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Rambo

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Update to my saga.

It looks like the US is not an option and I have an option for Paris or check on the friendly co-worker overseas for a position in Munich.

US was a bit easier as I could have flown home on Fridays and had a midday start to Mondays.

I do have options but I keep turning them down - such as some regional role in charge of regulatory and compliance which is not my forte and comes with little to no direct reports.

I'm told if I don't accept one of these by the end of mid year I will have to look outside.
paris is no bueno?
 

Pimpernel Smith

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Update to my saga.

It looks like the US is not an option and I have an option for Paris or check on the friendly co-worker overseas for a position in Munich.

US was a bit easier as I could have flown home on Fridays and had a midday start to Mondays.

I do have options but I keep turning them down - such as some regional role in charge of regulatory and compliance which is not my forte and comes with little to no direct reports.

I'm told if I don't accept one of these by the end of mid year I will have to look outside.

My recommendation, if the money's good, stay inside. Better to jump ship being poached or head hunted.

Two good locations there: Paris or Munich. Depending on the deal.

If you can stay in central Paris on the right expenses and you can tolerate the French work culture - which is no mean feat - you'll have a good time. But you need to be doing it all on the company pay cheque, otherwise it will be like London but for plebs. And you don't want that.

Munich: if I was a young man, I would definitely go there before Paris. Even with Merkel's influence, still first class. And you'll get a much better class of female interest than in Paris.
 

Fwiffo

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paris is no bueno?

My recommendation, if the money's good, stay inside. Better to jump ship being poached or head hunted.

Two good locations there: Paris or Munich. Depending on the deal.

If you can stay in central Paris on the right expenses and you can tolerate the French work culture - which is no mean feat - you'll have a good time. But you need to be doing it all on the company pay cheque, otherwise it will be like London but for plebs. And you don't want that.

Munich: if I was a young man, I would definitely go there before Paris. Even with Merkel's influence, still first class. And you'll get a much better class of female interest than in Paris.

I was on my mobile and probably didn't write the whole story properly. Amongst the 9 interviews that I did to get this job, one of them was ...shall we say the head honcho of this particular fiefdom which covered different lines of businesses in different countries across the globe. I was part of the new generation of people in year 1 as she sought to remake how things were done. The head honcho had success and more lines of businesses were added to her fiefdom in 2019 and 2020 but right before Christmas it was announced that she lost out in a reshuffling of her peers. Her mentor who sits at the table of the holding company had retired and a new class of honchos were appointed. Her empire was reduced to only one line of business and my old (promoted) boss and myself are in the last part of her dying empire. It's not expected she will be around after 2021.

It was a good run and I always expected it to be a 2-3 year thing but I didn't expect jumping ship to another company that I would be on the wrong side of the reorganisation in the first go around. Usually I survive 2 or 3 of them.

My old boss is taking a test too - even more elaborate than mine as he is aiming to get a platinum star whereas mine was just a gold star. And if he passes it he has a chance at taking care of an entire line of business - all offices across the globe. The headquarters is in Paris so he'll have to move from the US to Paris. For him it's not a big deal as he started out in southern Europe, went to South America, then US, then now to northern Europe. He'd like to take his own people - those whom I have absolute loyalty and owe their current position to him (i.e. me). He would have rather stayed in the US but some people have to move on or out to get that level of position, and he didn't have the patience to wait it out.

The office is on the edge of the 18th arr. and saint ouen.

If I'm not going, his advice was not to take these placeholder positions I'm being offered and just apply outside of the firm. By that time I've only been with the company for 3 years so I have a good story to tell from my CV.

The real issue is I'm a creature of habit. Since Easter 2020 I was working for 18+ months in a town 100km away staying there Mon-Fri. Now that I am back in my hometown I got accustomed to being around on weekends for my brother's baby. Going to the market. Going to footy games with my seasons. All the arts and social watering holes that I frequented. Now with the pandemic I don't have any of that except the market so maybe going in 2021 for 2 years is not a bad idea because chances are it will all change and come back in 2022 anyway. My parents have been grounded from their 6 months/year world travels and I can see dementia slowly creeping into my mother. Of course my being around or not being around here isn't going to stop any of that. At least this time I don't have to consider a woman.

