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the six e-mails October 8, 2008

Posted by That Guy in Seen Elsewhere.
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Not the ones you meet in heaven. No, this is a surprisingly-serious article on Cracked about the six e-mails you’ll get as your company is about to go under.

6. Sudden Company-Wide “Status” Meetings

Every few months you probably have big meetings where the CEO talks about how bright the company’s future is, if we all just work a little harder and keep our eyes on the prize, etc. But the meeting to get worried about is the sudden, unscheduled, company-wide meeting. There’s a good chance they are trying to get ahead of bad news, breaking it to you before you read about it in the papers. Or hear that guy on CNBC screaming about it.

One of our new VPs just had meetings with every one of her sub-departments.

5. Executives Finding New, Exciting Opportunities…Elsewhere

[D]id Ted up there leave for a job that seems to be way down the ladder from the one he had here? As if it was a choice between taking that or finding himself on the street because his current job was about to go away?

CorporateSpeak’s accounting manager quite in July or August (I forget which). A lot of folks have been downsized. A marketing person quit for a job with a much better company.

4. Exciting New Opportunities Find You and Your Co-Workers

Notice that Bob is doing Ted’s work, but didn’t get Ted’s title? That’s because while Bob got some of Ted’s responsibilities and they made up a new title for him, he didn’t get a promotion or a raise. This kind of reshuffling happens all the time when a place is A) trying to save money and B) having trouble attracting talent to their sinking ship.

Here’s the big one at CorporateSpeak Headquarters. People spend more time complaining about the new things they have to do — that they didn’t have to do five years ago — that they don’t have time to do even what their original responsibilities were. Content managers now have to produce for multiple streams. Marketing people have to market multiple websites. Technical people have to write. Everyone hates it.

3. You Get a Raise, But No Money

A stock option is just a promise that you’ll be able to buy stock in the company at a certain (low) price after a certain number of years, if you want to. Obviously, the idea behind it is that the company’s stock will be worth a fortune and these options are a great deal.

I get the feeling this article was written BEFORE the Wall Street bomb. Expect the company to match your 401(k) in stock options. Move them to some other kind of account ASAP.

2. You Have the Opportunity to Meet New and Fascinating People

If somebody is touring the facility, asking about the heating system, knocking on the walls, generally getting a good idea of the place, and you’ve got no idea who they are, well, they’re the people that are going to be moving in, once your company leaves its current digs for oblivion.

The new VP is supposedly some sort of miracle-worker troubleshooter from another office who has turned troublesome operations around before. No one has been fired directly by this person yet, but it’s coming. And we had an audit last Spring. You do the math.

1. Lots of New and Arbitrary Office Rules Turn Up Out of the Blue

Some of these rules may be so arbitrary that you’ll wonder if they’re intentionally trying to make your life hell. They’ve made it basically impossible to do your job and every time you break one of the long lists of arbitrary new rules, you get a written notice stuck in your file.

Fortunately, That Guy’s department hasn’t fallen victim to this, but the biggest departments in the building — engineering and content — get new tasks and new assignments and new things for which they are accountable almost weekly. They spend so much time initialing sheets and sending e-mails that it’s a wonder they have time to do anything.

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