I go to a co-op school, which means internships are an integral part of my education. Right now, I am on my second of three “co-ops,” in which I work full-time instead of taking classes. The length of these co-ops is six months, or July-December for me.
Thought most (if not all) companies that choose to hire co-ops treat us more or less like normal employees, there is still that ever-present knowledge that we are temporary. We do not get benefits, for instance. Though I work 40-50 hours a week, I am not eligible for health insurance or paid time off. I’m only there for six months, after all.
My time and expense sheets are an excel spreadsheet I fill in myself as opposed to the web-based system full-time employees have. I can’t make use of any company discounts, and my access to servers and systems is limited. It’s the latter bit that really sucks. Especially when someone calls me for help and I have to tell them “I know exactly what your problem is and how to fix it, but I can’t because I’m just an intern.”
But alas, there is a bright side.
As was announced this morning, Oracle is to acquire Endeca, the company I currently work for. Once Oracle takes over, there will be a major employment shift. Since Endeca is a software company, developers and those in similar positions have no worries about job security. They are needed and will not be let go.
When it comes to the general and administrative, however, that’s sadly not the case. Those in finance and payroll, for example, should probably start looking for a new job. Network operations? Oracle has their own servers, their own databases, and their own data centers. They will keep a few Endecans, but not all.
Then it comes to service desk, where I’m positioned. We’ve upgraded the phone system, we’re in the middle of migrating users from one Exchange environment to a new one, and now all of that is for naught. We’re going to be moved to Oracle’s phone system, and Oracle’s Exchange environment. We did all that work, for what?*
That’s not even going into the big question — will we even be needed anymore? I have no idea. I don’t have an answer to that. One person in IT at Endeca worked at ATG when they were acquired by Oracle. About half of the IT team at ATG was giving a position once control went to Oracle. Half. The rest were left go.
Here’s where the bright side of being a co-op comes in: none of this makes any difference to me. My last day is mid-December, so the acquisition will hardly affect me at all. My plans to come here for my next co-op and apply for a full-time position when I graduate are null and void. Overall, I’m okay with that.
What’s terrifying is the situation this puts the rest of my team in. These are people I have grown to enjoy working with. I’ve only been here a few months, but from week 1 I could tell everyone enjoys being here. Even if things are tough or stressful or frustrating at times, they still like what they do. They had a routine, a schedule, a level of confidence, of teamwork… all demolished with a single email.
Their sense of belonging and stability, gone.
Every aspect of life is transient. There are far worse things that can happen, and far more shocking reminders of impermanence. Even so, a sense of uncertainty and confusion pervades through Endeca as people take their last looks at those around them, not sure who will still have a job when this is said and done. Tight-knit teams are prepared to be torn apart.
As my manager said, it was fun while it lasted.
*Honestly, I feel worse about the people who have already gone through the migration. It’s been less-than-smooth thanks to the horrifically buggy program we had to use to migrate users. Some people went through major headaches, and now it’s for nothing.