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lesyl
Mar. 30, 2013, 07:36 PM
Greetings -
I work for a large publiclly traded company which has pluses and minuses. I really do like my work, but I find myself wondering if all environmental firms have the same approach to staff management. Case in point - I have taken one day off since New Years and have consistently put in 50-60 hours weeks. While that isn't all that horrid, this is the 5th year in a row of 50-60 hours weeks (overtime is not compensted).

I have looked and delegated to others in the office/region where at all possible, but due to needing to meet X billable percent, staff have been laid off and thus there are only a few people to delegate to at this point. And some of the staff that remain are less then willing to engage, personally they tell me sorry as we have a good relationship, but they are tapped as they are also working 50-60 hour weeks.

I have looked at hiring staff, but, that hasn't been management's priority, or staff have been hired then left within a short time. I am grateful for the job and I do truely enjoy the work, maybe just not quite this much for this long.

Management's line is well this is how it is everywhere, and I am really starting to question this statement. But I don't feel I can just ask that question from people I know in other firms. So, I am turning to the world of COTH. If you feel comfortable, please let me know how your firm deals with these topics. Please post or PM and thanks for any input/advice.

stolen virtue
Mar. 30, 2013, 08:03 PM
Yes, that is pretty much how it is at my firm, a publically traded company. You can PM me if you want to discuss anything, we may even work for the same company.

Peril
Mar. 30, 2013, 09:06 PM
Are you looking to compare notes with employees and others familiar with 'large publicly traded companies'? Or are you specifically looking to explore environmental sector-specific issues with CotH colleagues? Happy to pursue conversation via pm.

volvo_240
Mar. 30, 2013, 09:18 PM
My sister is an environmental scientist with a large international company and this has been her experience too. She also has a project manager to deal with who likes to make undeliverable promises to clients and is useless in general. He 'brings in business' though so there he stays :rolleyes:

lesyl
Mar. 30, 2013, 10:06 PM
My sister is an environmental scientist with a large international company and this has been her experience too. She also has a project manager to deal with who likes to make undeliverable promises to clients and is useless in general. He 'brings in business' though so there he stays :rolleyes:

As a PM I have learned to check with the team on deadlines. Part of the problems is the very limited staff availablity and %billable goals set. I think at some point the undeliverable promises do catch up with the rainmakers. I see more requests in proposals for proof of staff stablity.

suzyq
Mar. 31, 2013, 09:03 AM
I worked for a large non-publicly traded env. consulting company and it was similar, but doesn't sound as bad as yours. A lot depends on billability expectations. Also whether bonuses are awarded for sales instead of technical competence :) I know we were getting people in droves from another company who's billability expectation was 110% for the younger employees.

I now work for a small safety consulting company and it is very much better.

5
Mar. 31, 2013, 10:06 AM
Cloean Harbors, Veolia, PSC, Asbury, United Pumping are all meat grinders. People would stay for the training and experience then move on and up to other companies.
The bigger the company the more expendable the employees, they don't get to be beig by being nice to the staff like they did in the 90s.

Smaller companies treat their staff like human beings.

horsepoor
Mar. 31, 2013, 12:55 PM
Worked for a small, privately owned economics firm that was bought out by a much larger environmental firm - not publicly traded but backed with private equity, which is probably worse. The goal is to grow, grow, grow, adding on other firms to make an attractive package to sell and cash in. I took a pay cut and benefits were much more limited (moving from small firm to big), I had crazy billable % goals, and the "culture" completely changed. Clients got screwed.

After I left, the big env firm and its add-ons got bought out again, now owned by a non US firm. Let's just say the BP oil disaster was like manna from heaven for them as that probably saved the company as it made them attractive to this other firm. I'm so glad I didn't have to be there for that.

My partner also worked at the original small firm, and left when I did. He has a small economics firm now and I do work for him. Neither of us have any interest in working in a large firm environment again. We will happily sub to them, sure! And work from our home office, with my JRT as our receptionist. She barks to let us know FedEx is here. 0% billable, however.

lesyl
Mar. 31, 2013, 03:32 PM
Horsepoor! Are you sure that JRT is not billable? Thanks for the input on big verus small. I think in some ways it just may be time for me to consider other options.
I pull in work for myself and others, but even that doesn't have the office manager or my direct supervisor quite satisified. I get great reviews, good client feedback, but they would like a few more hours a week.

lesyl
Mar. 31, 2013, 03:33 PM
Suzyq - I am pretty ok with the billable expectation, but then a decision needs to be made on nonbillable proposal work. I don't feel clients are getting the work they always deserve due to the expectations.

suzyq
Apr. 1, 2013, 08:27 AM
Well that is the problem you are supposed to do all that other work too.