(a.) How did you arrive at this job?
When this question was posed, the respondent described a lengthy career path that lead an industry peer to recommend that he apply. He had recently served as a Chief Operations Manager at a shipping port where he was responsible for the safe handling of large-scale shipments. He wrote emergency response plans and policies that were approved by transportation regulators in order to receive international shipping certification. He had previously been a fire chief and emergency manager for a municipality that directly related to his current position.
(b.) Do you enjoy your job?
For the most part, Gary does enjoy the challenges of the job. He did express a burden of responsibilities and overload of tasks that require constant prioritizing and restructuring of his day. He is considered an expert in many areas and therefore a highly sought after contributor to the organization’s commissioning process. The organization is a metallurgical, iron ore processing plant that is embarking on innovative methods that have only been proven on a model of 1/100th of the actual site. He is fulfilled because of the recognition and respect that he receives from his colleagues and plant superintendent. As the emergency response coordinator he is also satisfied when he affects marked improvements to the infrastructure to optimize preparedness rather than dealing with an aftermath of disaster. Mostly, he enjoys the bond that is innate to the emergency field.
(c.) How do you solve problems or conflict? Maybe it is with weekly meetings?
The interviewee relayed a series of conflicts that have occurred since his arrival to the position. He inherited a team of 20 full-time emergency responders that were given various responsibilities, were qualified at different levels, and, yet were all being paid the same salary. This made it very difficult to motivate the leaders to take action or responsibility. The situation also caused morale problems in the team. One other complication that added to the conflict was the fact that these employees were hired to stay on site for 24 hours throughout their seven-day shift. They were paid for those 24 hours, yet were able to sleep and use 12 of the 24 hours for personal activities, only being available to respond in case of a call. When Gary arrived, they had been changed to a seven-day shift of 12 hours and permitted to leave the site on their 12 hours off. Since the employees were mostly located an hour’s drive away, and they were no longer paid for 24 hours, their effective rate of pay was significantly reduced. Along with his policy and planning responsibilities and the need to familiarize himself with the operations and potential hazards and risks on site, he was challenged with resolving these personnel issues. It required a reworking of policy, a renegotiation of contracts to fairly compensate each team member according to their responsibilities and qualifications, along with his walk about style of leadership to resolve this problem. He met with the team shift on a daily basis at the beginning and has now implemented team leaders that report to him daily.
(d.) Describe the politics of your position.
It was interesting to note that politics within an organization stem from a variety of influences. Mr. Rideout was offered the position on a two-year contract basis with several perks that seemed enticing at the time of offer; however after arriving at the job in his official capacity, he soon discovered the value. Firstly, he was told that he would be creating the scope of the position to be filled later by one of the interviewers and new colleague. This individual is currently paid at a higher rate than Gary and contributes at a much lower value. Other team members are not in a contract status and are therefore rewarded according to AIPs, a target goals program. These members are driven to accomplish these set targets in order to receive bonuses. Gary does not receive any of these bonuses, but is pressured by colleagues and superiors to assist in accomplishing these AIPs. There is a conflict of priorities because of this political structure of incentives.