Wednesday, February 07, 2007


I have had the worst time lately getting motivated at work. I can't concentrate for any length of time and am only sporadically productive. While this has given me time to be distracted by you-all (blogging) it is certainly not what I am being paid to do.

I am not excited about my work anymore. Not even my impending trips to the middle-east (which could be because they are being pushed back and pushed back) are lighting my fire. I am not sure why - but maybe we'll discover this together.

I have had a tough year. My mother-in-law went into hospice last March and died last December. Laura was gone for 3 months during that time, which had its own consequences. I missed her terribly. I also missed her paycheck. Our finances took a hit as she wasn't paid for the time she was gone. The constant background hum of her mother's condition, when was the end going to be, etc. was there and wore on us both.

Work hasn't been a fun place to be either. We exited a 2 year bankruptcy in August of 2005 being bought by another company. We have (before, during, and after the period of bankruptcy) closed @ 30 plants. That's approximately 13,000 people that have lost jobs. 5 of those plants are (were) in this small town I live in. This company manufactures textiles - sheets, towels, blankets & pillows. In 2000 (before any of these plant closings) we had almost 2 billion dollars in sales. I think last year we had @800,000 - 900,000 in sales. The Corporate offices have been moved from here to New York. 90% of what I do now is in support of sourcing already-manufactured goods from overseas (China, Pakistan, Turkey, etc.). My current project is to get ready for converting a plant we bought in Bahrain over to our systems. We are also installing systems in a plant in Pakistan - this is a joint-venture, not an outright purchase. Within a year or two we will be selling more sourced goods than manufactured goods.

It doesn't help either that the company that bought us has not been in manufacturing before. The man chosen to be our new CEO hates this town, has said aloud that he will never come back to this hick town (hence the move of the corporate function to New York). Almost all of upper management has been replaced with their people and I really think that the new management think we don't know what we're doing and are of no relative value to the company. I was told in no uncertain terms that when I reviewed those reporting to me that there WILL NOT BE anyone rated above meets-requirements. Nor will there be any promotions. "No one working for a company who lost $90 million last year is an above-average performer" and I guess then no one deserves a raise either.

I used to be proud of the company I work for. Everywhere I go, everywhere I shop I looked to see if our sheets/towels are being sold (or used - in hotels). If I saw them, I would point it out to people. I no longer do this. I am trying to be happy to still have a job after all of those who no longer do, but it doesn't do much for me. But, I can't leave in the middle of this huge months-long project either. The man I work for has been my boss (directly and indirectly) since I came to work here and I wouldn't do that to him.

I don't want to start a pity party here, I guess I'm using this to explore my feelings. I like where I'm living, it's a great little town and it's growing (we are getting a car manufacturing plant, it's currently under construction). But, I've often felt bad about not being closer to my wife's family. Her dad is in his 80's (but will probably outlive me) and all of her sisters live in KC (except one who lives 3 hours south in Springfield). The IT market up there isn't the greatest, though and the cost of living is a good bit higher. However - I love living in the south. My mom is from a few hours south of here and my most vivid memories growing up are from when we were here. I love the people, the accent!, the manners (which are disappearing), business with a handshake (when my daughter had her flat tire, I sent her to the place where I buy my tires at and they fixed her up immediately - I went by after work to pay the bill. This same business did me a big favor, I was in Louisiana and my wife called me upset - she had 2 flat tires. I called the tire place, they drove over, pulled her tires, fixed them and took them back to put them on. When I returned to town a week later I went by to pay them. They didn't charge me for all of the extra work they did to go get them and take them back - all based on a phone call from me 1000 miles away.) I see the proprietor around town (as I do for the other places I do business) at lunch or shopping after work and often arrange for things to get done. I have lived in a lot of places and haven't had that experience before living here.

What I really need to do is to find a way to deal with it. If I'm not ready to leave here, then I need to get motivated - they deserve to get 100% of my attention and work while I am accepting their salary. I can reevaluate whether to stay or go after this year when I'm finished with the current projects. Even though I love it here, I've always moved and I enjoy new places and new experiences. Who knows, maybe I will have made peace with the new company and will want to stay. Or maybe we will have gone under and I will be forced to change. Either way, that's the future and now is now.

gotta do what'cha gotta do.

6 deeply creased, dogeared comment(s):

urban-urchin said...

bob email me, I may have some info for you...

It sucks to feel like you do. But I admire that you realize you have to give 100% or get out.

urban-urchin said...

I hit submit too soon. I meant to add, I know you'll get through this, and I'm sorry.

Lee said...

Well, you've got a lot to think about. I always end up thankful for the tough times (even tho they suck when you're in 'em) because it seems to be the only thing that causes change, forces me out of my ruts. In my experience, change is good.

Good luck!

Thailand Gal said...

How long do you have until retirement? I think there comes a point where we have to balance out what we can realistically and ethically give to an employer along with our own well-being. It may be time for you to consider retirement.

I'm sure you will come to peace with whatever choice you make. I just hope you don't fall into the trap of thinking you owe that company things you don't owe.



Bob said...

Urban Urchin - Thanks. I WILL get through it!

Lee - I like change, but it can be hard. I was used to it - Until I moved here I hadn't lived anywhere for longer than 3 years. You learn what's important from change.

Chani - I am in my mid-forties so I'm not in a position to retire. I'm not sure I'm ready too, either. The loyalty I feel isn't to the company, it's to the people I work with, for, and for me. I don't want to put them in a bad position by peremptorily leaving. But, a year from now......

Mother of Invention said...

Things have a way of figuring themselves out. There is something really great about living in a small town. People actually have human qualities! They're real and they care. And it is the people at work that make it or break it.