a job. You need a living but keep looking for something you'll be happy with.

dee said...

Income is good, and I echo what everyone else says about finding a job when you already have a job.

And the part about then being able to tell your former employer to go pee up a rope will feel especially sweet.

Marc said...

I thought the old saying was "it's easier to find a woman when you have a woman". After all Seinfeld did an episode on that so you know it has to be true.

D.B. Echo said...

Thanks, everybody!

hedera said...

Since I was on vacation, I'm late with this, but congratulations, and may they stay in business just long enough for you to find something really good somewhere else, and then go spectacularly belly-up a month or so after you start at your brilliant new job that pays 50% over your OLD salary... Treating long-time employees like that is the reason I no longer shop at Circuit City.