Stressful, Overworked, High Turnovers
Localization Project Manager (Contract), Montréal, QC - December 5, 2012
Tread very carefully if you have accepted a position as a Localization Project Manager at this company. The hours are very long, your projects will be between 10-15 per day plus the ones you will need to deliver (can be up to 7-10+ per day depending on the account). It's a high pressure, stressful job with very little to no management support. There is no training. You get 2 days of orientation, 1-2 days of shadowing and then you start on projects for your assigned account. Within 2 weeks, you will be managing a full load and will be expected to just keep asking questions on how to do the tasks until you get the hang of the basics. You will need to be a very fast learner and careful communicator with some of the management (who are also under tremendous strain). The deadlines are very tight and this company expects you to deliver to the hour (negotiation with the client is not encouraged because it makes their stats look bad, even though it would be reasonable for delivering quality work). Overly complicated and cumbersome systems and invoicing method, which is surprising for a software company. Expect to work close to 45-50 hour weeks for the first 3 months but will only be paid up to 45 hrs. You may be able to bring it down to 41-42 hrs depending on how efficient you become after 3 months, and then gradually maybe 40 hrs (regular hours are 37.5). Do not expect any praise or encouragement for a job well done, any mentoring or consistent guidance, management is not that sophisticated. You are a number in this company and basically expected to deliver the bottom line---fast. Your expectation, satisfaction/dissatisfaction is of no concern. Very high turnovers either through people quitting, going on stress/sick leave and not returning, or being fired (many people left after 1-2 months, some of the longest employees in this dept have been there a little over a year). The company work method and values are similar to a factory/fast-food restaurant. They seem to hire young, well educated people between 25-28yrs where it's either their first job, or they need the Canadian work experience and will accept a lower salary. The job title is a bit misleading as it is more like a linguistic coordinator. You don't have the true decision making powers a Project Manager would have in other industries (and certainly not the salary). The company has no will to change as long as the business keeps coming and they are making money, so don't expect it will be better. If you manage to make it through the year, it means you have adapted and will learn the basic principles of Project Management. Use this to go somewhere else where your skills will be valued and further nurtured. SDL is not a company to stay and build your career (atleast not in this division). They look great on paper with all the start-ups the parent company has been buying, and use of technology, but they are inefficient and not forward thinking in terms of management. They had massive lay-offs in 2008 but business started picking up around 2010. If accounts have to cut-back on outsourcing their translations needs due to budget constraints, it quickly affects SDL's revenues. Just go in with your eyes wide open.