Thursday, June 29, 2006

Smoke and Mirrors

When I was first told about the Help Desk opportunity down on The Pharm, I was a bit dubious. A long history with The Corporation had taught me never to take anything at face value and not to believe anything was true until it was put in writing. Even so, I was encouraged at the possibility.

But each step of the way lead to a more certain conclusion. I had been initially told that they were going to move "our best of the best" from The Bank to The Pharm. It sounded like it was a done deal and all that was required was the paperwork. But then we were told there was going to be an interview. The Site Manager tried to spin it as just another formality but, as I said, take nothing at face value.

When the interview finally came, it felt just like any other interview rather than the formality I had been lead to expect. Again, when the offer was first proposed, I was told that my training experience was part of the deal. They wanted me to be a trainer for the integration. But again, in the interview I learned that the integration was not what I had been told it was and my training experience was not actually necessary. I was being interviewed to be just another analyst.

Finally, I learned that after the interviews, they decided to hire only one. They had interviewed six people, three of us and three apparently from the general population (or perhaps from The Corporation but not this Help Desk) So, the idea that the best of the best were being transferred was completely debunked.

The reason, the Site Manager told me, was that I created my own policies and that it's not my place to do so. I had been asked what my weakness was and I said that I took the time necessary to resolve issues. This sometimes lead to conflicts with the desire to resolve issues in 7 minutes or open a ticket (not an actual policy but a regularly reiterated guideline) but, if I went over that, it was always in the interest of customer service. The interviewers nodded their heads and agreed that the desire to take as much time as is necessary to resolve the issue was a foundation on which their Help Desk was built. They said that they had no such policy artificially limiting the amount of time taken by an analyst on a call. But, in truth, they had already made their decision. They saw my willingness to ignore policy as a threat to corporate harmony and dropped me. They don't want people that care about clients more than they care about policies and procedures. They want drones that follow orders.

My Site Manager's reaction to this has me believing that he actually thought that I was being transferred to be a trainer. And since I'm pretty sure that the people at The Pharm knew what they wanted and would have conveyed it to our Corporate HR, it was then my own company that spun the tale.

Smoke and mirrors. HR uses the mirrors to reflect your dreams and aspirations back upon you. I was looking to do training so HR made it seem like I was going to be a trainer. I was skeptical so they made it seem like a done deal. They stroked my ego by saying I was the best of the best. HR uses the smoke as layer of obfuscation between me and the truth. They lied to my Site Manager so that he could pass on these untruths with a straight face and a clear conscience.

This all happened on Monday but I haven't written about it until now because, even though I wasn't surprised at the outcome, I was still disappointed. On top of that, there were a number of application rollouts this weekend and nearly half a dozen analysts have left the Help Desk so we were sorely understaffed for the increased call volume. It has been one call after another, all day, all week. Tuesday I took twice as many calls as usual. After those kinds of days I've just gone home, played some "Star Wars: Battlefront," watched some TV and gone to bed. I haven't been motivated to make something to eat, let alone be creative in a blog. And even being physically and emotionally exhausted and going to bed early, I've not been getting much sleep. I need a break but I have too much of a work ethic to blow off work for a mental health day.

So, I return to square one having learned a valuable lesson: Lie your ass off during the interview. When they ask what your weakness is, be prepared with something piddling and unrelated, even if you think the truth could be spun to your advantage. They are lying to you and don't deserve the truth in return.

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