Biting the hand that might feed you ...

Sour

What do you do when you have an urge to rant against a company that might be your possible future employer? As we’ve [seen][] recently, even your current employer might fire you for almost no reason (else than blogging).

So, how do you tackle this? What do you do if you find yourself in the position of the client and the employee? Or even if you’re only an employee that disagrees with her employer?

I [have been][] but am not [anymore][] in that exact situation: I had some job prospects with a company I’m also a client of (In fact, Swiss residents almost can’t escape being a client of this company anyway) and I was and still am seriously disappointed by some of their services and pricing schemes1.

I did not get a follow-up on these prospects, but I am sure that they might have checked my blog and eventually would’ve found the posts of their client …


It was a challenging situation, though, and I finally decided not to “bite the hand that might feed me” at that time. The reasons? I know [from other people][veerle] that this particular company’s management was not as thick skinned as they might have needed to be, given their position, and so I decided it was wise to shut up for some time here.

Call me a sissy if you want, but hey, we’re in Switzerland – I wouldn’t get a lawsuit, beware. It’d be worse. Even some very tech savvy people I talked to lately did not know – let alone understand – the nature and idea of a blog. It would’ve been blue eyed to expect a CEO or VP Human Resources to understand a blog’s critique of their BIG company.


Nevertheless, I had some [potentially incriminating piece][] on my blog during my job search, and the VP Human Resources and some Technical Consultant at [my new employer][anymore] checked it out. They hired me anyway – I think that either they very well understand what a blog is or just don’t mind :)

From my pointing out that I will be at my new job next Monday (November 1st), you might have guessed that I can’t wait anymore to get it started. And you’re right: There have not been many moments in my life so far where I was more excited about something to start than this time – it’s a vision and mission come true2.

As for the mission and vision: This stuff might be debatable, but I find it still awesome how what you do more often than not tends towards [what you are][ENFP] (Or vice-versa). I reached out to create my personal [mission statement][] and a vision where I’d like to be in some years. It was a great exercise and gave me some good thought-food to chew. In the end, I could articulate much better what I really like doing, I could match my existing situation to how I would like it to be and I developed a sense for situations where I knew how to react because I knew what values, ideas and ideals drive me.

If you think that this is nothing special at all, you’re maybe right – but maybe, you’re also an American. Having a Mission, let alone a Vision for your life is something uncommon in Europe and especially in Switzerland and people are very weary of the way these terms are used in corporate Switzerland. So I’m writing this mainly for those that are sick of glossy mission statements and glamorous vision.* * * Apply [this][ENFP] [stuff][mission statement] with a grain of salt, and many of your projects might thrive a lot more than before. Your life won’t be easier, no. It will be even harder. Knowing a mission and a vision forces you to take the responsibility for them. No more excuses that you did not know what you were supposed to do in certain situations: You can always check situations against values you defined yourself.

[Laurie Beth Jones][mission statement] has some very good examples of people with mission statements in her book and of the point they’re outlining is the capability to have some kind of plan for your life. It’s not a perfect plan, let alone a map with all the details sorted out, but it helps with the big traits of your life.


OK. This post started somewhere else. If you ended up here, at the bottom of it, thank you ;) and well, let me add one more thing: I’m currently living all this stuff and it works.

I had two serious interviews. Once, I was presented lots of facts. But I was unsure about the plan and the goal of this company, and just had a bad feeling about my future boss3.

The second time, I was confronted with stuff I’d be doing – and it was not only glamorous, high-level stuff. It was down-on-earth goals, presented from engineers that want to achieve things. Nevertheless, I felt enthralled by this prospect and was keen on a follow-up interview. I met some more people at that company and the possibilities that unfolded made me restless.

In both cases, I did some introspection and found that while both companies presented equal opportunities from an activity and job description point of view, one had a mission and values opposite to mine – but the second fit them to a great degree. Needless to say that I wanted to work there. And I can.


[seen]: http://jeremy.zawodny.com/blog/archives/002498.html[Jeremy Zawodny]: http://jeremy.zawodny.com/ [Norm Walsh]: http://norman.walsh.name/ [Tim Bray]: http://tbray.org/ongoing/ [El Reg]: http://theregister.co.uk/ “El Reg”[anymore]: /2004/10/13/rm-rf/ “rm -rf ~/"[have been]: /2004/08/16/problem-solver-for-hire/ [potentially incriminating piece]: /2004/09/09/of-being-sacked/ “Of being sacked”[veerle]: http://veerle.duoh.com/ “Veerle’s Blog”[my brother]: http://asia.mycvs.org [Island]: /2003/07/18/sland/ “Island”[our marriage]: /2003/06/03/oh-happy-daybis/ “My wedding day”[ENFP]: http://www.wsc.edu/advising/program/career/personality/enfp.html “ENFP”[mission statement]: http://www.jesusceo.com/thepath/ “The Path - Building your Mission Statement”


  1. As a matter of fact, I already blogged about this company before I got these prospects, and these posts were backed by some evidence and statistical data. ↩︎

  2. The single-most important event (that can’t be topped anyway) was [our marriage][]. ↩︎

  3. They gave me some time to reflect the Interview. When I followed-up, I asked them how many fathers were employed as Project Managers in their company. The answer: I was told that they were not interested in me anymore … Honni soit qui mal-y pense. ↩︎

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