Letters to the Power Plant #122 — Job Battles at Dell

After I left the power plant and went to work for Dell on August 20, 2001, I wrote letters back to my friends at the plant letting them know how things were going.  This is the one hundred and twenty second letter I wrote.  Keep in mind that at the time when I originally penned this letter I didn’t intend on it being posted online.

3/3/06 – Job Battles at Dell

Dear Sooner heroes,

I know it’s been a long time since you’ve heard from me.  I have finally finished the “battle of the jobs”, and now I’m in quite a different position than the last time I wrote to you.  I have one arm and two legs all stretched twice as long as usual and that makes it hard to walk and eat, but I’m very happy about it anyway.

I am now called a “Technical Advisor” and I work in the Finance Department in Payroll.  It’s was quite a battle, but here I am…  —  Well.  Right now I’m actually in Denver Colorado getting ready to go back home.   I’ve been taking a class all week learning new things about Kronos.

I realized today that OG&E would really benefit from a timekeeping application like Kronos.  —  Do you realize that Dell has over 50,000 employees and only 3 people that support timekeeping? — and I’m one of them.

So, here’s the scoop.  There I was minding my own business…– working about 60 hours a week in I/T Support.  I was on a team that was redesigning the way that I/T rolled projects into production and I still supported the applications that I was supporting before because we were shorthanded —  When The manager of the Employment Services Group asked me if I would join their team.

My first reaction was that it was an absurd request.  How could I, who loves I/T with a passion ever make a conscious decision to leave it to go to the business?  I told the manager that it was tempting and that I would consider it (I was saying that to be polite), but I didn’t think I could justify it.

She said that she understood, but just wanted to give it a try anyway since their entire team, when they heard of the job opening said that the only person that could fill that position was me.  —  I was flattered, but didn’t give it much real thought.

I talked it over with Kelly (my wife), and she said I should do whatever I thought was best.

Daily I would receive e-mails and IMs (Instant Messages) from the team describing how better my work-life balance would be if I moved to their team.  I talked it over with my former manager and he thought it would be a good move for me.

The team invited Kelly and I to their Christmas party with the intention of talking Kelly into talking me into moving to their team.  —  The last time I had this much attention was when Jim Arnold argued for me to stay in Equipment Support instead of letting me have the Training Director position because he just loved me so much….

So we went to the Christmas party and everyone tried to convince Kelly why I should go to their team.  —  No more pagers, regular hours.  —  I could even work 4 – 10’s if I wanted to.

When I first told my former manager (from the Program Development group) that I had applied for the job, he quickly rushed me into a team room and told me that it had gone all the way up to his Vice President that they were going to force the I/T Support group to move me over to Development because they needed my skills and couldn’t find them anywhere.

He is a good friend of mine and I told him that I would like to go back to the Development group, but (and then rubbing my fingers with my thumbs) I said, “show me the money”.  He said that he understood and hoped that I got the job.

Well.  Also, when I applied for the job, I told my current manager that I had applied for it (I had told him about a month earlier that they were asking me if I would take it, but that I wasn’t seriously thinking about it), he said that he would talk it over with my director and let her know, but he didn’t think there would be a problem with it.

Then the day before I had an interview with the director over the new team, my own director took me into a room and told me that she wasn’t going to let me go because they couldn’t afford to lose me right now.  I told her that I was going to go one way or the other and that when I decide to do something, I do it.  She reiterated that she couldn’t lose me and wasn’t going to let me go.

So the next day when I went to the interview with the director for the new position, the first thing I told her was that my director had told me the day before that she wasn’t going to let me move to this job.  The director said that she couldn’t just say that without a valid business justification and that she was going to take it up to her Vice President to make sure that they didn’t let her get away with it keeping me back.

I told her that I appreciated any help she could give because I was beginning to look forward to this new position especially since I was looking forward to working a more regular schedule.

Well.  Needless to say:  I was being pulled in three different directions all at the same time.  It was almost as stressful as working at Sooner Plant on a Friday afternoon at 4:00 when you hear the shift supervisor calling the Equipment Support Supervisor, and visions of shoveling Coal all weekend pops into your mind!!!

I really like my new team.  They have a lot of work for me to do, and I stay real busy, but for some reason I feel like I’m playing all day long, because I’m really doing something that I know how to, instead of swimming up stream all the time working on so many things at once on things that I’ve never worked on before.

The team lead on the team that I left was really fighting for them to keep me there.  I asked him why, since the only thing I was an expert on supporting were applications like Kronos, Oracle Financials and Concur (our expense program).

He said that it wasn’t that I knew a whole lot about everything but that I was able to troubleshoot programs that I had never seen before faster than anyone else.  —  I told him that was a skill that I learned working at the power plant, because that is what we did every day as an electrician but that they couldn’t penalize me by keeping me in one place.

I told him that the only reason I became an electrician was because I was a good janitor and the electric department (Charles Foster) noticed and asked me if I would consider working for them.  What if they said that I was too good of a janitor to let me go to the electric shop?  This was the same situation.  I had worked writing programs and supporting applications for this group and that is why they wanted me.

So.  Here I am.  No longer in I/T, but a “technical consultant”.

Maybe now I will have more time to write.

Your friendly Dell friend,

Kevin James Anthony Breazile

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