There’s a joke about a cook serving elephant-rabbit stew. A customer asks about the contents. “Equal parts elephant and rabbit – one of each!”.
At my company there are two lines of business. I work for the rabbit side – about 2500 people providing billing services and software to the phone, cable, and utility industries. We’re white collar professionals. Developers, project managers, technical writers, testers (including me), and management and support staff to make it all work. The other line of business is call centers, and that elephant weighs about 75,000 people around the world.
Well, no more.
I found out yesterday that the rabbit has been sold. It’s effective in 60 days. I’m not naming my company or the new company, but they are findable if you want. I will be working for a US subsidiary of a large Japanese conglomerate.
This clears up a lot of questions that have been going around. I had to move floors recently. They were separating rabbit workers from elephant workers – a big move, hundreds of people. There have been moves before – team consolidations, re-orgs – but this was massive. I mentioned to an elephant co-worker about the potential sale, based on the floor moves, and the next day it was announced. He asked if I had any inside information. Nope. Just connecting the dots.
So there’s a lot of uncertainty, but a lot of hope. The focus will be technological and include customer relations, instead of being focused on customer relations and happening to include technology. One analysis from a billing magazine (forwarded by my manager) says that the
business unit should benefit from no longer being the red-headed step child within a company that really just wants to run call centers
The only down-side I can see isn’t personal. Last fall, the company was encouraging volunteerism. They want to be a good corporate citizen, which is applaudable. The incentive was a set of prizes, $5,000 each, for the top three charities in terms of volunteer hours. I wanted to help out with Kids Against Hunger and filled out a form indicating my interest. The reply I got thanked me for being the leader of the KAH volunteer effort – an escalation from what I was intending. So I stepped up and started recruiting. I ended up with enough hours (lots of volunteers, from both the elephant and rabbit sides) to make it into the top three. I didn’t attend the award presentation. I was working at home because I was sick with my abdominal problems, and if I was sick enough to not go in to work, I should be sick enough not to go in for a free lunch. Unfortunately, I think that program will stay with the elephant side of the business.
So, as the old curse goes, I live in interesting times. I think it will turn out well. I am optimistic by nature. My hope, though, isn’t in the new purchaser, or the transition team. I live in the world, and work for a company, but my hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness. Yeah, I know, I oughta write it down. Probably make a pretty good song.