I’m Kind Of Unhappy Today

I intend this blog to be a way for me to comment on issues of the day that interest me, and to be able to share some of the places I go with friends. I really do not want it to become a Twitter-like listing of my moods of the day (which in general is fairly sunny).

But today something happened that has not happened before. I got demoted. My boss describes it as a way for me to put all my energy into engineering and testing. But the fact is I got demoted. I have not screwed anything up. This is personality and politics.

I work for a large contractor, who is in this case a subcontractor to a small business. The prime has a lead program guy, and I was the technical lead for the team, and the supervisor of the employees of the sub. I note for the record that said program lead guy does not work any aircraft modification program. He “monitors” them. The rest of the team, both the prime and us subs, we all work multiple programs with our Air Force customers. The AF guys like all of us subs just fine. The prime guys and the sub guys work well together (those prime guys that have real (not “monitor”) jobs, that is).

But the lead program guy, the one who does not have a real job, wants to know everything the rest of us do (those who can, do, the rest, monitor). He does not understand it. He gets mad when he is “surprised”, it does not matter if he was included from the start and just forgot, or if something cropped up in the past day. He gripes straight to my boss directly (in almost two years, he has NEVER once come to me with an issue).

So prime lead guy (who does not have a real job) apparently griped enough directly to my boss that my boss decided to demote me. I asked for reconsideration and got none. No support at all. This is the part I really don’t like. The prime lead guy – well, sometimes people just act like that; they don’t produce anything useful, but get all bent out of shape when they are not treated like the King Of All Things. But I’ve known my boss for more than 25 years and I expected better.

Some might argue that I got what I deserved. If I had emailed the prime lead guy everything that I got then he would not have been able to gripe (maybe that’s true, but he also griped about plenty that he was kept up about). I should have gone by his desk every day or so and given him a personal briefing (maybe, but I don’t expect people I work with to spoon feed me, that’s not being professional).

Besides, the really important thing is that the ultimate customers – the Air Force guys we work directly with, the guys who fly the airplane, the other support organizations, THEY are all quite pleased. So it really comes down to one guy, who doesn’t run any programs, griping about me, a guy who routinely works most of the programs in the office and with most of the people in the office (why not ALL of the people in the office? Some work on stuff I have nothing to do with, like engines and spare parts).

So now, to my great surprise, I am going to start looking for another job. I had really hoped to be able to finish my career out with this tremendous Air Force asset, but I frankly just do not feel any support for doing this. It won’t happen in the next month, because someone has to remain professional in all this, and it will be me, and I will not walk out on things I started. But I am afraid my days in this most wonderful of jobs are numbered.

4 Responses to “I’m Kind Of Unhappy Today”

  1. Harold Says:

    I am sorry to hear you are looking for a new job. I was afraid of this and warned John last week [and Karren too]. Selfishly, I hope I retire before you leave – if you leave. But since I am punching out via retirement I can not fault you. I would rather see Mr. Monitor no value added leave. Maybe this will blow over…….
    Try not to feel hurt, you are valued by your co-workers and friends.

  2. Bill Hensley Says:

    Thanks! The longer I kicked it around with Raegan the less upset I was. I can say for sure that I am six months away from starting to look – I’ve got an MPS test to finish. So the best revenge is probably to be the best at my job that I can be (sounds kind of Army?).

  3. James R. Stropu Says:

    I tell ya, Bill, I don’t know if I should feel relieved or upset that such micromanaging exists in other fields than education. It is exactly for such reasons as you describe that I may not finish my career as an educator. I feel your pain, pal.

  4. Bill Hensley Says:

    At the end of the week, things have not changed, and will not change. I will be training my replacement and he will become my supervisor over the next couple months; he seems to be a good guy and I know he is a hard worker and motivated, and he is not the cause of this.

    I pity (and despise just a bit, maybe) the one who doesn’t contribute but I believe is actively trying to hurt my company and has hurt me; I would not want his life or outlook.

    I am deeply, deeply disappointed with my manager and upper management for letting it happen.

    So this will be the end of my unhappy griping about this, and the start of the phase of doing something about it. I do really appreciate the expressions of support from friends and coworkers (and even more importantly, coworker friends, that’s the best of all worlds).

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