by Michael Werneburg
Last Tuesday, I lost my job during a restructuring at PortfolioAid, a compliance solutions firm.
Only, it was never just a job. This was an experience lived, rather than a job worked. I was there as it grew from fifteen people to nearly forty-five, and from one client in production then to ten by the end of this year.
My role was to rewire our processes for delivering software and hosting the service, so that we could play by the rules in our heavily regulated market. Hosting vast amounts of financial data on behalf of large investment firms, and supporting a material management function, we were material to our clients' regulators and as such had to undergo rigorous third party audits. The learning curve was great, and it was a rewarding body of work. I'd like to thank the President for his unwavering support.
To my mind, the best thing about implementing 60+ process areas was that we were improving the day-to-day experience of the people involved. When you've got consistent processes you spend a lot less time running around getting answers, you do less rework, and you're better able to serve your clients. Consistently serving your clients across all points of contact is important.
That's what I documented in the dissertation for my masters degree, anyway. PortfolioAid's case served as the core of a year-long study in which I polled and interviewed the management team of PortfolioAid, and polled six other firms. I shared the results with some colleagues and was invited to speak of PortfolioAid's risk practices at conferences in Canada in the US. I was also asked to join an industry association's committee on vendor cyber security, and to join the board of a professional association as a result. It was a rewarding chain of events.
As much as I may have learned on the job, it was also a distinct pleasure to find myself mentoring younger leaders in the firm. I worked with some very sharp up-and-comers, and hope I may have in some way helped. I think this will be the biggest adjustment, in no longer being connected to that second family.
Now I find myself freshly unemployed in a world of swirling uncertainty. I'm by no means the only one to lose a job this past week – I quickly learned of layoffs in progress in IT at a giant retailer, at two banks, a cloud services provider, and an energy company. One of the people I first reached out to lost his job the day after I did. But I've been through it before, and know I'll bounce back. It's an interesting time to have the opportunity to look around: "work" is transforming on many fronts; even globalization is going through a rough patch.
Who knows what's going to happen. I can't wait.