Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Go With The Flow - A Timely Reminder

It's my experience that the Universe has a tendency to give you a good kick in the ankles every so often, to remind you to stay on the right track.

A bit of background - I spent 4 years as an apprentice, 2 years as a design engineer, cross-trained as a technical author, got promoted to team leader within 12 months of cross-training, got promoted again to project manager (and trained as a PRINCE2 Practitioner), avoided redundancy by cross-training as a software tester, cross-trained again as a database administrator, then got made redundant (along with the other 599 employees in that division).

After several years temping/contracting around young children, I got employed as a Bills of Material engineer, designed a specialist corporate database before leaving for a job paying £6k more, where I sped through the ranks from senior developer to acting technical director, via managing a team of 14 developers as well as managing the outsourced development of certain projects. When the company went into liquidation I did more contracting, including project management, before needing to get enough payslips to justify remortgaging my house to get my ex's name off the mortgage.

Again, in the space of 3 years I'd gone from developer to senior developer to acting IT director, this time via project management of a business intelligence team. Circumstances surrounding the fallout of my divorce then meant I needed to change jobs to work closer to home and I went in as a senior database specialist before moving to a company where, I thought, I would be able to work my way up the corporate pecking order again.

The latest nudge towards my self-employed destiny got delivered via a corporate email, which suggests that, either nobody bothered to read my CV when I applied for this particular post, or they read it and thought I was lying:

Hi Anna

I have had an opportunity to catch up with Mark following his return from annual leave and he has asked me to pass on the following feedback regarding your application for the Project Manager role.

The main reasons that we chose not to progress your application on this occasion was particularly because we were looking for an experienced Project Manager with significant experience of working and leading a Business Intelligence team. As you are no doubt aware the role has significant people management responsibility (15-20 FTE's), managed through 2 direct reports, we are looking for an individual who can demonstrate that they have managed large teams, with significant emphasis on driving excellent performance through delivery of business wide projects.

The role, we believe is not ideal for an individual who is looking for their first project management role, or who is looking to move away from a predominantly technical role into and into a mainstream project management role.

I appreciate that this may have come as a disappoint to you, and I do hope that it will not discourage you from applying for positions in the future.

kind regards

I won't be "applying for positions in the future"; there seems little point when the company I work for can't be bothered to give honest feedback based on actually reading my CV rather than on assumptions based on my current role within the company.

I will be working flat out on building my skills so I can develop an excellent team of productive distributors.

I don't need corporate validation to prove anything to myself. I'm grateful to have a timely reminder about that.

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