10 years ago today was my first day of work at Cummins. I just received my company logo tie tack with an emerald, to go next to my 5-year sapphire version. During this time I’ve:
- had 5 different jobs
- had 8 different bosses
- had jobs where I spent more time in the field than at my desk
- had jobs where I spent
- had jobs where I spent 100% of my time at my desk
- gained experience in engine performance and design, control systems, product validation. new product launches, project management with small/large suppliers, interaction with small/large customer, IT project manage/specification/validation/launch, and financial reporting/forecasting
- switched from service engineering, to field test engineering, to design engineering, to product manager, to financial performance manager
- experienced the worst down-cycle in company history (a few years ago)
- experienced the highest up-cycle in company history (now)
Like any big company, there are some things that are done very well and some frustrating inefficiencies that are baffling. But take one look at the stock performance and you will see that, in the areas where it counts, the company has made all the right decisions in the past few years. I’m particularity impressed by the improvements in products and launches: 10 years ago: late launches, unreliable, not the ideal product for the market segment. Now: early launches, high reliability, the right product for the market segment.
Truthfully, I never thought I’d be here 10 years. The first wave of change happened when people who started at the same time I did started leaving the company. The second wave of change happened a few years later when people I hired started leaving the company. I can see why people leave but I also (obviously) see why they stay.
Sometimes I think that I would love to work for a smaller, more nimble company where I could have a more dramatic impact and better help forge the direction of the company. It’s sometimes frustrating at a large company to force your influence on a large, common, legacy-influenced processes that seem unmovable at times. But as my friend Jayson told me, there is the opposite frustration at smaller companies. The direction can change frequently and with little warning; this can cause you to through away months of work and force you to jump onboard the new bandwagon you didn’t see coming. The grass is always greener, it seems.
Will I be around for my 15-year pin? Well, my instinct is to say “no way,” but history would say otherwise.
Here’s a clip from The Office that really hit home: