A Sad Day


As I sit and write this its a Monday, its about 3 in the afternoon but most important is the fact that I am writing this at home.

On any other normal day I would be at work. My place of employment has for the last 5 years been Nortel Networks. Anyone who has been slightly aware of what is happening to the telecoms and the IT industry in the last 18 months will know that the bubble has burst. To emphasize this point here are some Nortel facts (this is all public domain) :

then the bubble burst...

Last Tuesday we had a visit from a senior VP. Perhaps he has visited before but none of us knew who he was. He certainly hasnt spoken to us before. In the space of 20 minutes he ended 18 years of R+D in Maidenhead. Just like that. By the end of the year almost the whole of the Lab will be laid off. Me included. Words cannot express what I feel. Mostly its sadness and disappointment. I took my degree late in life. I was 30 when I started working for Nortel and I have been there since I left University. My time at Nortel has for the most part been enjoyable. The people are always the thing thats makes a job. I will be sad to know that I will never be working with them again. Its not just the people though. For the past 5 years I have been trained to do a job. For the past 12 months I have felt that my input has been more than worthwhile. You get to a point where your opinions are respected by all levels within the company. Now I have to start all over again. Equally annoying is that I was about 6 months late starting my promotion. If I had started earlier I would have got the promotion before they put a hold on them. I would have got the pay rise which would have meant a better redundancy deal.

So what will I have when I leave Nortel ? Well I know about telecoms. I will have about 25000 in the bank when the redundancy money comes through. I have a 10 year old car. I know a bit more about computing. I am bit more wise to the ways of the world. I have no mortgage. I have no dependants.

Where do I go from here ? Well at least 2 months doing nothing is the first thing I will be doing. The speakers which I was restoring might get started again. I might spend a little time looking for another job. Now that I have broadband internet access I can do this easily and at anytime of the day. Apart from that I dont know. One thing I wont be doing is feeling any bitterness for Nortel or feeling sorry for myself. There aint no point. The last time I was laid off I went to University and got the job at Nortel. That was something positive that came out of a bad situation. I dont expect this time to be any different.

Andrew King. 14 October 2002

UPDATE

I thought it was about time I updated this page mainly because people are still writing to me offering me their sympathy. I DONT WANT IT !!! Seriously, life does go on and I wasnt without work for very long. I have yet to find the right job again. I am now on my second job since Nortel having tried a 9 month stint at ntl (a UK based supplier of telecoms, digital tv, internet access for residential and business customers) and I am currently working for a company near Sunbury-on-Thames which supplies telecoms equipment to phone providers.

My time at ntl was not the greatest. The biggest single objection I had was working in a team which had about 200 people of which only 5 were ntl employees (me being one). The rest were contractors who were brought in to work on what should have been a short term project. Contractors to me go right against the grain. As far as I am concerned employees have a vested interest in the success of a company, contractors do not no matter what they say. This isnt to suggest they are lazy or not have high standards of professionalism they just dont have the long term interest of the company as their highest priority. Plus the fact that most of them are paid what seems to be very high rates of pay and you have an instant recipe for resentment. Also being managed by a contractor was not something I enjoyed much. Again my manager did not have my long term interests in mind and was only concerned about meeting deadlines. To this end the vast majority of the team were working silly hours with the threat of not having their contract renewed as the result if they didnt. It all made for a working environment in which the morale was rather low. I could go on as there are many examples I could cite but I'd really rather not remind myself what it was like. I lasted 9 months at ntl the biggest joke of all being peoples reaction when I quit.

My current employer is VDE in Sunbury. They supply telecoms equipment and software for directory enquiries suppliers. If thats a bit of a mouthful basicaly when you phone directory enquiries for a number, the software and hardware they use could well have been sold to them by VDE. They are only a small company in relative terms so its back to basics for most things. Sadly they dont have the funds available for buying tools which would make my job easier so everything is done longhand. What I mean by this is everything is done using spreadsheets and word documents. You may not think there's anything wrong with this but I have had the luxury in the past of using tools which do all this and so going backwards is a bit of a pain. Having said that I now earn more than ever which has finally given me the oppurtunity to get my own place. I should have done it years ago but I think its better I waited especially given the above. VDE seems like a reasonably secure place to work but it doesnt really offer much oppurtunity. I can quite easily see myself in 5 years time doing the same thing, not having taken on any new challenges. The prospect for promotion is virtually nill and without promotion my salary is likely to remain static. I just had my annual pay rise and it wasnt a good experience. Whatever happened to setting goals or targets and rewarding on the succesful completion of them ? Doesnt seem to be what happens here. I should know better than work for a US company - 20 days holiday, what a joke.

Do you think its naive of me to think there is the perfect job out there ? If you think you have the perfect job for me drop me a mail.

24 January 2005

UPDATE

One thing which I hadnt revealed on this page before was the fact that during my 9 month stint at ntl they got my personal income tax wrong. I would have been completely in the dark had it not been for the tax rebate I got from the Inland Revenue. Out of the blue I got a letter from them (this was late 2004). Now this can be a little unsettling. A letter from the revenue usually means they want some money out of you. However inside the envelope was a cheque for just over 700 - quite a welcome surprise. It turns out that for the 7 months of the 2003 tax year that I worked for ntl I overpaid tax of 100 per month. Now you would think that an employer like ntl would get personal income tax correct. It must all be computerised, shouldnt it ? Well they messed it up anyway but it was nice to get the rebate. So imagine my surpirse again when I get another letter from the revenue (Feb 2006). This time though I owe them some money. They reckon I had "Benefits in Kind" to the value of 425. These benefits were apparently accrued in the 2004 tax year. I was only working for ntl for 2 months of this tax year which would mean annual benefits of 2125 - I would have known about this. So I phone ntl and they look into it. Yet another cock up gets discovered !! Apparently there were 2 Andrew King's at ntl at the same time and they got me mixed up with the other when they sent my P11D (declaration of taxable benefits) to the tax office. I'm afraid that anyone who thinks ntl is a poor provider of internet/phone/digital tv should try working for them.

March 2006


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