There was a time, and it was not really all that long ago, when a career meant something.Â If you went to work for a company, and you showed the dedication and commitment to your employer, then you could count on keeping your job for just about as long as you wanted to work.Â OK, Trust me, I am not completely naive, I know that there was a lot of the same problems that we see today, the biggest problem is that there is also not nearly the same level of dedication to the employer or BY the employer that there once was.
The problem is that as we have moved towards what I like to call a disposable society, so too have our jobs.Â People are not encouraged to take their jobs as seriously today as they were in times past and with all the mergers, acquisitions, break-ups and bankruptcies… they ask; who knows where my job will be in a year or two or three.
I do speak from some experience here.Â I was once a member of the Telecommunications industry working for a little known company called Brooks Fiber Communications.Â I should not say they were little known, we were actually pretty well known, but only if you were familiar with the industry, which I was not when I went to work for them.Â I would like to take a moment to thank a great woman named Holly Clark, should she ever stumble upon this site, for being a great mentor to me and giving me a chance that not many were willing to at the time, but I digress…
The Brooks Fiber Communications location in Bakersfield was a great place to work, and the job was really fun and I liked everyone I worked with, with the definite exception of the General Manager for that location… no… no names.Â Over time I guess the company was doing too well, and someone showed interest in us.Â We were bought out by MCI, then later by WorldCom, becoming MCI WorldCom.Â The problem with these mergers is that the people that are organizing them and putting the details together are not thinking of the people that it will affect, they are only thinking of the money that THEY, the owners, executives and shareholders are making in the deal.Â Many of these mergers are deals made of greed, nothing else.
Not taking into account the effect that Bernard Ebbers and his personal greed may or may not have caused to the company, shortly after the mergers took place, we started to hear rumors of cutbacks, lay-offs and reorganizations within the company.Â It took a while, but after my newly appointed manager took over and advised several of us that our jobs were safe, the axe fell.Â In fact it was not more than a week after that little speech of his, when I was taken into his office and advised that I was part of the “Reduction of redundant positions within the company.”
This type of thing seems to be happening a lot these days.Â In fact so much so that you often hear people say things like, “I will stick around until the next merger.”Â People are now affraid to be too secure in their jobs, and I really cannot blame them.Â I do consider myself lucky, in that the company that I work for is privately held, and there does not appear to be anyone vying for our attention or looking to buy us out.Â As I am writing this, I am using my feet to knock on the wood of my desk.Â But I also understand that like the wind, your and my fortunes can change with little or no warning at all.
The fact is that you see things like this happening all the time now.Â In my present job I used to be the primary person that would order land line (Telephone) service for my remote employees.Â A little more than a year ago, when SBC “became” AT&T, I watched as several people that had become good friends were “Packaged Out” of their jobs.Â One of them told me that while she was lucky and that the package was nice, and she would get to spend more time with her grand kids, she would still like to keep working, and that AT&T had made her feel a little like an old suitcase that someone found in the closet.Â They had gotten a lot of use out of it, but they just could not justify keeping it anymore.
Now I open the news… ok… so I read it online, but I still like the “old school” way of saying that I open the paper.Â And I read that Sprint/Nextel is laying off 4,000 people from their ranks, (also see this link) using words like “streamline” and other pleasantries that are supposed to give us the big warm and fuzzy feeling and make it sound OH SO GOOD for all those involved.Â While I have friends in Sprint/Nextel, I will not press them for any details, other than to make sure that they are alright and that they are not leaving.
What is interesting in this is that they need to close all these locations, and lay off all these employees, right?Â But they were still able to pay their new CEO a signing bonus and a very nice compensation package.
As I learned myself, I was not aware I was leaving MCI WorldCom, so you never know.Â If my experience with WorldCom was any example, and I am sorry if this worries my friends within Sprint/Nextel, this is not the end.Â There will probably be others.
This is the biggest problem that these mergers and downsizing events create.Â It puts all the employees into a perpetual state of what I can only call “Anal Spasms”.Â You get to the point where every time you hear anything about the company you work for on the news, you immediately start trying to remember where you left your hemorrhoid creme.Â You could almost take this as far as to be similar to a Jeff Foxworthy joke… “If you jump and clinch your butt-cheeks every time your company it mentioned on the news… You might be a TeleCom employee.”
All humor aside…Â If you are one of the hundreds of thousands of ex-telecom employees out there… I feel for you and I hope that you got out with some dignity.Â If you are still a Telecom employee, I also feel for you.Â It is a GREAT business to be in.Â But with all the shifting, merging, acquiring and stuff going on, I have to think many of you are living a little like a soldier in a foxhole.Â You are never quite sure on when the next shell is going to land close or on top of you.
If you are reading this, and have had an experience with something like this, please tell me your stories.Â I make it a practice to not edit or omit someone’s comments.Â Even if you say something that I do not like, I will still put it up… as long as it has something to do with the topic and is not spam.