Friday, November 2, 2007

Breaking Up Is Hard To Do

I joined EDS straight out of UT back in 1993. I had the good fortune to be recruited and hired by the EDS R&D Lab in Austin, which means that rather than maintaining COBOL systems as the typical EDS'er was doing back then, I got to work on cool things, like using Prolog to do program analysis and transformation, getting an early jump on things like Java, and so on. EDS has changed a bunch over the years, deciding it really didn't want a full-time R&D group, and so we became a kind of shadow group - we'd examine some technology at the behest of a specific account, produce some really nice tools out of it, and occasionally build services or offerings out of them. That's how we got into Y2K business for a while.

The problem with our group has always been: we're too good. Most of our group have doctorates (just a Master's degree, myself). We aren't well-suited to working on project plans and the ever-increasing amount of process that seems to surround everything here. Not to say we can't do it - we can, it's just not our forte. And as any elite group, it becomes more expensive to keep us around. Even moreso because we are trying to stay down here in Austin, while EDS is currently in the midst of consolidating more of its people into a few larger sites.

And so this morning we got word that the latest attempt to relocate our group as a unit into somewhere new in the org chart has likely failed. We're probably going to be moved into a new organization, but not as a team - instead, we'll just be individual resources available to help troubleshoot accounts that need help. So, the effective end of "The Austin Team" - we're now just "The Austin Location".

It's too bad, because I think EDS will be losing out as a result of this; a couple of our team members have decided to take an early retirement offer rather than join the new organization, and those that remain will be lessened by losing the team organizations we've built up over the years. (And of course, this is still in flux - technically, there is still the possibility of just being laid off completely).

I suppose I should probably be amazed that we held our group together as long as we did, given the realities of the technical workplace these days. Still, it's sad to see a group that has been successful for over 15 years go away.

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