Why it’s Dangerous to work for a big company in little city.
This is a long post so I’ll sum up why it’s dangerous if you don’t want to read the story.
Working for a big company in a small city is dangerous because:
a. You’ll make more money than you could at any other place in the city.
b. You’ll get a house with a mortgage and start a family. Both of which cost alot.
c. If you wanted to go to a different job in the city and make the same money you can’t. Why? Because like I said that money doesn’t exist anywhere but in the company.
d. So don’t be surprised if after a few years of working for a big company in a small city that things begin going south. I’d fully be surprised if they didn’t. And by south I mean: being blamed for everything, walking on egg-shells, worrying about if your co-workers like you and/or are talking about you behind your back, worrying about your reputation, and mainly bothering your wife and kids every night with the same stupid ass complaints.
Let’s get something out of the way right now. Working for any company in any city no matter the size is dangerous. Why? Because you’re entrusting your livelihood to third parties/machines. And by machines I mean corporations. Do you think that a third party/machine will take care of you until you retire? Exactly I didn’t think so.
It’s even more dangerous to work for a big company in a little city. Here’s a story to help explain why. Joe lives in a city of 250,000 people. Joe just graduated college with a woo hoo you guessed it a shiny new Business Administration degree! On one of the last days of college Joe goes to a job fair at the University and applies for an entry level “analyst” (whatever the hell that means) position with the biggest company in his town of 250,000 people. A few days later Joe gets a call saying that he’s been hired for the job!
Excited Joe goes out and with the help of his mom and dad buys some “dress” clothes for work consisting of button down shirts, slacks, and dress shoes. He even buys a couple of ties at his mom’s insistence. The following Monday Joe shows up to work and is greeted by his fellow c0-workers who are in “business-dress” and wearing college class rings.
Joe quickly makes some friends. They all go to lunch together and talk in acronyms that nobody understands but them. They talk about numbers, and spreadsheets and big million dollar deals they “put together”. And they all have dreams. However these dreams they don’t outwardly express to one another. They keep their personal dreams within themselves. The dreams of owning fast cars, big houses, expensive vacations, million dollar retirement accounts, freedom to go and do whatever they want.
At the end of Joe’s first year at the company he is called in for his job performance review. He gets outstanding marks. His boss and the other mid-level managers at the company all say Joe is one of the best up and coming employees at the company. Joe is happy. Joe applies for a new higher ranking position.
The following week Joe receives notice that he got the job! Joe is elated! His salary is increased $20k and now he can afford to move out of his parents house. Joe moves out and gets an apartment. Joe begins his higher ranking job and he notices something. He is working with people who have the highly desired MBA designation. Joe thinks that it’s a good idea to get one of these sought after degrees because at the very least it will demonstrate to other people how smart he is.
So Joe begins going to B-school. However Joe notices something very strange. The classes aren’t hard. In fact they are even easier than his undergrad courses, this can’t be right! Joe feeling disillusioned, quits B-School. During this time Joe continues to work hard and is liked by all of his peers and co-workers.
After a couple of years Joe is getting tired of his job. He wants to move up again. Joe decides that going to law school will definitely show people how smart he is, and with everyone wearing their class rings around, going to law school would surely impress even them! Joe enrolls in law school and begins reading dense material day and night for three years.
Finally Joe applies for a higher ranking “legal” job in a different city. The interview questions are very strange that Joe is asked. No questions about legal ability/knowledge. The questions all center around if Joe partakes in gossip and bad-mouthing. Remember Joe is young and innocent at 30 years old. Joe thinks the questions are weird but shrugs them off.
The following week Joe is advised that he got the legal job. Bam, Joe’s salary jumps again. On Joe’s first day of work he attends a meeting that lasts for 8 hours about period’s and commas. Joe became frustrated because he didn’t see the point in sitting in a meeting for 8 hours talking about dumb shit. However, Joe had a reputation and image to take care of so Joe smiled the entire time and even asked questions!
