18 years ago almost to the day, I walked into an engineering office in Lower Baggot Street in Dublin for an interview. The position was as a Cad Monkey, a very junior Cad Monkey at that, and was only meant to last 2 weeks. Well I got that position and stayed there for 12 years.
Over the course of those 12 years, the company grew and grew. The company changed as it grew and so did its name. Parts of the original company were got rid of and new directors came on board to lead the company into the future. Along side all those changes, my role was changing too. No longer was a I junior Cad Monkey, I became the Cad Monkey, then became the Cad Manager and finally I became Systems Manager (covering CAD and IT). As my work load grew, so did my salary and to say I was happy would be an understatement. Sure not everything went to plan and not every day was a good day, but the good times far outweighed the bad. I think the key factor there was the staff, we all got on. We all liked to socialise together and we were a team, a bloody good one at that.
In 2002 things started to change. We got taken over by a multi national. They had their own ways of doing things and imposed them on us. It didn’t always go down well… They had different ideas on how to do things and they made it known. My role within this new company changed too. I went from being a Systems Manager for one Dublin office, to being IT Manager for three Dublin offices. I then was made temporary IT Manager for Ireland, a role which would soon become a permanent role. With this new role, I got to travel and meet staff in other offices through out the group and I developed friendships that I still have to this day.
As I said, after the takeover in 2002, things changed. Much as I liked many of the people I worked with, I didn’t really enjoy working there. It really started to eat away at me and by 2005, I was itching to get away. I wanted to go back to being a Cad Monkey, but due to the position I had reached, I found it difficult to find a company that would let me downgrade my career… Eventually in 2006, I got a call out of the blue and on the spur of the moment, I handed in my 30 day notice and set about getting my affairs in order. To be honest, I was a little sad to leave those people behind, but I was delighted to have left. The company I had joined all those years before, was no longer there… The soul had been ripped out of it by this corporate regime.
You are probably wondering where I am going with these ramblings. Well earlier this week, I heard the sad news that the company I left back in 2006, had gone in to liquidation. For me, it’s sad on two accounts. The first obviously being that there are people losing their jobs at a difficult time, people who have been there a long time. That’s not an easy thing to get over and there are limited jobs in the engineering market as it is here in Ireland. The second is a more personal sadness. The company I joined all those years ago in 1994 is no longer there. Sure it ceased to be back in 2002 when it was bought over, but the heart of it, the history of it, the very fibre of it, was still there. There was a family tree if you like, and sitting proudly in there, amongst all the other companies that were taken over by White Young Green (the company in question) was Cuthbert Condron Associates, a place where I learned so much and was given as much support as I needed to grow my abilities.
That lineage is now no more…. Much as I bitched and moaned about WYG to my friends and colleagues, it’s still a sad sad day to see it go from the heady heights of the Celtic Tiger to its death bed. I do believe I’ll miss the place and I never, not for a moment, thought I would say that.
***** Update *****
Just a brief update, it’s been reported that the WYG Offices in Northern Ireland are not affected by the above news and are trading profitably.