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In case you are wondering

why I've not been posting. It's because my new job is kicking my ass. And I've got some serious reservations about it and the way this division does business. I used to be very company loyal and loved my job. To the point that even though I didn't like Peoria, IL that much, I could see myself spending my whole career there and eventually retiring from that division of the company. I've come to realize that most of my company loyalty took a powder when they shut down our office for no good reason in November.

I was off on a work related trip with the rep from one of our biggest printers for the the last two days. We were touring their plant in Indiana. I've always liked that printer. So I started talking to the rep about the possibility of future employment with that company. At the old place, I never would have talked to a rep about things like that.

And it's not that my present work is hard or I don't like doing it, I do. It's time consuming though and I have a basic conflict with the business philosophy I guess.

One big thing I have a problem with is off-shoring the work on our products. What I have observed in other companies when you offshore your work because it's cheaper, two things happen. 1) You end up with crappy work (you get what you pay for) and 2) The management starts wondering if they can pay someone in India, a fraction of what they are paying you, why do they need to pay you at all? And next comes corporate restructuring and downsizing. Been there, done that. Didn't even get a damned t-shirt.

At a recent meeting to discuss our division headed for an all digital workflow, one ofthe production supervisors raised some concern. It's her job to negotiate with book printers and CD duplicators, The talk was about how in 5 years we are going for total digital delivery of our products. No more printing. She as understandably upset. What would her future be then if there was no paper to negotiate prices on? And hey, I do CD's. So what about my job too? Of course they tried to reassure us that we would all have a place in the new structure. But reassurances, like oral contracts are not worth the paper they are not written on.

There are a couple other things that bug me about this place but I'm just sort of riding the fence on those issues. It's the offshoring that is really bugging me. So for now I have to say I'm keeping my options open. Come April, I'm eligible to apply for other jobs in the company so perhaps I'll start looking hard at the Dubuque, IA arm of the company or try to transfer back into image editing where I could put my skills to better use. And perhaps I'll be happier there and more secure. Because even a digital delivery system needs good images.




( 12 comments — Leave a comment )
May. 23rd, 2007 04:04 pm (UTC)
I think publishing as it has existed in the past is in big trouble. There's indications of this all over but their hidden as the industry compensates.

I'm concerned about anyone deeply engaged with publishing right now unless they are surfing the curve with a company completely engaged in not just exploring but making the transition into the new realities. You're one of the few people with the capacity to ride that curve successfully. For anyone else, I think implementing a plan for transitioning out of publishing is critical. For you, I think it's a good idea.

I went though this myself in the computer industry. My little company went from wild success in minicomputers where they could easily afford to pay a tech (not an engineer) $40k a year in 1980 dollars to the point they really struggled for market reasons to be able to pay an even better tech $12K a year just two years later. We billed at $120.00 and hour initially and clients felt privledged to pay that in 1978 and by 1985 the same clients thought they were overcharged at $40.00 per hour for much better service. After I left it bottomed out at around $23.00 per hour and most of the good people left the business.

Homeostasis is a bitch. Companies have to absorb all of that because cutting dead wood is so expensive from a legal, procedural, training, and recruitment POV. It means that the folk who WORK have to produce to carry all the dead wood as well.

Fast track, environmentally induced evolution is a messy business and 98% of all mutations are lethal.
May. 24th, 2007 05:15 am (UTC)
I think books and newspapers will always be around. People love the thought of e-books but when it comes down to it, most people really don't want to read a whole book on the computer screen. But we are heading for digital delivery of most of our products in addition to still printing the student texts. My trick is just to find somewhere I can fit in with the changing system with my skills. Because the job I'm doing now will be no more in five years or less no matter what they want to tell me to the contrary.

Thanks for the always insightful thoughts!

May. 23rd, 2007 05:10 pm (UTC)
I was just wondering about you yesterday, and generally nosy as to what you were up to.

Thanks for checking in.
May. 24th, 2007 05:15 am (UTC)
Your most welcome my friend.

May. 23rd, 2007 05:51 pm (UTC)
That's ok. I've not been posting because I'm lame...
At least you are busy :)
May. 24th, 2007 05:16 am (UTC)
Well, I'm lame too. It's not all being busy.

May. 23rd, 2007 10:29 pm (UTC)
I've been wondering what happened to you. Give your job a swift kick for me.

Zelda says "woof" by the way.
May. 24th, 2007 05:17 am (UTC)
"woof" to Zelda. i'll have to give the whole industry a swift kick. I love publishing but this particular job seems to not have a very long half life.

May. 24th, 2007 03:07 am (UTC)
Good to hear from you - glad you are doing well. Sorry that work has been rough.

May. 24th, 2007 05:19 am (UTC)
The work itself is not so tough, just the amount of it and the long hours I have to put in to stay afloat. It will slow down soon though and then I get to learn someone else's job so when the shift to e-delivery comes, I can transition to something else. If I'm still in this division that is.


May. 24th, 2007 01:27 pm (UTC)
I for one love the whole book "thing", the way a new book crinkles, turning pages, the timelessness of putting pen to paper. Everyone just picks up books and reads them, they lose the wonder of this incredible creation, expressing ourselves in print. I have never read an on-line book and I think I have listened to two books on tape while stuck in traffic. But, they were books I had already read myself. I buy books, stack them on bookshelves, share them with friends, fall in love with authors, fall out of love with authors. I can't image a world without real paper books. Typically I have one downstairs, one by my bed, one in the car that I am reading all at the same time. How can you highlight, leave notes, dog ear pages, and press flowers without real paper books? What really worries me is that if they do print paper books as an alternative for customers that don't want the electronic version the paper books will become prohibitively expensive. Ah well, some times "progress" sucks. KkTomyris
May. 28th, 2007 09:32 pm (UTC)
Big Company Blues
While I am enjoying my job, mainly because I found a Skunk Works bubble to work in, I have gone through two re-orgs already, and I've only been working for Lockheed since January. I haven't even started doing the work they hired me for; I'm on "temporary assignment". As I said, I do love what I'm doing now, but the Big Corporation still scares me.

Of course, I'd rather be independently wealthy, along with Karen. I don't think sudden excessive wealth would spoil me, but I'm willing to take that chance!

( 12 comments — Leave a comment )