I’m an asset! Dammit!
I love these people who take umbrage when they hear “employees are our greatest asset”. “I’m not cattle or a piece of furniture or something you own”.
Oh, yes you are. Lock, stock and barrel and you can be disappeared in a New York Minute.They know down to the penny how much heat, light, water, air conditioning and potty flushes you are capable of. They know how many cubic inches you take up and what your yield is. Which should be at least five times what they’re paying you.
My wife is always asking me why I always get agitated when I get on the corporate BS bandwagon. She thinks I’m still looking in the rear view mirror. Actually, I’m not. I still have to deal with corporate entities all the time and I still see the same winks and nods coming off the C-Suite and HR Departments.
I sometimes wake up in the middle of the night thinking of all the crazy things that actually went on in my corporate career. Some of it makes me laugh, some of it makes me angry and a lot of it still has me scratching my head. Most of it, I can’t talk about cause it makes me cry.
I think what did me in was the Bristol Myers Squibb buyout of Dupont Medical Imaging, after which I was relocated back to the home office. Having always been insecure about my lack of formal education, (I studied music at Berklee College of Music on the GI Bill,) I worried that I would be discovered and banished to the cafeteria or shipping dock, where I could be better utilized.
I thought I was heading back to the utopian high road fortress of all that is great and noble. After 13 years in the field, it didn’t take me long to re-learn corporate fear and paranoia, accompanied by loose stools and unexplained stomach pain. There was always someone coming into my office, looking over their shoulder, quietly closing the door behind them to tell me what some jerk off said about me at a meeting. Did you know you can’t expense Gaviscon? Even if it’s work related?
If five years of that doesn’t ready you for a career in politics, nothing will. I sometimes wish I had never came back in, never seen what I had seen, stayed in the field and retired out under a false illusion.
So what’s the point of all my kvetching about all the dark side (is there a light side?) of working for a large company or organization? The point is, if you don’t see what’s coming by now you never will. You will be automated, digitized and double dutied right out into the street in a few years and you should spend some time thinking about what you have to offer the world.
You. By yourself. Who are you without that sticker on your car that allows you access to your building? What skills set you apart? How can you market and monetize yourself? Most of you never give it a passing thought because of your MBA status or your current V.P. position. In reality, those labels can actually make it harder for you to get a new position. Ask any VP who’s been on an extended job search. And don’t ever let anyone tell you there’s no such thing as age discrimination.
Everything’s in play. That’s my position. That’s my hot button. If the thought of life and death by your own hand makes you squeamish, know this: whenever they can roll you out, they will. Whenever the economy will allow them to play with the headcount, it’s on. Ever wonder what happens to all your work when you go on vacation? Hmmm.
So yes, right now, you are an asset. Property. Chattel. You reside on a spreadsheet. It’s nice and warm and snuggly in here, isn’t it?
If you have any questions or need advice, please feel free to reach out to me here.