A Tough Week

This post is a long time coming. It’s about events that happened back in July. However, I think time has allowed me to rethink things and to gain some perspective.

We lost the contract.

We had worked really hard to build a good relationship with the customer and to provide really good service. We also worked really hard on the proposal. I was told off the record that we had the best proposal, but that someone else was 20% lower than we were. And we had reduced our rates. The bottom line was it all came down to money. Of course it did.

The hard part was talking to the team. We found out on Monday night and I had my new assignment lined up by Tuesday morning. So I felt a little hypocritical talking things over with people. When the question “So what are you going to do Jason?” came up I felt uncomfortable. Of course I feel like I am valued by my firm and I was never worried about what would happen to me if we lost, but I knew that my team was very worried and they were now facing job loss.

But here’s where it got really hard…

We had a one week “transition” period with the new contractors. And of course they made nice with us and said they would contract with us to keep our people on for a short while. But at the end of the week, when they sent over their contract, they offered us rates that were below what we were paying our people. My boss and my bosses boss both decided to reject the contract and pull our people off. We told them to work at home the following week while we looked for work for them and we would give them two weeks of being on the bench. Well, the rest is pretty predictable. Everyone was offered new jobs by the winning contractor and they all took them rather than wait for us to find them new work. We did have a temporary job for one person and a full time for another, but the commute was ugly for the full time position and part time wasn’t ideal. So everyone left. Everyone had developed skills and knowledge that were now in demand and they all ended up either with the new contractor, or with other contractors at the IRS. Good for them. I’m happy everyone was able to stay employed.

But I was mad that we had lost the contract and I was mad that we weren’t able to keep any of our people. When I started on that contract, we had ten people there. As of July 15, 2013, I was the only one remaining with my firm. Everyone else had resigned to take a different job. We weren’t able to keep anyone. We lost some good people. I wish there was a way for us to hang on to people. My bosses boss commented that “to the winners go the spoils.” By that he meant that whoever won the contract would ultimately get the people too, because they were able to offer positions to people and we weren’t. Harsh, but pretty accurate. I wonder if there was anything we could have done. Could we have accepted the companies low rates, and then try to find things for our people and move them out as soon as we did? Would they have gone along with it? Or would they want to stay with the client anyway? I don’t see a way in which we could have kept people and that is tough.