Back in Colosse I worked for a contract-based fabrication company called Wildcatter. Contract-based companies are by their very nature chaotic. Mass hirings for a job, mass layoffs when the job is completed. Weeks of nothing to do followed by weeks of 65 hour workweeks. FalStaff is also a contract-based company, though theoretically ought to be more stable since contracts are ongoing rather than project-oriented.

But FalStaff is, by far, the most chaotic company I have ever worked for. A lot of it has to do with growth. the company has roughly doubled in size in the past two years. But part of it is a jarring lack of foresight. Not inconsequential details go unnoted.

The Sales and Marketing Departments are presently boxing up all their stuff and relocating to the company’s “corporate headquarters.” CHQ is also known as “the old building” because that’s where the company used to exist. It used to be a small office building and, as they expanded, they bought trailers from the CEO’s brother and worked out of those. Once they hit 100 employees it became increasingly infeasible to have a 2000 sqft. building and 15 trailers, so they decided to move out.

They found a place in downtown Mocum that they really liked – a bank was relocating to another part of town. For six months they told everyone that they were going to be moving there. They had actually started boxing things up when the deal fell through. Why did the deal fall through? Because the bank had already sold someone else. The missing link here is that it never occured to FalStaff that they ought to contact the bank and declare their interest in buying before the bank had completely moved out. The bank had no idea that FalStaff was interested.

So instead they move in to the second floor of the current building. Despite a 30% growth rate in the first two quarters of 2003, they opted for a place only marginally larger than the trailers. Within six months they’re putting desks in the break room. By nine months they’re trading down cubicle sizes and planning to move out. They decided that they were going to move downstairs. So for four months we hear about how we’re going to be taking over downstairs and the home for the developmentally impaired could relocate to our old building.

Once again, they never thought to ask if the company downstairs wanted to do that. Turns out they don’t. Nor did they contact the building’s manager. If they did, they would have learned that the company downstairs finishing up year one a two-year lease. So now, absent that, they’re moving marketing and sales back to the old building. and despite 100% growth over the past two years, they think that they’ll be able to shuffle us around for the next year or so until the company downstairs is booted out.

We’ll see how that goes.


Category: Office

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3 Responses to Foreblind

  1. Becky says:

    You are so not inspiring me to want to get another 8 – 5 office job. hehe

  2. Ethan says:

    This is best said vocally, as opposed to written, but I hit on a snarky maxim one day as it applies to short-sighted (cough) business decisions:

    “Foresight is not a mineral.”

    Groan yourself.

    (Hey Will, hope you’re enjoying the traffic spike from this weekend. Looks like you’ve gained a couple new readers, at the least. Will success spoil Will Truman?)

  3. trumwill says:

    Becky, the trick is to be bemused rather than frustrated.

    Ethan, I very much appreciated the push! When I saw the spike I sat there and thought to myself “That’s odd, I don’t remember submitting anything to the Carnival of Capitalists…” before I saw your double-mention. Much obliged!

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