How I Spent My Summer

August 29, 2008

In early July I was called to a meeting at DST Human Resources (HR) to discuss my position.  DST, a large corporation, is half owner of Argus Health Systems, which is the company I work for.  Ever since I joined Argus in January 2007 there has been some upheaval, including a major project cancellation, several reorganizations of the Information Technology department, and quite a few resignations. These resignations included all of the other members of the architecture team I had joined, included its manager.  By December 2007 I was the sole remaining architect.

During the first six months of this year there were a couple of discussions about potential future paths for me to take, however no movement towards those options ever happened.  The meeting at HR in July was to inform me that my current position had been eliminated,  and that I was being placed in an internal job placement program. DST and Argus recognize that sometimes people become displaced, but that they might still have value to the company.  The placement program was put into place to try and retain people rather then just terminate them.

The program was initially slated to run through August 22nd.  If at that time no new position had been found for me, I would have an exit interview and be terminated.  In the last week prior to the deadline, I finally started getting interviews, and ultimately was looked at by four managers.  Since the HR process around an offer takes time, my deadline date was extended to August 28th.

Wednesday morning I was made an offer by one of the managers, fortunately the one I had hoped would approach me.  I will finish this week at my current job, and report to my new position in mid-September, after returning from vacation.

I will be working as an Application Analyst Consultant for the CMS Program Office at Argus.  Application Analysts work directly with the users of automated solutions, they gather and present requirements, influence design, manage projects, et cetera.  Part of the changes that Argus has been experiencing the last 18 months has resulted in increased responsibility for the Application Analysts.  Many of the activities that were in the Architects realm before have now moved to the AA realm.

One of my long-term projects here involved the CMS Program Office (CPO) so I know the manager I'll be working for, and several of the people on his team, already.  I also have worked with my new manger's supervisor, who is the head of CPO.

CMS, or the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, is the government agency overseeing, among other things, Medicare Part D. The group I am joining is responsible for several of the CMS mandated communications between insurance companies and their members. Explanation of Benefits letters, Transition letters, and Direct Member Reimbursements are all part of these communications.

My new manager has told me that he values the technical expertise I bring, and the contacts I have within the IT organization. My role will, in part, be a liaison between the CMS Program Office and IT.  It will be less nuts-and-bolts technical, but still heavily involved with technology solutions and management.

Obviously, Sibylle and I are hugely relieved to have this placement process end successfully.  Until Wednesday, canceling or postponing our Europe trip was a very real possibility.  With a transfer in hand, we will be leaving, as planned, for our European vacation.  And when we return, I'll start a new job.

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Mark H. Nichols

I am a husband, cellist, code prole, nerd, technologist, and all around good guy living and working in fly-over country. You should follow me on Twitter.