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.