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Old 08-30-2012, 05:10 PM   #21
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I think Ziggy has described the shift of late to the new corporate normal. I've got 17+ years with the various flavors of my megacorp (mergers/sales/spinoffs/etc... but I'm in the same business just under a new corporate heading.) It started out very much a meritocracy. We had teams that would work hard - more experienced folks would mentor those coming up through the ranks... we all worked hard to meet our deadlines. But we worked together. Then they implemented various performance management systems to generate lists for layoffs. The bottom 10% would be in the next layoff. If your group didn't have any slackers, then they cut good people. It was an arbitrary number... but it was maintained. After a few years of dropping the bottom 10-20% per year we're down to the bone. Slackers were culled a long time ago. Now they still rank us against each other. Which sounds great unless you actually need to work as a team. In many groups - people are actively pitted against each other in cage match type work environment.... whoever can work the longest hours, or steal the most credit for other work, wins and gets to keep their job. Help out the new guy - NO WAY... they might get a better ranking than you then. This is the new normal. I'm fortunate to be in a group that avoided this for a long time. But we just lost a few people in the latest round of layoffs. And the people were good... not slackers. It sucks.
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Old 08-30-2012, 05:44 PM   #22
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Excellent description of today's corporate working environment.
Unfortunately it is becoming more true... but I see signs of young people rebelling against this and valuing their quality of life more... although this trend was obscured by the current recession
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Old 08-30-2012, 05:46 PM   #23
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Of the many places I have worked, I can think of exactly one where getting ahead was only about ability and hard work were what got you ahead. Everywhere else (including my current place of funployment) was more about politics than anything else.
That's been my exact observation as well. I've have seen really hardworking and brilliant people be denied opportunities for upward mobility because they rubbed someone the wrong way; could be umpteen years ago but they still remember. I've also seen perfectly fine people and great employees kept out from deserving positions because of one person at the top.
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Old 08-30-2012, 05:50 PM   #24
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Unfortunately it is becoming more true... but I see signs of young people rebelling against this and valuing their quality of life more... although this trend was obscured by the current recession
True, the Millennial generation is apparently shaking things up:

How millennials are transforming the workplace - The Week

Quote:
Millennials want more flexible work hours, feeling that it's pointless to adhere to a rigid 9-to-5 schedule if they can still get their work done without being tethered to a desk. They want companies to take advantage of technology and embrace Skype and other forms of telecommuting. They want the freedom to use social media; some have even quit jobs that bar Facebook at the office. They want big responsibilities as soon as they arrive, and they want to be promoted quickly. Above all, they expect their jobs to be fulfilling: According to a recent MTV survey, 90 percent of millennials believe they deserve their "dream job."
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Old 08-30-2012, 05:52 PM   #25
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Pretty much every job I've worked at has been happy and fun initially. Over time changes occur that make them not where I want to be, but that's why we move on to new ones every few years. But the game industry is very project oriented, so that's normal, I'm always impressed by the folks on this board who have worked at the same place for 30+ years, I've never been at a company a full 4 years (I think 3 years, 10 months at WotC is my record) in my 18 years of career so far.
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Old 08-30-2012, 05:58 PM   #26
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That's been my exact observation as well. I've have seen really hardworking and brilliant people be denied opportunities for upward mobility because they rubbed someone the wrong way...
..or were too old. In my last years of work, the young pretty people with no life and no families plus no problems living life on the road for the organization were safe and prized. No, not bitter. Just glad I saw it and recognized what was going on before it destroyed me.
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Old 08-30-2012, 06:00 PM   #27
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..or were too old. In my last years of work, the young, pretty people with no life and no families plus no problems living life on the road for the organization were safe and prized.
That's so true. It's exactly that way at my Mega Corp and even worse since they layed off 25% of the department.
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Old 08-30-2012, 06:22 PM   #28
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Reading these posts:

a) makes me so grateful I'm no longer putting up with the crap - I still, after 5 yrs retired, sometimes find myself clenching up at bad memories

b) makes me so angry that people of energetic, enthusiastic talent are beaten down in their careers. What a horrible waste.

Thanks Purron, for the Devo. Best Stones cover ever.
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Old 08-30-2012, 08:43 PM   #29
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Yup, it is like that in my sector of law too, except the minimum hours were pretty darn high to begin with, and you definitely didn't get 1.5x for working even more. That's why when I was doing my job search, I gave the finger to the crappy private sector job prospects and went with a public sector job, can't argue with higher pay, much better benefits, and much lower expected hours. Sadly, the law degree was optional, unless I want to be a judge, which would require working longer than is in the plan. I've noticed a definite trend of some top talent fleeing the private sector. I am sure things will swing around eventually, but that doesn't matter much for me since I need to build my career now, not in five years.
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Old 08-30-2012, 09:13 PM   #30
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The working environment has changed progressively and in ways that are generally worse for the employees:

1. globalisation has meant that at least some work can be done anywhere in the world and if it can be done more cheaply elsewhere, it will be. It may be good for the consumer and the workers in the lower cost locations but it puts pressure on everyone to work harder, longer, more efficiently and be willing to take home less

2. technology - for some jobs, technology has had a similar impact to globalisation

3. communications - when I started work, once you left the office people could not get hold of you and did not expect to. Mobile phones, Blackberry etc have meant that you can be contacted 24x7 and clients now expect that as a matter of "normal" business responsiveness

4. regulations - without wishing to get into a debate over good and bad regulations, we now live in a world where companies and their employees have to spend increasing amounts of time dealing with issues that have very little to do with producing the goods or services they were hired to produce. These things keep getting added to to the workload without anything being taken off the other side - result = longer working hours

5. we live in a competitive world. Companies which are not competitive typically fail with the usual consequences for their employees. It's inevitable that when companies try to become and remain competitive, this means that their employees will be placed under continued pressure to work harder, smarter and longer.

