Originally Posted by socca
To keep my sanity, if I were in your shoes I would abandon the idea that I'm an 'employee'. Instead, I would consider myself a consultant running a small business. Your current (only) client is your current employer. This viewpoint would allow me to view the corporate madness with a certain detachment unavailable to those folks still using the employer/employee master/slave mental model.
I sometimes wonder what would happen if we (in the U.S.) abandoned the 'employee' legal status and made everyone into an independent contractor. This would merely be an acknowledgement of the trend already well underway in America, where the traditional social contract between employer & employee has almost completely broken down. We would suddenly have XX million new small businesses in America, and perhaps a healthier approach to personal money management. This is another half-baked idea that would need much more thought by folks more versed in economics than I.
When I got laid off back in '94 after having good work reviews but at the same time questioning some new management policies (I'm sure that contributed towards my layoff), I decided to try contracting work. For me it improved my outlook towards work 100%. If my boss asked me to work overtime, I always responded with "You realize that I get paid for every hour I work, don't you?". That usually stopped most unrealistic expectations of me...like being on-call 24-7 for no extra pay. Contract work is not for everyone, but it was a huge improvement for me. On the other hand, the contractors were usually the first to go when business slowed down.
When companies try to weed out people that don't have a positive attitude, they must differentiate between constructive criticism versus complaining just to complain. Many times they don't see the difference and layoff anyone who doesn't agree with management and loose really good people that have good ideas. And as a result they actually become weaker companies.