Sunday, October 7, 2007

Ford Canada

Well for the past few weeks I have been working out at Ford Canada. I guess this is the nature of consulting work. One week your one place the next week you are somewhere else. Basically what happened is that Wunderman has had an employee on site at Ford for a little over a year now. However, in August he gave notice that he was quiting. He is getting married and his future wife lives in Houston Texas and as such he is moving to Texas to be with her. Unfortunately even though he gave plenty of notice Wunderman was unable to find a suitable replacement for him. As such I was sent out there. However, I made sure to establish that i am only there as a band-aide solution and that I will only be there for a finite amount of time. I started about two weeks ago and i agreed to stay there until mid to late november.

There are a couple of reasons I was willing to go.
1) I think it shows that I am a team player and am willing to help.
2) At ford they use a software package from Unica called Affinium for lead management. It is sort of like a Visual GUI interface for a very large database/data warehouse. I figured that I should always try to take advantage of the opportunity to learn new software. Since I did do some work in Siebel when i was at Microsoft. I now have new semi-technical skills that I can add to my resume.
3) Working on site at a client should also help to improve my people skills.

However, there are a couple of reasons that I am unwilling to make this a permanent situation. (The clients at Ford have said many times so far that they would like me to stay permanently)

1) Distance. Ford Canada is located in Oakville. Needless to say that is very far from Scarborough. It's even farther away than when i worked at Microsoft. However, unlike when I was at Microsoft Wunderman is willing to pick up the bill for me to take the 407 highway. This means that I can get to work in just under 1 hr. Which is similar or a little less than the time it took me to get downtown using the Bus and subway. But there is the matter of wear and tear on my car. As of today there are approx. 175km on my car. Needless to say it isn't a new vehicle. Having to drive this much distance everyday is going to take years off the life of my car. I would like to see if I can keep this car for at least another 3-5 years. Now in fairness to Wunderman they are allowing my to expense my mileage at a rate of 44 cents per KM. Which works out to a couple of hundred dollars per week. Which is obviously substantially more than I pay in gas. But it is still not enough to buy a new car if my car dies before it is supposed to.

2) Nature of the work. While learning a new software is good the rest of the work is not always as challenging. Also there are times when I am not as busy. Also, the technical tools at my disposal are not exactly cutting edge. Additionally, I think being on site at the client means that I will have substantially less control over process than I did when I was downtown and was making process design myself.

3) Finally, there is an issue of recognition that I would be concerned about. At Microsoft, Kraft, or any of the other Wunderman Clients there is a team in place. At Ford I am the only guy. Which to me means anything I do would go largely unnoticed by the rest of the company unless it is reported back by the client. Also, being the only person on site means that I would miss out on the day to day events and shake ups of what is going on with the company in general. I don't just mean office gossip, although i do enjoy gossip I can live with out it. I mean management changes and new hires and fires and the reasons behind those decisions.

4) Hours, Ford works from 8-5 as opposed to the 9-5 that i worked at Wunderman. I will be compensated for the additional hours worked when I get back downtown.

For those reasons I am unwilling to stay at ford longer than the end of November.


But there is one great thing that happened. I was actually sent on a training session out in Dearborn Michigan last week. Since I have a lot of family that lives in Detroit I was looking forward to this. While I didn't really get a chance to see most of my family I did get to spend time with my cousin Micheal everyday. As i have mentioned before i think of him as a younger brother so its always good to see him.

Additionally Wunderman put me up in a very nice hotel that was near the Ford office. I stayed at the Hyatt Regency. Which is one of the nicest hotels I have ever been in. And since wunderman was picking up the bill for my food and travel expenses i had a few Lobster dinners. LOL....

Well, that's it for this week.

Next week... Fall TV Review.

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