Corporate Flush



Going through corporate re-organisation and coming out the other side somewhere other than your organisation is like being flushed down the toilet, it’s a white water ride, you go through a lot of crap and the asshole stays at the top. A bit crude, sorry I know, but hey, I’m the one that got flushed.

I recently went through this with a corporate giant that I obviously no longer work for; I was re-organised. By the mere sound of it I feel like I should have come out of it with a leg for an arm or something like that. I was re-organised but I somehow feel exactly the same. Many of my colleagues and I were designated for termination. Those who were lucky enough to be permanent employees were given redundancies and those of us on a contract were shown the door unceremoniously by shifty eyed executives. Employees were targeted not through a lack of performance or experience, in fact the opposite,  I had received excellent performance reviews and was told that I was the sort of employee the company wanted to retain and develop.  Fast forward a few months and the head honchos decided that it would be financially prudent to send a whole lot of jobs off-shore to save a few bucks. Turns out your longevity at the company depended on what department you worked for, or what level position you held and whether someone overseas, desperate for work, could learn to do your job quickly, just for less money. This is the part where the flush button is pressed.

Swirling, swirling…My fellow flushees and I were given a long time to get used to the idea that we were taking the long ride down the pipe. The coin had flipped now, those of us who were contractors were the lucky ones, we could browse for a new job and leave at our leisure as we had no reason to stay. Those offered redundancies were not so lucky, some were given an end date of up to two years away. A horrible sentance to serve when you know you have no future with the company but must stay to collect the remuneration you are owed. There was not going to be any new budget allocated for training and development for you as you were mid-flush. Why would they develop people on the way out, where is the value for the company in that?

Those who avoided the flush were mostly mid and high level management. I didn’t know of a single manager or above who lost their job. Not sure who they think is going to do all the work now! I’m not bitter, I may sound it but I’m not. Not because it happened anyway, maybe at the process in general; and maybe for the friends left behind still on death row, awaiting their moment of release.  The whole process really messed some people up, the waiting to see who was going to get the chop and then the feeling of being cast aside like an unwanted commodity. What were they going to do now? The stability had been shaken from their lives. The company offered free psychological counseling though, FREE, very generous of them. Glad some of my friends didn’t have to pay for counseling out of their own pockets to discuss the fact they felt like their world was crashing down around them.  Luckily for me I didn’t end up in the Sewer. I actually came out of it feeling renewed with a sense of a better future for me. The Universe has taken care of me and I have a new exciting job that I am loving.

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  1. cabrogal says:

    My sympathies for your plight.

    If there’s any recompense in schadenfreude you might like to think about the effect that sort of ‘restructuring’ has on corporations that engage in it. Almost invariably it’s the employees who engage most directly in customer service who cop the brunt of the layoffs, leaving the company less able to maintain its client base and more focused on the short term demands of the stock market. Many of those who escaped this round of sackings will react by shifting their efforts away from work and towards office politics in an attempt to protect their jobs. The workplace environment will become more stressful and toxic. Upper management will increasingly hear what they want to hear instead of what they need to hear and corporate planning will suffer accordingly. External consultants with no long-term stake in the business will take over much of the decision making. The vital balance between the needs of clients, employees and owners will shift increasingly towards owners and the whole structure will become unstable.

    I’ve seen this sort of thing several times in corporations I worked for. In every instance it heralded irreversible decline and the eventual failure of the business.

    • Its a massive company so I dont think it itself will fail but it will certainly suffer. You are only too right about the toxicity of the work environment. Rumour and descent were rife!

      • cabrogal says:

        Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC) was also massive when I first started working for it. From its first round of ‘downsizing’ to its final demise was no more than seven years. When the rot starts it grows fast, not least because the most talented employees are the ones most able to desert the sinking ship, so they do. When you start to see upper management playing musical chairs you’ll know the end is nigh. They’re usually a little bit ahead of the stock-market and will cash in their options as quickly as possible. Then the share price collapses and the vultures swoop.

  2. My job was made redundant in a round of re-organisation (I was a long way from upsetn by the way). The new way of doing things didn’t want my mix of skills in one person and my work was apportioned out to three or four people who, like the higher-ups, had no real appreciation of the range of things I did.

    Six months later, I heard from an ex-colleague that a recent departmental meeting had concluded that what was needed was an Oracle database administrator who was also familiar with the full range of web protocols, comfortable with domain name management and a competent web designer/author. My ex-colleague raised his hand and said, “You mean someone like Keith?”

    I didn’t care – I had taken early retirement and was busy packing to move to France.

    • Ha! Sounds about right. Kudos to you, sounds like you came out on top!

    • cabrogal says:

      A lot of my IT contracts came because they’d sacked someone like you and realised too late that they were crucial to holding the whole system together. Managerialist performance indicators tend to only highlight areas with known problems. Upper level management are usually oblivious of the parts of the organisation that run smoothly until they do something that changes that. By the time they realise their mistake the key ex-employee no longer trusts them and has taken their valuable skill set somewhere else.

      Of course it’s unwise to have vital operations resting on the shoulders of a single, hard to replace employee anyway. Even if they recognised your importance you could just as easily have stepped in front of a bus and they’d still be up the creek.

  3. Ben says:

    Good luck with it all. I recently went through exactly the same thing. They wanted kids 20 years younger on half the wage. It gave me the kick up the backside to chase my dream though 🙂

    • Thanks! Great to hear good stories coming out of similar experience 😊

      • Been there too. Sometimes one just has to walk away. Those with power build big battlements and although we may carry a spear it is seldom enough to win an unfair battle. A new Path brings with it new opportunities. May you find happiness and success in your new job.

  4. Trinity says:

    You’re not alone; major corporations around the world have been forced into re-orgs; alot of what’s happening in certain branches here in Europe have a whole lot to “thank” Obama for – his FATCA act was like a neutron bomb in the financial world. Fortunately, my husband has survived several re-orgs; he’s got the corner on specific NTK knowledge; that hasn’t made it easy when a new manager comes in with grandiose ideas of how the world should work, telling him to project where he’s going to set up his tent when he’s been left in the middle of the Atlantic with half a rowing team…

  5. Been there, done that! Companies loyal to their workforce are far and few between. It’s great to hear you found something better!

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