I write to you following my recent departure from the company and from a role I have delivered for close to twelve years.
While I understand the need to downsize; to cut costs and to innovate. While I appreciate we now work in a global economy and that Senior – or Senior to be – Executive team members, currently under the age of 45, if having their careers managed as part of the Long-term Vision Initiative are positively responding to the ‘new way’ - I write to silently express my regret for consciously supporting the success of a company that places little importance on the concept of relationship.
Please note - sirs and madam - that I shall not refer to, nor do I accept the term redundancy as the situation has been deemed in official documentation.
My contribution to the Senior Team in the capacity of Senior Assistant and as indicated by peer review and letters of referral, was beyond question or reproach. I rose, gladly, to any task. Performed any duty asked of me and ensured that each project inclusive of my involvement was carefully considered, expanded, assessed for risk and noted in such as way as to make other members of my team, shine.
In essence, my daily role was to ensure the smooth sailing of those whom I assisted. In the framework of the Senior Management team, their having a better day, meant a better day for all, allowing their minds to be elevated beyond the tedium of organising details and initiating the continuous dissemination and sharing of information. A tedium, in which, I took great pride and personal pleasure.
My role was to facilitate time and space, allowing brains greater than mine seek and secure new business, to grow relationships, expanding opportunities for us all.
I gained great satisfaction in helping my Senior Managers to fly and for this effort I was rewarded with a pre-tax salary of $85,000. I mention the word pre-tax and do not indicate superannuation or any other such benefits, though of course, of all I am conscious of, and factor into the overall understanding of the commercial realities of a relationship – we are after all an Accounting practice – money matters. I apologise for the use of the collective ‘we’ in the previous context – old habits are hard to shake.
If one considers that I was indicated as support head count answering to four key members, the math follows that in effect my cost to business, divisible by each member, equates to roughly $10.20 per hour.
There were three women, such as me, working across Senior Staff. With my departure, the last of the team to leave, our count has been completely outsourced to virtual support in the Philippines.
Pride, respect and an optimistic nature, gentlemen and lady, disallows me to run down this decision as I have only admiration for those who take up the opportunities available to them in places such as Manila.
However, what disappointments most is a general perception as to how little I added value on a daily basis. If one reviews a recent internal email to key staff, a list appears indicating the role and priorities of the new system:
Remote and Virtual, Hot Desk Personal Assistants may be used to assist with:
- booking of meeting rooms – global capacity
- making of travel arrangements
- tracking partners billable hours
- questioning productivity rates
In the eyes of HR and in making your decision, was the above the sum of my contribution?
Is this the thinking behind how we now build, create and end relationships. That all relationships are able to be defined by such limited parameters and outsourced?
Here I advise a warning. As we step closer and closer towards a situation of complete automation – let’s be mindful that the Philippines outsource is a small step before a greater leap towards automation – do not consider yourselves to be above or beyond my experience.
Within the context of your business, be mindful that Senior Staff are simply a higher form of calculator; a sophisticated variant of computation. However, isn’t that the realm of a computer; of automation?
Without a deep respect for personal relationships, without placing people at the heart of all we do, none of us are needed. None of us has a true role to play.
So dear Chair, with all due respect, do be careful for what you wish, for it will surely come true.
And I shall now return to watering my vegetable garden, which I note, is flourishing under new found levels of attention, under what my focused hand can offer.
With sincere thanks,