Back in the late ’90s, I worked for a company whose reputation was so bad that everyone coming in was advised by the old-timers to work for a year or two to get experience, then use that experience to get a better job in the industry anywhere else. There weren’t very many old-timers, and turnover was incredibly high–I think it was around 50%, which is astonishing for a corporation.
Last week, on my way into Large Company in Richmond, which has many, many old-timers and whose corporate atmosphere is wonderful, I was talking to a contractor who worked for a major computer company. We got on the subject of parking (I haven’t had to walk this far to a building since I was in college) and corporate perks (reserved spaces), then onto how I don’t mind execs who have worked hard for years getting well-earned perks, then onto my old company, where only the execs seemed to matter. One of the reasons for the fifty percent turnover is that the peons knew that the execs didn’t give a damn about them. Only high-level management mattered to management, ergo the perks discussion. “It was a terrible place to work,” I said. The contractor said she’d heard that it’s a terrible place to work for now, even on a contracting basis.
Amazing. I haven’t worked for Cendant since 1999, and they still have a crappy reputation.
Thinking about it, I’ve only worked for one other crappy company, and a total of two crappy bosses, since I left Cendant. Most of the rest of my experiences have been great. Then again, I tend not to stay in a lousy job. I’m not one of those people who can be miserable five days a week, and I don’t understand people who don’t make the move to get out of a horrible job. I understand being trapped temporarily due to circumstances, but not more than that. I suffered The Job From Hell for a few months, but I wouldn’t have stayed there for years. Plus, the Boss From Hell actually got nicer after I came back. Partly because he knew I told his HR people what a crappy boss he was, and partly because my replacement quit after one day—at least I survived until the end of the week. Losing two temps in two workdays didn’t give him much of a way to blame it on us.
Oh, and there were all the perks—like Mallomars for $1.39 a box. I bought a case of twelve boxes on my last day there. Hey, I shared! I brought them to NJ with me and gave some to my brothers. But I think I put on five pounds while working for Job From Hell. Hm. Good thing I left.
Anyway, I’ve got some lesson plans to tweak, and some other things to do. I am meeting friends from the DC suburbs at a nice halfway point—Fredericksburg—for dinner. It’s going to be a low posting day, which is just as well. It’s one of the last weekends of summer, and it’s in the eighties here in Richmond. Time to take out the Jeep windows, I think.