Life At Megacorp 4-1

Most victims of the Blessed Event exhibit a whole series of emotions that kick in, most of which are potentially self destructive and unhelpful. Now, if you’ve been around long enough at Megacorp countless of your colleagues have been “downsized” because of a “restructuring” or “outsourcing”.

These terms appear neutral most likely due to their invention at Megacorp sponsored faculties of business. I prefer the word “terminated” because it is more cruel and realistic. Being fired is not a neutral event. I do not like the term “laid-off” because a layoff is a temporary loss of employment with a possibility of a return to work. “Let-go” is a bit namby pamby.

In hindsight, my advice to you if you are victimized by a “Blessed Event” is to take it in the present moment as an opportunity to take the next step in your career or economic survival if you feel there really is no career for you. If you are angry and bitter that’s OK but realize that it is what it is and it is in relation to a past event that has happened that you have no control over.

As they say in mindfulness there is no sense in getting tangled up with negative thoughts. Know that they are there, acknowledge them but don’t let them strangle you. At best, you might learn a lesson or two about your experience at Megacorp. Put them in your war chest of corporate experience.

In my experience at Megacorp I see no wrong in what I did in standing up for the rights of beneficiaries of pension funds which employers were raiding for the recovery of pension fund expenses that they had paid. A fiduciary of a pension fund, such as CRAP, has the obligation to protect the right of the beneficiaries of a pension fund. In standing up to the bullying of large law firms acting on behalf of employers seeking to extract pension fund expenses paid by them to their pension funds and knowing the law in this area, I viewed them as bandits seeking to raid the pension fund.

In my view, I was also protecting the interests of CRAP which acted as pension fund recordkeeper because if paid out as commanded by its clients it might very well see itself in court for breach of its duty to act as a fiduciary for a pension fund.

Now Felicity Poker was so blinded to hopping to the commands of the Megacorps she had previously been retained for at Ooze & Ooze that she couldn’t understand (or didn’t want to) the liability CRAP was incurring by obeying the command of employers to pay out to themselves pension fund expenses they had previously paid into the pension fund. I think Felicity was so used to promoting and plotting the whims of her large corporate clients and saying yes to their every goal she had been corrupted of independent legal judgement hence breaching her fiduciary duties to CRAP.

I also was proud of the offer of nomination I had received to a panel advising the Ontario government as to pensions, my publications, speaking engagements and appointment to an industry committee executive. I did nothing wrong except for threatening the reputation of Felicity Poker whose whole goal in her past life was billable hours and not serving the legal community. That slavishness to her corporate clients was hard to break despite the fact she now worked at CRAP.

She was big law firm material supposedly above lowly corporate in-house counsel that never had the “intelligence” to work for the big law firms. Why then was CRAP inundated by resumés from lawyers working in these law prestigious law firms? I saw resumés coming in on the fax machine from Ooze & Ooze lawyers. In short, they were sickened by the burn-out conditions they slaved in.

They wanted an independent life. Felicity had chosen money and status over a life. Beluga, our former general counsel, may have acted like an absent landlord but he never bothered his charges.

For those not in the legal profession I will tell you most lawyers working for huge prestigious national law firms view in-house corporate counsel as inferior to private practice lawyers. They are so blinded by their haughty image and lust for wealth they fail to see how destructive their life is to themselves and their family.

They fail to see the importance of having a life. It takes a toll and it is not surprising that provincial law societies have very busy addiction and mental stress hotlines for their lawyer membership.

In retrospect I believe that Felicity was jealous of the success and recognition I had obtained in the insurance community.

Once the Blessed Event has happened to you there may be those victims saying that this is the best thing that ever happened to them. In many cases, it indeed will be the best event that ever happened to you. There is no harm grieving, being angry and feeling betrayed. That’s normal for a limited amount of time but the emphasis is on” limited”.

I was younger then and I had never had my employment terminated so I was an emotional Newbie to the emotions that followed which in retrospect must affect everyone who faces the Blessed Event. I was devastated, angry and bitter. It took me years to recover.

One thought that remains with me even now is the hope that Felicity Poker and Brian Cochon, swine that they were, rot in hell.

