After more than two decades in the business, Mr. Dhanjal left the company to start his own business, called Blue Lion, and said he had not looked back since.
The company owner said the current upheavals at Rolls-Royce could signal a fresh start for the thousands of workers facing layoffs, many of whom work in Derby.
Here, in his own words, Mr. Dhanjal shares his story with Business Live.
“There really is life after Rolls-Royce”
I joined Rolls-Royce almost 25 years ago after graduating from college.
I was then sponsored by the company as a postgraduate to complete my MBA in Marketing before becoming a leader in process improvement.
Rolls-Royce has always taken care of its employees, in good times and bad. For example, September 11th had a huge impact on the aerospace industry around the world.
But Rolls-Royce was able to bounce back and diversify its portfolio across different sectors, including energy, marine and electrical systems.
Today, the Covid-19 pandemic continues to wreak havoc, with no sign of the extent of the collateral damage it has caused or continues to cause.
Rolls-Royce has said it will cut 9,000 jobs and warned it will take “several years” for the airline industry to recover from the coronavirus pandemic.
In 2014, I had the challenge of working on the Business Transformation Program of the Marine division after obtaining my Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt.
As part of the transformation strategy, Rolls-Royce prepared to sell the Marine division in order to be able to consolidate its portfolio after having sold the Energy division a few years earlier.
I was instrumental in playing a key role in implementing the strategy and faced the dilemma of returning to the aerospace division or accepting voluntary severance pay.
When people join Rolls-Royce and have been there for 10 or 20 years, there’s a saying people used to quote: “If you cut me, I’ll bleed blue blood.”
Our lives are entirely built around Rolls-Royce. It’s a family and a community, not just an employer.
Some households have three generations working for the business and it is a way of life that is passed down from generation to generation.
There is a status of pride that employees feel and a history that has seen generations work for a lifetime at this company.
I was also inspired to work at Rolls-Royce when I graduated, as my father worked at NEI International Combustion, in Sinfin Lane, Derby, which was taken over by Rolls-Royce in the 1980s. Two of my uncles also worked there before migrating to Canada.
Having worked for the engineering giant for 20 years you become part of the family and your mindset and culture is truly “This is my life and there is no life after Rolls-Royce” .
You get used to the fast pace of daily challenges, problem solving, and a sense of accomplishment through fighting fires.
It is only when you change your perspective and remove the blind spots, that you can begin to see and realize that there is much more to life in general and many job and business opportunities outside. from Rolls-Royce.
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This happened to me after I left Rolls-Royce to start my own group of companies called Blue Lion.
It has now been three years since I created several businesses and successfully opened my own office to help young people and adults improve their skills and knowledge through lean learning and continuous improvement.
Supporting train builder Bombardier in operational excellence during the first year of leaving Rolls-Royce has given me a better understanding of how invaluable skills learned at Rolls-Royce are in the outside world.
If you are a Rolls-Royce employee and are feeling anxious, stressed and confused, we are all together.
We are all going through these unprecedented coronavirus circumstances. Take time for yourself and take a gratitude approach through a high performance mindset.
Try to spend more time on things that are in your control and manage the time that you spend on things that are not.
But believe me, there really is life after Rolls-Royce.
Anyone who would like to talk to Harj about the challenges of getting out of the Rolls-Royce world, send him an email at [email protected]