I also have a non-compete in Canada so if I venture back into insurance I risk violating it or at least I'd have to go to a line of business very far away from what I am doing right now.
 

Fwiffo

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I failed the test. 24 months of development before I get a chance to try again.

This means I will continue getting BS manager of nothing jobs thrown my way or I hope the Paris thing comes true.

I didn't bother to read the detailed results although I have a call tomorrow for my first of two debriefings. Since I had to fit this 20K eur test into a budget that was reduced 60 percent and I had to fire people and vendors to get to that reduction maybe I should ask for my money back. I paid for a service out of my own p&l and didn't get the result I wanted.
 

fxh

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I just don't understand that tests at all - seems all nonsense to me - they have employed you for X years - surely they know what you are good at , your weaknesses and strengths etc and your preferences - what on earth could a fucking test tell them.
 

Rambo

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It's a test to rate me as a potential executive. Problem is I'm already an executive hired from the street so the exercise is a bit tiresome.

Business case exercise. Then some interviews. Role play some people management issue. Group exercise and another interview. Then I get a rating - pass, develop further and pass - sod off and come back in a few years.
so what part of this did you fail Fwiffo Fwiffo ? it had to have been a subjective part, right?
 

Fwiffo

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I just don't understand that tests at all - seems all nonsense to me - they have employed you for X years - surely they know what you are good at , your weaknesses and strengths etc and your preferences - what on earth could a fucking test tell them.

2 1/2 years. It will blow your mind I did a test to get a gold star for executive level....but I already hold an executive position as I applied off the street.

The only thing that makes things more relevant is my position is redundant in the second half of the year.
 

Fwiffo

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so what part of this did you fail Fwiffo Fwiffo ? it had to have been a subjective part, right?
The test with the funny shapes said that I didn't have a lot of mental agility.

I rated worse in the Trust section and I forget what other dimension. I have a top down type of decision making and I don't get consensus or buy in of subordinates. I said the workplace isn't a democracy. Decisions aren't made by majority rule.

I don't take care of people. I don't exhibit traits to bring poor performers back up to par. I said 5 minutes spent with a top performer is more valuable than an hour with a poor performer. I know I'm crass but I have limited time to be effective. And at best poor performers become average. Invest your time where there's a more likely return on investment.

I often seek external help instead of recognising strengths and delegating to my own staff. This is a byproduct of having a CV where you take over crap teams and have to overhaul them. There are no existing strengths - that's why they parachute me in.

The other comments were opposing each other. One observer said I was dominant, didn't heed additional facts, and proceeded to getting what I wanted done. Another said I was passive and backed down too much. I must have been Jekyll and Hyde to someone who observed me for the whole exercise.
 

güero

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The test with the funny shapes said that I didn't have a lot of mental agility.

I rated worse in the Trust section and I forget what other dimension. I have a top down type of decision making and I don't get consensus or buy in of subordinates. I said the workplace isn't a democracy. Decisions aren't made by majority rule.

I don't take care of people. I don't exhibit traits to bring poor performers back up to par. I said 5 minutes spent with a top performer is more valuable than an hour with a poor performer. I know I'm crass but I have limited time to be effective. And at best poor performers become average. Invest your time where there's a more likely return on investment.

I often seek external help instead of recognising strengths and delegating to my own staff. This is a byproduct of having a CV where you take over crap teams and have to overhaul them. There are no existing strengths - that's why they parachute me in.

The other comments were opposing each other. One observer said I was dominant, didn't heed additional facts, and proceeded to getting what I wanted done. Another said I was passive and backed down too much. I must have been Jekyll and Hyde to someone who observed me for the whole exercise.
I could have told them most of this just by reading your posts
 

Fwiffo

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I could have told them most of this just by reading your posts

Maybe I should have paid you 10K eur. I'll pay the full 20k I paid them if you give me a glowing review.

