Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Crazy mixed-up second week.

OK - I have a confession to make. I work for Nortel. And, I'm proud of it!

Today's announcement, and resultant media coverage, that the company had taken protection against bankruptcy was quite a shock, but to be honest, not the most surprising news.

I'm not a financial expert, but our business is struggling to shake off debt, a lot of which is left over from the dot com boom & bust. Admittedly, the company has had it's dark times during the early 2000s, but those responsible have been punished, and we have an entirely new organisation. Our current CeO, Mike Zafirovski (Mike Z to us employees) is the best we've had in a long time. Hell, even us Brits have adopted the 'Mike Zee' rather than 'Mike Zed' pronunciation, such is our loyalty. That's a big deal!

I joined Nortel in the UK straight from University in 1996, so have seen the amazing highs of 1999 - 2001, and the subsequent lows. A lot of people have come and gone, sadly most have gone. What remains, however, is in my opinion a group of tough, battle hardened, dedicated professionals, just aching to enjoy the good times again. I know we would all agree the excesses of 2000 will never return. Fine by me. All we want is a fair chance to turn a decent profit, and continue to contribute to the global telecoms revolution.

Reading the Canadian Globe & Mail news coverage of today's events, I was most impressed by comments left on their web page, in the middle of the freezing Canadian night, by readers of various opinions. There was a lot of support for the company, and some people ready to have a kick. What most made me smile, though, were those who were correcting the other's spelling and grammar. Great fun, and an example of how the Canadians take pride in everything they do.

I've worked in Nortel's Technical Support organisation for the majority of my career, and have recently moved to become a Project Manager. I have worked with some of the most innovative, clever, and hard working people in the industry. A lot of them are still here. If you can value a company on it's products, people, and customers, then we are certainly a world leader (even despite my admittedly biased opinion).

Tough times, but tough characters. The banks have had some help - I hope there are a few dollars (or a few hundred million dollars!) still free for the manufacturers. Then we can get on with delivering the future.

Thanks for reading,

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