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Chaps: because if they had an ass, they'd just be called pants.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

One Year on the Corporate Calendar

I've recently completed one year of service at my current place of employment and have amassed a list of gripes on working in a national corporate office, which I'm sure are very familiar to anyone working in an office.

The Legal and Compliance Departments
Answers you receive from legal counsel and compliance officers are hilarious and ALWAYS non-commital. In my limited dealings with these departments I've learned to never expect a direct answer to a direct question. This would be an answer received from a lawyer in a hypothetical meeting:
Q. "What colour is my shirt?"
A. "That depends on what the legal definitions of 'colour', 'my', 'is', 'shirt' and 'what' are."
And compliance officers nearly wet themselves when given the opportunity to write a new Protocol or Standard whether it's needed or not.

Goodbye parties/emails
My particular department has seen several people leaving in the past few months and shortly after the announcement of a co-worker leaving, the "surprise goodbye party" meeting invite follow right behind. I don't think anyone leaving has been surprised, especially the last two or three days before they move to their next job when they are invited to an "Important meeting - must attend" at 12:45 to 1pm - lasting only 15 mins. During the 'party', which is just in an open area on our office gathering with a platter of cookies and goodbye card, the person leaving usually tells of "what a great team you have here" and "how this experience has changed their lives". If they don't say it during the party, they definitely send our that tripe in a goodbye email. The best goodbye email I've ever received was from a intern student who was only with us for four months
"Eventful, High on Learning and a Defining Time: A possible description of my summer term. I was fortunate to work with a very talented and supportive team for my project over the summer. Today is my last day and I take away with me, new & improved skills besides valuable industry knowledge."
If you are leaving your job anytime soon, I highly recommend using the above to 1) not burn any bridges and 2) kiss the ass of your former co-workers who you will, likely, need to use as a reference sometime in the near future.

Ass Kissing
This ties nicely with goodbye emails. Perhaps it's the line of work I'm in, but there are certain people who can't resist a good chance to kiss some ass. Examples include: senior employee asking "why did you just have a meeting with that VP? The next time you have a meeting with him, can you make sure I'm on the floor?" and "Can you get me invited to a project close party? I heard some of the Senior Exec's are going to be there." Note: both occurences were from one person, but he has the highest Ass Kissing Quotient in the company.

Blackberry-ing during meetings
This has to be my #1 gripe. I've been in several meetings where senior execs can't leave their blackberries alone for more than 30 seconds. Checking your email while someone gives you a presentation or update on YOUR business doesn't seem like you have your priorities straight. It came to the point recently where I tested an exec by telling him that "you should expect to lose $10M of revenue if you doesn't do what I say." just to see if he was paying attention. That didn't really happen. I'm not ballsy enough to do it, but I encourage you to try it (note: I take no responsibility if you get fired)

War rooms
Now, I don't know why we need these in corporate offices. Who are the enemies in these corporate wars? Are they totaling up casuality figures in there? Or planning counter attacks on insurgents? It's interesting to note that of the war rooms which are current designated as such, all remain unoccupied for 95% of the business day. Looks like those wars aren't being fought very well. They might need to "parachute in" more people to help.

That is all for now.

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