May 14, 2009

The Great Staffing Adventure of May 2009

During your first week at BM, you will be given a detailed, audiovisual 3-part presentation on the "Staffing System." The Staffing System is very high-tech. It is transparent. It is efficient. It represents the latest in BM lean organization thinking.

And it is a complete mirage.

There is no such thing as the Staffing System. Instead, as the end of your project looms (or in my case, couldn't come fast enough), you grab your lasso, your Swiss-Army knife and your wits and embark Indiana-Jones-like, on the Great Staffing Adventure.

It took me eight months to switch from naive ideological faith in the System to gung-ho participation in the Adventure. But in the end, even gullible little me realized that unless I took drastic measures, I was only going to get staffed on the projects no one else wanted, and that had little if anything to do with either my skills or my inclinations. Of course, that may still happen (after all, I am an Adventure novice and may soon get voted off the island) but at least I will have tried.

My first step was to articulate a goal. The aw-shucks-I'm-easy-to-please attitude of the past had to go. No longer would I be willing to get staffed on "anything", eager for "new experiences". No, now I had demands, desires, direction. My goal, ladies and gentlemen, is 1) to get staffed outside of France, 2) with people who speak English and 3) in any industry that isn't banking.

Goal: check.

Once that was done, it was time to step into the fray. Now, this is where it gets messy and bloody and totally demeaning, so steer your kids away from the screen, please.

After a short warm-up of Tarzan vocal exercises and a couple rounds of the haka, I began to liberally litter the BM email-server with grovelling requests and shameless sales pitches, advertising anything I thought could land me a project.

Dear important BM person,
Did you know that: I'm among the 5% of consultants who can spell; I'm new enough to still agree to making photocopies and bringing your coffee; I know all the best places to buy shoes?! TAKE ME!
PS: Buy now and receive 25% off your next purchase, and a small replica of the Eiffel Tower, absolutely FREE!

While I'm sure other Adventure participants use game theory and complicated Excel models, I went into battle without much of a system, plan or morals. As a result, I have already managed to weasel my way onto the staffing lists of the exclusive Pharma and Energy practices, as well as that of the Shanghai office (I have no idea how I managed that one).

Of course, the expended blood, sweat and tears has not yet yielded any actual results (this isn't a Disney movie) but at least it's kept me entertained...

No comments: