My Corporate Anthem

From 1998 until 2000 I worked for a dot-com. kraq, lesboot, and amorpoeta did too; that’s where I met them. It was a pretty damn good job. I learned a lot there, met some people who are friends for life, got paid pretty well. It was unspeakably horrible right at the end but not until then.

Typical for places like this, it went from 25 to 500 people during my tenure there, and odd things happened as a result. Bizarre and incompetent people were hired, including a Business Communication Course Writer who couldn’t find the ampersand on a keyboard and applauded himself after he urinated. Salespeople went into the field to push products that did not and could not exist. One employee sent poems to everyone to encourage us, including a hymn to customer service called “May I Help You?”.

One day it came time to completely reorganize the technology department, which not only made the product but also supported all the other employees’ computer use. Everything was going to be turned upside down, new groups were formed, responsibilities shifted, and most important of all the whole procedure for tech support was to change. My boss prepared a presentation on all of this material.

At the meeting, though, we didn’t go right into that. After the CEO had told us how big and wonderful these changes were, another employee stepped up. This guy was a teacher with a master’s degree who wrote courses for us. He was also a model and actor, and a very …enthusiastic guy. He had with him a guitar. He was wearing a cowboy hat.

At this point a more sensible person would have made cramping motions and fled the room, but I was hypnotized. What the hell is Rob about to do? He introduced himself by saying that we were about to have a lot of changes in our workplace that would be hard to understand and probably annoying, so he was going to help us into it with a song. Strum, strum, grin. And off he went. It started something like:

Come gather around employees
Of this company we share
I’ve got a song to sing to you
Because I know you care

Mike wrote down a policy
Tom and Alec did approve
We’re gonna change Technology
‘Cause the company’s on the mooooove

I think I may have destroyed a ceiling tile with my mind at this point.

Tech support is different now
Everyone’s got to change
We’re going to move together
Together and forever
Just like you and me cowboy
Out.. on.. the.. RAAAAAAANGE

There was a silence that that of the grave when he finished. Then the CEO began clapping and laughing enthusiastically and most of the people in the room did also. I concentrated on keeping my vagus nerve from going into a spasm and stopping my heart.

I should have realized then that it was time to get out of that place. Later on we had horrible power struggles, the departure of the useful and crowning of the incompetent, and then finally a tragic dénouement involving an anti-semitic CFO, his crypto-nazi stooge, sexual and racial harassment, mass resignations, email break-ins, and fraud. The company changed it name and then spectacularly shit the bed a year or so after I left.

That guitar should have been enough, though.

14 thoughts on “My Corporate Anthem

    1. I believed in their promises of fame and fortune.
      Sure was. My now husband is the one who had the shirts printed. I was the only one in the department who didn’t wear the shirt to the meeting.
      On the positive side, I met my husband there and and also met there and are now married.
      I guess love can blossom among shit.

  1. Course Writer who couldn’t find the ampersand on a keyboard
    One correction… it was the asterisk he couldn’t find. It messed up his whole day cause the asterisk was part of his network password and he couldn’t logon. This same man jammed the floppy in the drive upside down… twice.

      1. He also claimed to be a member of Mensa (I swear on all things holy that he told me that)!
        If he’s in Mensa, I’m a minor deity.

      2. That’s right!
        I remember complaining to one of his co-workers about the asterisk problem and she was very defensive. It turned out that she was the one who hired him. She said, “well he is a very accomplished writer”, and my response was, “what did he write with?, a feather?” She didn’t like me very much.

    1. Hey, you have to admit, asterisks are pretty tricky, hidden all up there, needing their damned shift key to be pressed… High maintenance little buggers.
      Awww, you met your husband at work? How sweet!

      1. Yeah he’s the one that looks like Ted Kazinsky (sp?) in the picture above. He was so skinny then… Damn my good Mexican cooking!

  2. I love stories about trips into the .Com Heart of Darkness!
    We had some spectacular things happen at the company I worked for. There were no dot-coms involved. Instead we made them thar websites for “best of brand corporate clients”…but clients with deep pockets couldn’t save the company. We had a nice little e-mail scandal of our own, which still makes me giggle.
    Of course, Salon doesn’t have the full transcripts.
    The place was beautiful at one time, but it turned into a den of thieves.

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