CORPORATE BLACK HOLE DEFINED

Note: This is one of three posts going out.

2 today, 1 tomorrow. The 2nd and 3rd will be about esoteric EMFs.

What is the Corporate Black Hole I write and speak about?

It’s my term for a span of years in which I worked for a company if not an industry that became toxic as our country went into a deep recession with Detroit and the automotive industry hit harder

As usual

And tech evolved in ways that left winners and losers.

UNIX and DOS along with Novell and NT drastically and damatically reshaped the industry.

And the people and communities part of it.

I learned some brutal realities in those years but learn I did.

In the case of the company I was at the environment deteriorated as we went from 145K employees to 39K which is when I quit.

Black Hole is specific to the fact I lost an entire genre of music – sucked into somewhere while I traveled extensively listening to cassette tapes with heavy metal and/or New Wave/80s music.

The alternative – I was usually driving my car 500 miles (or more) in rural areas – was generally country or preachers.

During those years I watched lunacy, some of which truly was hilarious.  

Showing up to work and being handed a large envelope and told “This is the Meiers-Briggs test.  Go fill it out and give it to the woman in the conference room when you’re done. Don’t talk to anyone about your answers. Anyone refusing to take it is being laid off.”

Alrighty then.  

I’m an INTJ.

One of 2 in the group at the time.

As Consultant and Computer Engineering/Computer Tech/IT were considered top jobs for INTJs I suppose it satisfied my employer.

Interestingly, people I was closest with throughout my career are also – in general – INTJs though they weren’t necessarily in pre-sales or tech specific jobs.

Hearing stories from colleagues in other offices – what they were going through …

“I was told if I don’t get this Novell certification I’m being laid off.”

No stress there.

Lot of that going around back then…

One guy who was a manager said his manager told him he could rent a car if he stayed in a cheap hotel.  His stories of being in a place in a marginal neighborhood with constant construction noise…

Not that many of us fared better as the company looked to cut costs.

When I was at one training course – the evening I checked in – after driving over 5 hours (293 miles give or take) the guy offered to sell me a Lojack for my car.  When I lay down at night?  The sound of car alarms going off was a near constant.

Some of the stories will be from a time after the Corporate Black Hole years.

When I was at a different company.

An example

I was once put into a group that was going to partner with a software company.

We were going to help them sell their product into our customer base.

I along with about 7 other baffled souls listened as they tried to explain what the product did.

I, in particular, wanted to know what was in the guts.  My customers had come to expect that I took such into consideration when helping them choose an international supply chain solution.

The guy doing the sell job?  Every time any of us asked for clarification on exactly what it was the product did?  He said:  “If you’re asking that then you’re asking the wrong question.  You should be talking about the value proposition.”

Every one in that group quit the company within 3 days.

Including two from our European offices.

Three of us quit that afternoon.

And

I showed up to a meeting only to find out that the entire specialist team due to present that morning was laid off.

That morning.

I stood mute as they explained someone got the bright idea the company could save money by laying off the entire group of experts in a particular software product and bring in people from the software company to do the work instead.

It really didn’t pan out too well.

I was so fortunate that they all took the high road and presented at the meeting anyway.

Then went to clear out their desks.

You really can’t make this stuff up!

As I go forward with this project I will add some of the funnier stories.

Incidentally – the genre I lost?

Grunge.

Ironic.

Stay tuned!

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