Sunday, December 24, 2006

Facade shields the darkness


Mother Corp, lit up
December 2006 [Embiggening will result from a mouse click. And "embiggen" will be a dictionary word someday if I have my druthers.]

Yesterday marked ten years since we first pulled our snow-covered car into London. I relocated my family from Montreal so that I could work in the place pictured above. A little under seven years after our almost-Christmas-Eve arrival, I came to my senses and quit. Seven year itch? Quite possibly. But I'd been itching for some time.

Every stereotype you can imagine about the soulless, bureaucratic corporation would likely apply here. I've got at least one book in my head, and likely more. Dilbert has nothing on some of the folks who work within these walls.

Yet it's a part of my history, and as such I don't regret having worked there. Our coming to this town opened up doors that I likely would never have even known existed had we stayed put. And as boneheaded as some of my colleagues - mostly supervisors/leaders - were, I also had the privilege of working with some of the smartest folks I've ever met. Good and bad: no different than any other company, job, or life event.

Still, every time they turn on the lovely lights in the leadup to Christmas, I think of how a beautiful facade can be used to mask the darkness inside. Strange, isn't it?

Your turn: Got any big-company-job horror stories?

Technical update: I'm spending somewhat more time disconnected this weekend than I usually do. No worries: all is well. I'm just enjoying some much-needed quiet time with the folks who matter most. Comments are, as always, on moderation. So if you post a comment and it takes the better part of a day for it to appear on the site, please don't be alarmed. I'll do my best to approve submitted comments at least daily.

12 comments:

srp said...

Here from Michele and just in time for a new post. Actually I commented before and then Blogger started spitting up the 500 code error and seemed to go down. I guess it was a mild hiccup.

About the horror stories of a big corporation. How about two physicians who own a small lab, a third works for them. After 12 years, the two owners sell the lab to a conglomerate who sells to another larger conglomerate and then suddenly the third person is out of a job. Now, the large corporation has systematically dismantled the lab, almost 20 people in a small town had to scramble to find jobs and as of October 31, the place ceased to exist at all. What a waste.

But life goes on.

sage said...

Hey Camni, I think many of us have stories like this from the past (and many people are living them in the present). I have my books to write too! However, I don't think it's just big corporations, sometimes leaders of small companies and firms try to make up for their size with their attitudes, creating a hell-like existance for those under them.

kenju said...

Mr. kenju has some horrible stories about corporate America, Carmi, particularly as it relates to sales of computers and related equipment, back in the early days. It would take DAYS to tell them.

Have a good day with your family, and don't worry about us - we will fend for ourselves while you recharge your batteries!

Anonymous said...

I've walked those hallowed halls ofetn myself. It was a much better company before the takeover.

I've served my employer for 38 years. It's not the same company that it was either.

Happy Holidays, Carmi.

CD

KaraMia said...

I have many..but until I quit I have to be good...ok, I have to be MY version of good...lol

Anonymous said...

Merry Christmas, Carmi and family!

Karen said...

Good morning, Carmi. It's very early Christmas morning and I'm the only one awake. I wish you and your family a very happy holiday season and an even happier new year.

As to corporate horror stories, let's just say that my decision to quite 5+ years ago was the best thing I've ever done. And yet, how can I begrudge a place that gave me some of the best friends I'll ever have in my life? We parted company (pardon the pun) and I choose to put a positive spin on the whole adventure.

Blessings!

Karen said...

Good morning, Carmi. It's very early Christmas morning and I'm the only one awake. I wish you and your family a very happy holiday season and an even happier new year.

As to corporate horror stories, let's just say that my decision to quit 5+ years ago was the best thing I've ever done. And yet, how can I begrudge a place that gave me some of the best friends I'll ever have in my life? We parted company (pardon the pun) and I choose to put a positive spin on the whole adventure.

Blessings!

David said...

only one set of stories about my eleven years with the phone co.
it was painful but needed to find my way here working for the best Boss I will ever have ( me ) and doing what I love.

Claire said...

I had the perfect job, great career prospects, great money, everything I'd ever wanted. Unfortunately the company was soul-less and cruel. I got singled out by one of the Senior Partners who took an instant dislike to me and over the 18 months I worked their I was bullied in so many humiliating ways. It seemed the perfect company to work for at the time. I remember going for my interview and seeing the modern well designed reception and offices and thinking this is where I belong! Little did I know what came with that sort of place!

I'm no longer so trusting of companies!

I hope you and yours are having a wonderful Christmas Day!

Anonymous said...

I have worked for some rather large, impersonal corporations and some smaller establishments as well. I have even worked for myself from time to time, but I never liked my boss!

I am fortunate to be leaving college with a significant measure of life, including corporate life, experience. I know what to beware of, which pitfalls to avoid and the traps that lay before me. Journalism isn't all that different from any other industry inasmuch as money still talks.

However, unlike many other capitalistic ventures, it seems to me that a greater purpose beyond the almighty dollar still exists. Oh sure, at the corporate level, it's all about profit and loss, but in the newsroom, still, a different attitude prevails - and the driving force that commits one to a passion takes over.

Anonymous said...

Hi there..........

Very interesting question and revealing facade. The building looks very much like the one I work in...

I work for government..........a corporation of sorts. The frontline people I work with are full of soul and compassion. it is a family of sorts, and I know it's a special place and situation. It blows my mind sometimes how much love and support they give me and I hope they feel the same way........we all recognize how special this is.

I also love the clientele I work with and the profession I am in. I learn WAY more from them about life and struggles and living than I will ever be able to give back.

having stated all that........the management do their very dysfunctional best to screw things up. It would take hours to describe their ineptness..... and I have thought many times that I need to get out of there. But, it's the people in the frontlines..my colleagues......and the clientele I work with that keep me going to work everyday.

It definately is a struggle in my head to find balance.

Why is it that management lures such doughheads????

I love your photography.....