Friday, March 12, 2010

Corporate America and the Shitter

Once upon a time, big companies ran streamlined. They were headed by powerhouses who meant business, no pun intended. They knew how to make snap decisions. In Donald Trump fashion they laid down the law of hiring and firing with an air of confidence, of arrogance and certainly of their own decision.

They made the rules, they lived and died by the sword as it were. Wheeling and dealing late into the night to get things done, for the greater good of the company. They did what they had to do. People were hired based on their ability to perform. Based on what they had to show for themselves. They were high-fived, they were lighting cigars at the end of a job well done.

Not anymore.

Now it is all politics and red-tape. A person not hired because they are able to perform at an optimal level, but because they pass a mundane "personality test". Not because the tasks they are given to prove they are the best man or woman for the job are completed with vigor and with professionalism, but because they fit a quota, or a tax break.

There are ridiculous HR regulations. Countless seminars on how not to do things. On the sudden uprising on what the world now thinks the word "Ethics" means. Businesses running into the ground because these new and supposedly improved practices give-way to higher turnovers, lower salaries, and people not able to move up in their current positions. Job frustration over having to jump through countless hoops to get a seemingly simple task accomplished, like a circus animal no longer there to perform a job, but a performance to amuse the puppet masters at the top of the food chain in their cushy offices, signing check after check with minimal dollar signs.

This has become the bane of my existence. Caught up in this red-tape like a crime scene. Consumed by the banality of it all. Questioned day after day by colleagues as to why I am not just hired out-right. Complimented by members of senior management for my continued efforts to go above and beyond my basic duties to help others, to get things done. It's not intention as to say "Look at me! look at me!", it's how I was raised. I know what a proper work ethic is, and I am one of the few left in my generation that has one.

I wonder where it all got lost. Where that finite line of definition that led someone in to that ominous office once upon a time, interviewing with the Head Honcho's of yore. Getting grilled incessantly as you sat either timid and frightened by them, or poised and composed. Assuring yourself a job. Proving yourself at that job, and getting a hearty "Good work" as you punched out for the day.

How have the once booming Corporate Tycoons become the timid field mice they are today?

No wonder the economy's in the shitter.


  1. Actually it's kind of a catch 22. There won't be any real improvement in the situation until the folks who are working or have some money from another source start spending on more than just the basics again.
    Bosses will hire temps because they know exactly how much that will cost them. A permanent employee is an unknown quantity... in more ways than one.

    So you see the economy is in the shitter because nobody's working and nobody's working because the economy is in the shitter.

    Wish I had a better answer.

  2. The economy is starting to improve and companies are beginning to hire which is good news. One thing you should consider is, companies and HR are relucant to use temporary agency when unemployment is high. You probably have a better chance finding a position on your own.

    One thing that is hot now is job coach and resume writing experts. You may be able to get some free help in your search. I be glad to assist if you like

    see me at

  3. Smart companies know that hiring temps as a long term solution is not the right answer. It cost more to replace employees than it does to retain old ones. Knowledge transfer, paperwork, training, etc. all comes at a cost. Be it monetary, qualitative or productivity, it's all a cost. It works for a short term solution because it gets the work done. At some point you’ve got to put the fire out and keep it out.

    I believe we are in the midst of a slow moving change. As baby boomer generation retires and moves out of the executive seats, our generations will start to take over. Hopefully we've learned something from the last decade of failures (i.e. 9/11, dotcom, this last lender Catastrophe) that we start to put more plans in place.

    But in all honesty, this worries me just as much. I do think we really are part of a "me" generation (I won’t even get into who I think is to blame for this lol) and that many of our peers are too blind to see what is really going on. We think having an MBA or being an engineer is the answer to the world. We forget that real life experience (vs. “education” or academia) trumps all. That we aren’t entitled to anything just because we are in 30 years debt to an ivy league brand and that just because we show up to work on time everyday doesn’t mean we deserve a promotion in a year.

    Ok, so yes.. we are screwed. Apryl, when are we taking over the world.. brain brain brain brain

  4. Hey... does your blog de capitalize? HAHAHAH... awesome.. after I made sure to be careful typing!

  5. so...yeah, I've been on the temp agency hamster-wheel before, and it sucks. i have a friend who recently did a stint with a temp agency. he called them Vampires.

    btw, you're post had such a nice flow to it :)

  6. and does seem that you're blog does de-capitalize!


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