Oh I forgot. In the one attribute which was my strongest they said I make solutions to problems heavily weighted to costs and process efficiencies. I never consider factors like environmental (as in climate change, not the setting/culture), people or ethical reasons.

I said I was in a back office paper pushing department. What kind of environmental or ethical thing could I advocate?
 

güero

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Well I told you before those tests are imho only administered to get rid of someone, to prevent promotions etc. As everyone else has told you multiple times, you’ve been there for some time now and hence your superiors know that you don’t have much (leadership) potential anyway...
 

Fwiffo

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Well I told you before those tests are imho only administered to get rid of someone, to prevent promotions etc. As everyone else has told you multiple times, you’ve been there for some time now and hence your superiors know that you don’t have much (leadership) potential anyway...

Thanks. I'm flattered. Definitely not worth 10k eur for that assessment.
 

Pimpernel Smith

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The test with the funny shapes said that I didn't have a lot of mental agility.

I rated worse in the Trust section and I forget what other dimension. I have a top down type of decision making and I don't get consensus or buy in of subordinates. I said the workplace isn't a democracy. Decisions aren't made by majority rule.

I don't take care of people. I don't exhibit traits to bring poor performers back up to par. I said 5 minutes spent with a top performer is more valuable than an hour with a poor performer. I know I'm crass but I have limited time to be effective. And at best poor performers become average. Invest your time where there's a more likely return on investment.

I often seek external help instead of recognising strengths and delegating to my own staff. This is a byproduct of having a CV where you take over crap teams and have to overhaul them. There are no existing strengths - that's why they parachute me in.

The other comments were opposing each other. One observer said I was dominant, didn't heed additional facts, and proceeded to getting what I wanted done. Another said I was passive and backed down too much. I must have been Jekyll and Hyde to someone who observed me for the whole exercise.
Ghastly on many levels. As I've said before, you can take some succor that your industry can support such frivolity.

Not much better in the oil, gas and energy sectors. The long decline is setting in for oil, even though it's going to remain a critical resource for quite some decades. The glory days of Big Oil seems to be going. Mass redundancies everywhere and of highly qualified personnel, Master degree level. You joined those companies because it was a job for life, if you fitted in with the culture. Not anymore, the esprit de corps will go.

A couple of my rivals are laying-off country managers and regional directors again. Seems like they can't meet the 30% profit targets, in this market? No chance. Some are pulling out of the sector which is a good thing. The big French behemoth has some term contracts, no guarantee of work, but now they're asking their clients for promissory notes and advanced invoice commitments. Desperate.
 

Pimpernel Smith

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Between the Group QHSE Manager and me, we've had to raise an NCR with re-induction, re-indoctrination and retraining of one of my consultants who missed sending in some data on an assignment because he was getting half-his-stomach removed and in all the excitement forgot to send it in on time and nor could he as he was in hospital.

A definitive case of shit happens and should be dealt with as a one-off, no indication of failed systems or a worrying trend.

You can tell a good client and also a Group contract holding office in how they will deal with such an situation.

It's all rather embarrassing now for all parties.
 

Pimpernel Smith

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too many NCRs in QHSE could lead to PTSD for API, lowering your RPU and other KPIs. I advise to solve ASAP.

It's the DIY folk I feel sorry for. My industry is notorious for acronyms, but not as bad some of the space agencies. I imagine the European Patent Office would be the same, hence all the suicides. The case in point above, is that it should never have been escalated to a formal complaint.

I've come up with a few good acronyms over the years, there's a few generators on the web you can cheat with now.

Needed to get a rid of a consultant today as the work was a load of rubbish, skeleton like with no detail, over charged undergraduate stuff that I should have expected from someone who had a glowing CV and qualifications, but hadn't made a go of it long term anywhere and hence was on the jobbing consultant ticket.

Instructed my colleague to tell them that the upcoming assignment was cancelled, which it is for him. Open rebellion "I can't say that to him...'' Okay, tell him the unexpurgated text: that after review of the work I've decided to terminate his involvement and replace them with someone more competent.

