So, the new company has a constant problem: Not enough employees. We’re desperately trying to hire, but aren’t getting enough skilled labor. The shortage is made worse by having half our staff assigned to Uberproject. While Uberproject does bring in tens of millions of Euro, we also have other customers that make a lot of money, and have very good names – it’s too bad I can’t list them, but there are some major corporations on our references list.

Our networking team is particularly ill staffed. There’s the team lead, Ian, who also manages the Windows team (for the lack of a Windows team lead) and most of the Linux team (because the Linux team lead is going to leave the company in a few weeks and has a “stop bothering me and I won’t do any damage while I still have to sit here” attitude.

Ian has three network guys under him. Marc, Karl, and Ronald.

Marc is an old time, was with the company for ten years. He’s one of those “I am super important, acknowledge me or else” types.

Ronald is on the worker’s council. Half his work day is spent on that, then he goes for lunch for another 2h and then he not works for some time before going home early.

Karl is a contractor. Works like a horse, and is a good guy with a lot of skills, but he just started four weeks ago and hasn’t got a lot of insight into how our setup works. Marc could tell him, but Marc couldn’t be bothered any less. Because if Marc knows it, that automatically means that any competent technician must know it as well. Could not be more logical, could it?

So Karl doesn’t get any support from any of the other two guys. There is next to no written documentation. And now Marc has resigned from the company.

Ian has ceased giving predictions on when his “team” can finish tasks. Even my highest priority projects get that treatment. I don’t hold it against him, because, I mean, what else is he supposed to do?

“When will my network diagram be done?” – “End of November, best estimate. Expect it to be revised upward.”

“What about the switch stack for the other customer?” – “How do you feel about March 2011?”

You see where I am going with this.

The company I work for has many skilled employees, and a lot of potential. But I am beginning to wonder about the strategy. We’re hiring, but not enough. We treat our employees, not exactly badly, but we burn them out and then act surprised when they move on. We do everything by escalation and on the last minute before the fourth deadline. Such consistency can’t be the result of random incompetence, can it?

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