Paul Smith writes an excellent post “Job Security is the Devil” bringing up some timely points about the illusion of job security in corporate America today.
It reminded me of a lecture in a Management Seminar for my MBA coursework. The instructor painted a scenario where an employee felt mistreated and bullied by his supervisor, and asked the class what we would do if we were the employee. A student (dare I say where he worked) said, “Nothing. There’s nothing you can do unless you want to lose your job.”
The teacher nodded and no one else spoke. Point made, end of discussion.
In my head I thought to myself, Are you kidding me? I raised my hand and offered a solution. “Can’t you ask your coworkers if they feel the same way? There is strength in numbers. Together you could take your case to HR and explain to them what’s going on.”
The other student asks me, “Have you ever worked in a big company?”
I replied, “Yep, long enough to know I would never work for one again.”
He snorts and replies, “Way to limit yourself.”
I sat and thought about it. I’m limiting myself? Here is a guy who’s too afraid to either A. Find another job or B. Stand up to his boss. Personally, I would choose both options and not give it a second thought.
Is job security really more important than our insides? Our sense of pride and self worth?
If 2009 taught us anything, anything at all, it’s that working for a large company is no more safe than working for a small company. Yet we feel the need to identify ourselves with big names, such as GE, Apple, etc. We sacrifice our creativity, autonomy and passion for a false sense of security and identity and- in the end- get treated like cattle. Sure, they’ll fatten you up but when the money’s tight they’ll take you to the chop house without giving it a second thought. And for what? Group health insurance and a 401K? I say they can keep it. It won’t do me much good when I get to my cubicle on Monday morning to find that my entire department is being sent to the chop house.
I left class that day thinking somewhere I’d made a mistake. Maybe I don’t fit the mold of a corporate yuppy or MBA grad. Now I realize, maybe I just wasn’t born to Moo.
Bottom line: Smaller companies may not give you free lunch, but at least they treat you like a human being.
Edward - Entry Level Dilemma says
Are you limiting yourself? Well, technically yes. But we limit our choices everyday, especially when it comes to careers. You may decide that you don’t want to work for a large company (I have made that decision too). Someone else may decide that don’t want to work in a certain city, state, area, etc.
Brenda Somich says
David and Trace- Thanks for the comments! I think for me, the biggest issue with going the corporate route was lack of control. It’s easy to be aware of and react to what’s going on in the company when either you’re involved in the process or the decision makers are at arms length away. Business is business, so it’s unfair to whine when there are necessary layoffs, but the ability to see them coming and prepare for them is essential, and in my experience, this is much easier done in a close-knit environment.
David Crandall says
I’ve worked for small companies and large ones. In both scenarios there are instances where managers bully their employees. Unfortunately, it has not been my experience that smaller companies are any different than the relationship structures of teams in a large company.
The one thing I noticed was that job security was better in the small companies. The owner was often the boss and knew everyone. Making the decision to let someone go to the “chop house” involved a decision involving someone you know personally. In the large corporations, you are often just an employee number to the people making the decision; no emotional tie whatsoever.
I also agree that there is something that can be done if you are being bullied. I’ve always felt that you can say anything to someone so long as you know how to do so. There’s never a reason to allow someone to bully you. Even if you don’t feel like you have the option to approach them, you always have the option to look for somewhere else to work. Those students who thought there was nothing you could do are taking the victim’s route of thinking. Boo on them!
Great article and definitely something people need to be consciously aware of!
Trace Mayer says
Limit yourself? Rolling over and getting crapped on is limiting yourself. What is the difference between someone facedown in the mud with a jackboot on their neck and someone facedown in the mud without the will to get up?
Sure, making your own way takes a spine but it is worth it. At least you have your dignity. And talking about cows, I recommend watching Statism is Dead part 3 on YouTube. Ever tried catching a cow?