I think the foremost reaction most victims encounter is shock unless of course you saw it coming or have had this happen to you previously. How could this have happened! Over and over this phrase will batter your ego. You were doing an excellent job as measured by corporate employee performance ratings. You were a 4 out of 5 employee in your “performance appraisal” for the past several years. You were quite proud of yourself.

That’s your first mistake at Megacorp which is assuming an excellent job performance protects you. You must realize that legally Megacorp can toss you out at their will provided they provide you with severance as required by statutory and common law which in very general terms translates into a month of salary for each year of service.

How could the Blessed Event strike me?

I worked at least two nights a week close to midnight. I never ate more than three shrimp at the client Christmas reception and nodded and said hello to the Executive Vice-President of Re-engineering in the elevator every morning. I was tough yet fair and willing to compromise.

Yes, a true model employee and well regarded in the external legal community yet it was all bullshit now. All that Human Resources Department palavering wasn’t worth the e-mail it was written on.

My advice to you is do your best to avoid looking shocked and please no tears. If the Terminator is in the room he or she probably hates your guts and that is why you have been chosen for the Blessed Event. You made an enemy despite the “excellent job” you were doing.

Your Terminator crushing you like a fly is a dream come true for the Terminator. You were hated more than the others who survived the Blessed Event although their day will come as it always does.

Of course there are some downsizings planned by bean counters with no connection to you. They’ll establish a termination number or percentage of employees to be fired and leave it up to the Senior Management Team to approve and give the orders to middle management to execute the terminations.

This sounds neutral but why was it you that was picked? It is beginning to sound less neutral when you start asking yourself this question.

It may have been that your inter-personal skills were not up to Megacorp’s invisible code of brownnosing, flattering, sucking or trumpeting false praises. So why all the doublespeak from the Human Resources Department about team spirit, customer service and global inclusion? My thought that all these phrases are there to mask hatred and arrogance that Megacorp’s SMT has for their charges and for that matter amongst their own caste. How did these executives reach the upper ranks of Megacorp?

They are there stuffing their loot bags like bandits without getting apprehended and of course never walking the talk rammed down the throats of employees like gavage. At this point of extreme greed, it’s up to the securities regulators to apprehend as many crooks as they can.

However, as we have seen as late there are more crooks in the executive floors than the regulators can ensnare. Let’s be fair! Most of the SMT are not criminals. They are just greedy and some may be psychopathic.

My advice so far has been not to be tangled up in negative emotions and focus on the present. This is the essence of mindfulness that Megacorps are ramming down the throats of their employees. I agree getting tangled up may leave you running backwards however let’s bend the mindfulness rules and say your anger may be a useful source of energy for your gruelling job search. What better force to keep you going on from the 230th rejection letter to number 231 resumé and cover letter being sent out?

It gives you adrenaline. Cherish and guard it. Know when to use it. It should be an energizing factor in your job search. However, to avoid being labelled as a potential “toxic employee” keep your cool in your networking and job interviews.

If you appear angry and bitter to your network and prospective employers it might be perceived as a justification as why you were terminated. Angry people are not marketable. Your goal is to fool a prospective employer into thinking you will be a committed employee and not one that is bitter, resentful and holds grudges.

In interviews your anger must be transformed into joy and glee about having the opportunity to fill the position! Golly gee the Blessed Event is a gift from the Virgin Mary. It provided you an opportunity. In fact you might have even convinced yourself you are the best candidate.

You are the best at masking your true emotions to better pursue an opportunity where your strengths can be showcased? You can put a happy face on and lie left right and centre as your outplacement counsellors have taught you. This is the ideal employee!

In summation don’t bellyache, whine and complain. Just use that negative energy to move on down the road.

I hope my discussion on anger hasn’t put you in a bad mood particularly as you have just purchased a Tony Robbins video and I have put your upbeat mood in the rubbish bin. I want to be like Tony Robbins and get on the lecture circuit. Therefore, I have told you that anger may be one of your best weapons in your job search if managed carefully.

The more outlandish the statement the better my chances of enraging some professor in a Megacorp funded faculty of business and getting the publicity I need for fame and fortune. Of course, like Tony I believe in what I write!

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About the Author

Ross Trenholm
Life at Megacorp is a true-to-life account of living and working in the higher echelons of the corporate world. Ross Trenholm is the fictionalized persona of those who have lived the Megacorp life and only the names and places have been changed to protect the innocent.