Why do We do What We Do
Friday, November 4, 2016 • Marty Snyder • CIC
This week I asked some you why you worked for CIC. I deeply appreciate the replies. Why we do things often gets less attention than "what" we do and "how" we do it. I think that's caused in part by human nature and I was recently told that there are two different parts of the brain that govern these different questions. The "why" question being governed by part of the brain that is more responsible for subconscious thought. So asking the question "why" and bringing it to the conscious part of our brain requires additional effort. For those of you I didn't ask, I'm asking you now. If you hit reply and answer I would be grateful for your replies. The reason "why" I'm asking is because I've done some thinking about my own reasons "why", I had not given this question the attention it deserves, but thinking about it, I've learned that my "why's" (and probably everyone's else's) are mostly guided by what we desire. I believe that's okay, I'm not trying to create an existential crisis for anyone.
So this is "why" I work for CIC. First, I relish freedom to make my own decisions. If this were 1776, I would be a Patriot of the new Colonies. I ascribe to the live free or die policy, even since before I knew it was New Hampshire's state slogan. But that's only part of the story because I believe that corporations and business in America is generally sick with greed. Greed drives the motives of many and nowhere else is it more apparent than in businesses. Before you accuse me of altruism let me assure you, I am greedy because I am human. However, I learned a long time ago that systems (societies, governments, corporations) where the individuals involved collectively put the needs of everyone else in the system first then everyone in the system gains more which then satisfies the self-serving component that is part of everyone's human nature. In short, if you want more for yourself, then put the needs of others first. This principle is cosmically true.
Are you still with me? Let me share a few stories about how this principle has played itself out at CIC. In 2007 the beginning of the year started out strong. We had a nationwide contract with Clearwire to do all of their surveys and microwave engineering. Things were flowing and we had spent a lot of extra effort to bring in new people and teach them those skills so we could meet the need. Bill S. was brought in just before that time so he will remember those days. We had a large staff of surveyors and engineers. Then almost overnight the work slowed down to a crawl. Clearwire had less to do and all those people CIC employed had nothing to do. But I chose not to initiate a mass layoff. We found things for people to do, none of it was paying the bills. We had a big (HUGE) payroll, but we also had a savings we could draw from.
The lack of work persisted into 2008 and our situation grew dire, but we remained steadfast. As finances got progressively worse, Deborah came up with the idea of furloughs where people received reduced pay and kept their benefits, the policy started with management, we still had to lay some people off. Everyone was nervous, then one day in April of 2008, providentially, I got a call from the Vice President of a Division of Sprint that invited me to dinner. At that dinner this individual said to me he wanted to hire CIC to take over all the backhaul of the company across the nation. He told me that I was to go to his primary Director as soon as possible to discuss the contract. So I made the appointment and met with the man in charge of the work. In that meeting we were given a contract and asked to start immediately. Walking out of that meeting I called our Administrator to tell her the outcome and she started to cry. I heard later from her that when she called our Microwave VP, he started to cry. For those of you who don't know, our MW VP is the father of another employee, Mike. Our MW VP was instrumental in building our microwave department. To say the least he is not the type of guy to cry.
The work began, not without its challenges but the fact that we had a huge team of people ready to take action enabled us to take on the project successfully, which is something we could not have done if we did not consider the needs of the individuals first. I believe this is an example of my belief that if the individuals in the system put the needs of others first, then eventually the system will take care of most every individual's desires.
This is a very imperfect approach. It doesn't work all the time. There are times when putting other's first requires deep sacrifice, and as history will prove, even death can be the result of some of those sacrifices. I don't believe there is a perfect system, but I believe that this is the best system. If given the "freedom" to choose between either of the two systems mentioned I will choose the later. Yes, we had a big layoff after that 2008 spurt, by 2009 we found ourselves in another economic slump, again we saved our money and held on to as many individuals as we could for as long as we could. Then, again in 2011 another demand growth allowed those people to be back at work and CIC flourished again. Then another downturn in 2014 and yes another layoff, but we still held on to everyone possible for as long as possible before being forced to lay them off. We did the best we could and we will always do the best we can; because that is what we believe.
I say all of this because I was challenged by someone to answer the question "why". That challenge caused me to ask some of you, why do you work for CIC? Now I'm asking the rest of you, why do you work for CIC? My answer to that question is this. Because I want the freedom to do what I want, and I want to create a better system that takes care of the people because I believe that when an individual puts others first over their own needs, ultimately that individual will get what they want in a better way. And that "better way" is that it will happen in a manner that strengthens human relationships, builds stronger bonds between people and those stronger bonds are satisfying to the soul of the human spirit. I guess you could say I'm selfish for freedom, better relationships and stronger bonds with people that feed my soul. Thanks to each of you that allow me this.
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About Marty Snyder
Marty Snyder is President of CIC, a future thinking wireless firm founded in 2002, currently focused on microwave, satellite and small cell development.