There's always the easy way, or the hard way. Feedback is good, but sometimes, it's best to just let it go. Now I will have to deal with this chap when he gets in touch with me tomorrow. Better to just let it him go gently into the jobbing wheeler dealing consultancy market.
 

formby002

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Thanks. I'm flattered. Definitely not worth 10k eur for that assessment.
Why are you on here whining? WTF do you want us to do about it?

Leaders don't whine....they act....

....and move...........with force.!!!!!!

Clearly not leadership material.
 

Pimpernel Smith

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Clearly not leadership material.

Certainly, not in that organisation which is clearly a relic of the corporate man days. Man in a grey suit and all that.

Big Oil was like that in the 60s and 70s, burnt itself out by the late 90s with some Japanese WWII style outposts still clinging to the good fight of a job for life and being mollycoddled until your early pension came up until the 2008 great recession.

In some countries you were an extension of the government and secret services, certainly in France and Italy. And there was a certain Anglo-Dutch enterprise...

All that's gone now. At least at the level it was, they're not boasting about it anymore.

A good whine is good sometimes, make you realise how ridiculous and temporary it all is. Nothing is as bad or good as it first seems.
 

Fwiffo

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My physician cousin said I was a narcissist, but I'll take this new diagnosis into consideration too.
 

Pimpernel Smith

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Oh dear, I've just snapped.

Takes a lot for me to do that. I will tolerate more BS than any normal sane person. That gives me a lot of strength and an edge, but it's also a weakness that you will take on shit and just buffer it.

But, once you've snapped, it's game over at all levels.
 

Fwiffo

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Oh dear, I've just snapped.

Takes a lot for me to do that. I will tolerate more BS than any normal sane person. That gives me a lot of strength and an edge, but it's also a weakness that you will take on shit and just buffer it.

But, once you've snapped, it's game over at all levels.

At whom?
 

Pimpernel Smith

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Oh just the usual: Brit residents, American degenerates and South Africans in that city that knows no shame on the west coast of Australia. A mecca for weirdo freaks. South Korea is worse to be fair.

Anyway, for a sheer snapping moment of I'm not working for them ever again! I've back tracked and it's business as usual.

You can read into that what you will.
 

formby002

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Oh just the usual: Brit residents, American degenerates and South Africans in that city that knows no shame on the west coast of Australia. A mecca for weirdo freaks. South Korea is worse to be fair.

Anyway, for a sheer snapping moment of I'm not working for them ever again! I've back tracked and it's business as usual.

You can read into that what you will.
They sound like my kinda people.
 

Pimpernel Smith

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They sound like my kinda people.

They're actually all very bon vivant socially and one of them lived two streets and a bit from where my Mum now lives on the Wirral. And one is in the old style life and soul of the party, larger than life characters, which are few and far between these days.

Nevertheless, whatever it is: the time difference, being stuck in that city thousands of miles from anywhere they need so much attention it's unbelievable.

When it comes to business, I'm nitty gritty not interested in team hugs, massages, the hard sell or marketing targets or gimmicks. If it's there I will take it through operational excellence, if not, fuck-off.
 

Pimpernel Smith

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Normally when I put a posting up for a position, I get 6 to say 15 applicants. Not this time, literally over a hundred qualified candidates. And that excludes the usual waves of Indians and Pakistani's stuck in the Middle East looking for an escape route of which there are significantly more. A lot of serious hidden unemployment out there. Desperate times.

To be fair it is a super-duper well paid position, but you have to factor in the 52% tax, other stoppages and to offset that the 30% tax ruling if you qualify for which is now contracted out to some government cronies.

But the Dickensian Hard Times cometh and are already here for some.
 

Pimpernel Smith

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Once again, I came across the €110/GBP110 m/hr fantasy.

This is a strategy that oil companies use when they're laying off: ''Well, with your skills and experience, you will be mega in demand and command €110 an hour...'' Then they're out on the street hustling and they can't even get half of that. In South Wales, you actually believed that?

And nobody downstream as it were, wants over mollycoddled individuals who haven't worked anything other than an end-user client, kicking the contractor in the balls on an ego trip left right and center all the time?