The following day Joe was introduced to his new boss. A lady who had never been a boss before. She seemed very nervous. She asked Joe if he had been given a procedure manual to which Joe responded “No.” She then responded that her predecessor didn’t leave her a manual either and that she suspected it was to sabotage her. Joe at his ripe young age of 30 didn’t have the experience or street smarts to recognize this for what is was, a big ass red flag, a danger sign, a sign that not only was his new boss trouble but more than likely the entire department was rat filth.
But Joe didn’t see the red flags. Joe decided to buy a brand new house, his first house. Joe found the perfect house, a modern home in a cozy little neighborhood, close to shops and restaurants. Joe was in heaven. Joe in his elation began to tell his new co-workers and boss about the home. Joe failed to notice the scheming look in his boss’s eyes.
At work the pointless meetings continued and they all seemed to end in “let’s just do what the lawyers tell us to do”. If Joe learned one thing in law school, it was that lawyers typically don’t know jack shit. Joe knows numerous “lawyers” who graduated from law school that were dumb as rocks. The other lawyers in the department know Joe is onto them and act nervous when Joe is around.
Joe has a meeting with his boss about his career goals. Joe informs her that he wants to be the best employee/worker the department has ever seen. Joe should have seen malicious twinkle in his boss’s eyes.
Let’s recap — Joe has a mortgage, a wife and two kids, and a job paying $90k. Life is good.
The following week in a meeting a higher ranking “Vice President” (Shill) who is wearing his shiny college class ring asks Joe’s boss a question. Joe’s boss becomes flushed and nervous. She mumbles a few words and then says Joe was supposed to do that work and how dare Joe not report to the big boss about it! Joe’s jaw dropped, did he just hear her correctly? Is she blaming him for something? Joe too becomes flushed and apologizes for not have done what was apparently asked.
After the meeting Joe’s boss runs up to the “Vice President” Shill and asks to have a private meeting with him. Joe assumes it’s to further bad mouth Joe. Joe looks around and sees his co-workers huddled in groups looking at him and talking in hushed voices. Joe thinks to himself “Surely they aren’t talking about me are they?”
The next day at work Joe notices that his co-workers are acting differently towards him. They come by and make comments about his new house and ask questions about it in a sneering manner. Joe’s boss comes in and asks about work assignments that were never even assigned and what the progress on them was. Joe begins to freak out.
Over the following weeks and months, Joe is called out in meetings and blamed for everything. The mythical job assignments continue so as to give Joe’s boss something to always blame him for, Joe worries all the time about what his co-workers are saying and thinking about him, and Joe feels freaking trapped!
Joe realizes what a huge potential trap he is in. If Joe gets fired where else can he go in the city to make enough money to not lose his house and go bankrupt? There are no other big companies! The city consists of schoolteachers and medical people, oh and a few carwashes. Not too many options there.
Joe begins to think that maybe this was at the root of the “game” the entire time at his new “legal” gig. Get kids in there that are young and immature as to the reality of the world and its workings and proceed to squeeze them. Squeeze them in every possible way. Give them enough money to get a house and a mortgage, and then squeeze. If you ever don’t know the answer to a question, ask one of the “kids” and blame it on them. After all, they can’t quit because if they do they’ll lose their home and family.
At first Joe didn’t want to believe this was happening to him. But as time passed his eyes began to open. He observed his co-workers dressed in button down shirts and slacks, wearing their class rings, and talking in acronyms. He observed the managers that didn’t have a clue as to what the hell they were doing. He observed the lawyers who knew even less than the managers. He observed HR protecting a machine like their life depended on it. He observed people not knowing what in the hell they were doing but acting/walking like they owned the world. He observed co-workers that read newspapers every morning and after they were finished reading creasing the papers perfectly straight and placing them in a briefcase. He observed these same people not being able to get a date with someone if their life depended on it. He realized this was stupid shit and he quit.
And then he realized why you shouldn’t wear a college ring. Because college is a joke. Idiots graduate from college. People that can’t even read graduate from college. Granted there are a couple of majors that are incrementally “harder” than others, but it holds the average college course load is a joke. So wearing a college ring does what? Shows that you went to college? Everyone goes to college. Does it show that you’re “smart”? No, even idiots graduate from college. Does it show that you’re in the same boat with the 30 year old still wearing a high school letterman jacket? You bet your ass it does.
Originally published at james-compton.com on May 19, 2016.