Even in my own profession (law), I've seen the expected working hours for the front line lawyers at large firms ratched up from a soft target of 1400 billable hours a year to 1900 or 2000 hours as a standard hard target with non-billable work being added on top of that. At the same time, clients have gone from only expecting you to be contactable during extended office hours to being on call 24x7.

In some respects I hope the younger generations "rebellion" against these demands will succeed. Given that there will always be no shortage of smart people willing to put in the long hours, I remain scpeptical. In the private sector at least, there is no avoiding the fact that it is a highly competitive world.

Looking forward to the time when I can watch all this from the sidelines.
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Old 08-30-2012, 09:13 PM   #31
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A job is like chemotherapy.

If you need it, you're anxious to get it, worried that it might be taken away before you're ready, and happy if the side effects aren't too awful. But all things considered, you'd rather not need it. And if you do need it, you want to get it over with as soon as you possibly can!
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Old 08-30-2012, 09:43 PM   #32
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A job is like chemotherapy.

If you need it, you're anxious to get it, worried that it might be taken away before you're ready, and happy if the side effects aren't too awful. But all things considered, you'd rather not need it. And if you do need it, you want to get it over with as soon as you possibly can!
Amen. I've been at my workplace for nearly 30 years. Up until 25 years, I liked it. Suddenly, funding was less, regulations more, and I started dreaming of retirement. I've been mostly unhappy, stressed and worried the last few years. I know the stress affects my health. Hopefully it won't be but 2-3 years longer.
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Old 08-31-2012, 02:06 AM   #33
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Many people have told me in the past they would like to have my job. They have no idea.
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Old 08-31-2012, 03:43 AM   #34
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Wow, I'm sorry to hear how awful corporate life has become. Especially for you, Zig. That has got to come to an end.

I guess I have no idea about the getting ahead/corporate lifestyle thing, as I have only worked in small businesses. I don't work more than 40 hours, never take work home, and honestly can think of only one of my friends who has to take random phone calls at odd hours (she's a database person who works for a corporation).

I think I wouldn't survive 10 minutes where y'all work. I've only worked one job where the culture was a stay-late one, and I actually enjoyed it for a while, but was happy when I finally realized I had better things to do after five.

There are still sucky things about my job for sure, but that's anywhere. I'd have to leave if a job was as bad as some of you have described, even if my only alternative money making plans involved selling plasma.
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Old 08-31-2012, 08:13 AM   #35
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My experience with Corporate America is much as described by others on this thread. (Ziggy29). I have only been retired a short while. Working in that environment was a living He!!. I left at the earliest date I could and still get the pension and medical. This is a drawback of working for a pension. You can be trapped by it since most of the money comes at the date you qualify. Leave early and you get little. Which is what they are counting on.

I do not think the younger generation will be able to change the corp culture. Too many low cost overseas workers. They can hire five engineers for what they paid me.

They do not really expect you to have a career and work till retirement. They take young people and work them to death in hopes of promotion. Till they burn out and quit or are laid off. Those that do survive are the type of people who thrive in a cut throat environment. Not nice people to be around. Horrible to work for.

I see the new young people at work buying cars that cost three times what I have ever paid for one. Bigger houses than I have after many years of work. They think they have it made. They are just hammering the chains around their feet. When they wake up in ten years they may see what situation they are really in.

As for mentoring the young. Since we are forced ranked there is little incentive to help anyone else. If you do try to help someone younger they usually will not listen to you, if you are in management they will follow orders though. Not really the same thing.

But, time for more coffee. The granddaughter is coming over later. Life is much better now.
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Old 08-31-2012, 12:03 PM   #36
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Those that do survive are the type of people who thrive in a cut throat environment. Not nice people to be around. Horrible to work for.
This is the reason I bailed. It had nothing to do with the hours, workload, or nature of the work. What a shame.
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Old 08-31-2012, 02:38 PM   #37
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Never hated my job, just after 32 years kind of got tired of doing it.
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Old 08-31-2012, 03:10 PM   #38
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True, the Millennial generation is apparently shaking things up:

How millennials are transforming the workplace - The Week
This stuff is exactly why wise old guys like me can survive. We observe and pick our tasks that are most advantageous. While the youngsters make demands and blatantly appear to be slackers, the older people know better. Remember "Cool Hand Luke" - I'm shaken boss..,"
Full Disclosure - Be sure your FI before you pull this crap.
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Old 08-31-2012, 09:42 PM   #39
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I see the new young people at work buying cars that cost three times what I have ever paid for one. Bigger houses than I have after many years of work. They think they have it made. They are just hammering the chains around their feet. When they wake up in ten years they may see what situation they are really in.
This kind of thing breaks my heart. I know a couple that just spent 7 years painstakingly getting out of debt. Much scrimping and sacrifice, mostly on the part of the wife who seized control of the checkbook. Now that they are debt free, the guy is insisting on buying a 55K vehicle. INSISTING. He says he's earned it. (I don't know what they bring home, probably 60k ish) Zero retirement savings. Two young kids.

Wife doesn't want to spend the money but is getting worn down from the constant argument.. I want to hug her. And smack him.

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Old 09-01-2012, 07:47 AM   #40
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This kind of thing breaks my heart. I know a couple that just spent 7 years painstakingly getting out of debt. Much scrimping and sacrifice, mostly on the part of the wife who seized control of the checkbook. Now that they are debt free, the guy is insisting on buying a 55K vehicle. INSISTING. He says he's earned it. (I don't know what they bring home, probably 60k ish) Zero retirement savings. Two young kids.

Wife doesn't want to spend the money but is getting worn down from the constant argument.. I want to hug her. And smack him.

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