Absurd Spices

Fun and frustration from a gimp with an axe to grind. After all, absurdity is the spice of life. There will also be Punch and Pie

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Family Owned, but not Family Operated.

Afternoon Folks,

So here I sit today, wondering what the hell to write here. Should I express my political outrage? Share an amusing anecdote? This blog thing is a lot of pressure.

Actually, I’ve been thinking about work and, more on point, teamwork. See, I work for a smallish/medium-sized bank here in AZ. I am not sure what the total employee count is, but it is nowhere near the total count for the company I used work for.

Said previous employer is a juggernaut in their field. Who, by the way, does mega projects in Engineering, Procurement and Construction, including, in their history some notable projects. The Chunnel. Boston’s Big Dig. The Hoover Dam. Palo Verde Nuclear (nuke-u-ler) Power Plant. Also, several infrastructure rebuilding jobs in the land of burgeoning Mideast Democracy, Iraq.

Both the company I used to work for and where I work now are privately owned. The latter has, within its company values, a clause that we endeavor to have fun 80% of the time. The former had no such proclamation. The latter is a smallish company, but the former is a huge multi-national.

So, the question that forms in my malcontent mind is, “Why was I so happy at a company where I was one face in tens of thousands, rather than the cozy small business to which I give my 40 hours a week?” There is a constant sense that something is rather wrong here. With the 80% fun time mission statement, even.

I think the difference is the sense of Community. It boggles my mind that a behemoth such as my former company had a feel just like a huge happy family. Here, I feel like it’s a family reunion where everyone is a third cousin. There is no bond there. Here, Happy Hour is ignored and opportunities to team build seem little to nil.

Now, I’m not whining because we aren’t all having pajama parties and telling ghost stories. I am merely noting how the family effect helped keep the machine well-oiled and on the road.

The benefits of the Family-type workplace:

  1. You can be yourself with family and not have to be wrappped in your PC shroud.
  2. You are more apt to take a minute and really listen to a family member’s problems or issues.
  3. You tend to want to see family member succeed and don’t undermine or sabotage their success with whining, complaining or talking behind their back.
  4. You will always go the extra mile for family.
  5. With family, The Buck Stops Here!

So, here I sit; manning the helpdesk phones, watching the buck get passed from group to group, steering clear of any sensitive subjects that might actually allow me to know and bond with my co-workers. Blogging all of this.

My advice: Ask personal questions. Never turn down a lunch invitation. Always say yes to Happy Hour. Go the extra mile.

You see these people sometime more than you own real family. Get to know them. Get to like them. Get to trust them. Get together outside of work. With this, you’ll get a job you can stand, and group of folks that you can trust to help, no matter how big the issue.

But that’s just my $.02. Happy working!

-Jesse W.

P.S. Carnival of Comedy here at Striving for Average. I first found out about this on Frank J’s IMAO. Good reading. Give the Carnival and Frank a visit.


At 11/15/2005 11:24 AM, Anonymous SLAP said...



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