Thursday, July 02, 2009

some things learned in VIX - a start

I have been struggling with this post for several months. Before I even left Victoria, I was trying to reflect back on the very strange, far too fast, and somewhat disappointing experience of my time in Texas and capture the essence of what I learned. So many things not done. So many mistakes made. So much growing up thrust upon me.

But I don’t really know what to say. I was the 'Engineer-In-Charge' and yes, I really was in charge of the location. It was a management experience with a very steep learning curve that I am still climbing. I dealt with people quitting, lay-offs, hiring, closure, retirees and a couple cases that pretty well rocked my world early on there. One guy was let go for what was technically work abandonment. Another was so strange, that I’m not sure how to properly characterize it here. As always, I need to be vague, but I did learn a bit about the law during the process.

After those first two 'atypical events' everything else seemed tame in comparison. Even the terminations of a pair of people for very different reasons, but ultimately both related to some type of failure on their part. Yes, that's suitably vague and probably misleading.

Employee discipline is a very strange thing to me. During my time, I only formally wrote up two people. I should have written up more. And I definitely should have had more formal sit-downs with people. No official letter (sort of), but an official warning. I'm not really of the disciplinarian mold which may strike some people as odd, but it's largely ineffective with me so I mostly view it as ineffective on others, even though I know I am a poor example of a typical person.

This is just a start. Hopefully, it won't take me five more months to capture the rest of what is still rolling around my head about my time in Victoria.


buickguy said...

I hope it won't take five more months either. Damn fine start. There's something to be said for One Minute Management. As one who is not comfortable with formal discipline, you will find the One Minute approach refreshing.

Anonymous said...

Managing people is the most difficult task in business. Documentation and paper trail are very important when dealing with disciplinary. Employees who constantly have problem and issue with the company have wasted a lot of management’s time.

A big corporation would have a legal department to deal with personnel issue. You no longer can fire or hire people without a long legal process due to the union or NLRB getting involved.

What you learn in a short 10 months in VIX is probably more than anyone would learn in a lifetime.

You need to learn to swim through hurling spit and don't give one crapola about those who criticize you. You get much further in life with courage and perseverance.