Such is life.
 

Fwiffo

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I thought they go by GBP per day. I never understood that. A working day could be very long...or very short.
 

Pimpernel Smith

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I thought they go by GBP per day. I never understood that. A working day could be very long...or very short.
It depends, for my sector I prefer to charge by the hour plus Kms and travel time. But yes, a working day can be between 4 and in some cases 14 hours.

The worse scenario is when your own resources are soaked up and you have to go to a French consultant who offers you a day rate, but you're charging the client by the hour. They'll do 2-3 hours, boast about it and then give you the finger and you're out of pocket.

The Italians by contrast, would never pull that trick. Full respect to them on that front.
 

Fwiffo

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I was offered another role last week by someone who started chatting me privately whilst on a call. It's still, in my mind, a few steps down from what I had originally signed up for in this role but I was flattered people half way around the world rate me highly. She said she was impressed with how I spoke on a few conference calls at the beginning of the pandemic and cross referenced me with my boss' boss peers who gave me glowing reviews.

She said frankly you give a sh@t and that's hard to find in this organisation. I took it as a compliment.
 

Pimpernel Smith

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The Indianization of my sector continues. One of our big American clients globally are relocating many functions to Bangalore. Lots of Master degree and PhD's getting finished up in UK and simultaneous redundancies in China and Singapore, new email addresses of the replacements all Indian names and known to be located there.

Back in the glory days, the days of the corporate man, a job with the big oil companies held status and was a ''job for life'' with a guaranteed career progression and if you did screw up, they'd just send you to Nigeria on a double pension as punishment. I'm not sure how the esprit de corps can exist in this new reality where all bets are off.

The problem all these organisations have now, is how to attract new talent in a world turning against them and where they can no longer guarantee job security and a future.
 

ballmouse

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The oil industry doesn't seem to inspire a lot of excitement for young people. I think they would rather join some green energy, alternative energy, biotech company instead.

I'm sure big oil has some non-oil energy interests, but I get the impression they want to continue doing what they've always been doing. And if the focus is on efficiency rather than innovation, it's likely that mindset is applied to the employees as well. Hence you get folks who are expected to deliver the same thing over and over, with more efficiency. Once you get roles that are about fulfilling the same routine over and over, you believe you can get someone overseas for a fraction of the onshore employee.

This is just my speculation. I spent a few months in Exxon's Americas back office so I'm probably biased.
 

Pimpernel Smith

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The oil industry doesn't seem to inspire a lot of excitement for young people. I think they would rather join some green energy, alternative energy, biotech company instead.

I'm sure big oil has some non-oil energy interests, but I get the impression they want to continue doing what they've always been doing. And if the focus is on efficiency rather than innovation, it's likely that mindset is applied to the employees as well. Hence you get folks who are expected to deliver the same thing over and over, with more efficiency. Once you get roles that are about fulfilling the same routine over and over, you believe you can get someone overseas for a fraction of the onshore employee.

This is just my speculation. I spent a few months in Exxon's Americas back office so I'm probably biased.
A lot of big oil have been slowly reinventing themselves as ''energy'' companies. Which is not quite true, as there's the whole petrochemical, fertilizer, plastics and pharmaceutical sectors they provide for. A barrel of oil isn't just petrol, diesel and aviation fuel. You mention ExxonMobil they're more honest than most. Then there's the French and Italian, original ''Men in grey suits...'' who remain extensions of government and national will. And secret services.

Royal Dutch Shell in the Netherlands are facing some threats and accusations. They're still powerful enough that they can crash the Dutch economy by pulling out. And they will do it if necessary.

The only solution to decarbonizing the energy mix, is nuclear and hydrogen. Only the oil and gas majors have the R&D to deliver on hydrogen and the type of infrastructure needed. Lots of metallurgical issues with hydrogen.

One thing that the Germans had sussed with Nordstream, no matter how much wind power you have, you need a 100% continuous back-up. Hence Merkel, sold Germany out to Russia and screwed over Poland at the same time. Now that is a plant that puts the Democrats to shame.
 
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