The American Caliban (substitute) wrote,
The American Caliban
substitute

My Corporate Anthem

From 1998 until 2000 I worked for a dot-com. kraq, lesboot, and amorpoeta did too; that's where I met them. It was a pretty damn good job. I learned a lot there, met some people who are friends for life, got paid pretty well. It was unspeakably horrible right at the end but not until then.

Typical for places like this, it went from 25 to 500 people during my tenure there, and odd things happened as a result. Bizarre and incompetent people were hired, including a Business Communication Course Writer who couldn't find the ampersand on a keyboard and applauded himself after he urinated. Salespeople went into the field to push products that did not and could not exist. One employee sent poems to everyone to encourage us, including a hymn to customer service called "May I Help You?".

One day it came time to completely reorganize the technology department, which not only made the product but also supported all the other employees' computer use. Everything was going to be turned upside down, new groups were formed, responsibilities shifted, and most important of all the whole procedure for tech support was to change. My boss prepared a presentation on all of this material.

At the meeting, though, we didn't go right into that. After the CEO had told us how big and wonderful these changes were, another employee stepped up. This guy was a teacher with a master's degree who wrote courses for us. He was also a model and actor, and a very ...enthusiastic guy. He had with him a guitar. He was wearing a cowboy hat.

At this point a more sensible person would have made cramping motions and fled the room, but I was hypnotized. What the hell is Rob about to do? He introduced himself by saying that we were about to have a lot of changes in our workplace that would be hard to understand and probably annoying, so he was going to help us into it with a song. Strum, strum, grin. And off he went. It started something like:

Come gather around employees
Of this company we share
I've got a song to sing to you
Because I know you care

Mike wrote down a policy
Tom and Alec did approve
We're gonna change Technology
'Cause the company's on the mooooove


I think I may have destroyed a ceiling tile with my mind at this point.

Tech support is different now
Everyone's got to change
We're going to move together
Together and forever
Just like you and me cowboy
Out.. on.. the.. RAAAAAAANGE


There was a silence that that of the grave when he finished. Then the CEO began clapping and laughing enthusiastically and most of the people in the room did also. I concentrated on keeping my vagus nerve from going into a spasm and stopping my heart.

I should have realized then that it was time to get out of that place. Later on we had horrible power struggles, the departure of the useful and crowning of the incompetent, and then finally a tragic dénouement involving an anti-semitic CFO, his crypto-nazi stooge, sexual and racial harassment, mass resignations, email break-ins, and fraud. The company changed it name and then spectacularly shit the bed a year or so after I left.

That guitar should have been enough, though.
Tags: dot com, kumbayah, music, personal narrative, tag, warning signs, work hell
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