Jewish World Review Sept. 30, 2002 / 24 Tishrei, 5763
If you are employed, you're part of the problem
A few years back, I was employed as a text-based content provider--
Internet speak for "writer"-- for a well-known video game company. A
year after I started, the powers that be decided to spin our development
division off into its own company, which then went on a wild acquisition
spree, buying up other small developers, who all moved in with us,
hundreds of us crammed two or three to a cube in a large windowless
Those were heady times: weekly barbecues, off-site pow wows and confabs,
motivational speakers, morning seminars with free coffee and doughnuts,
long discussions and e-mails about the nature of our new in house
culture, product presentations-- the world was our oyster!
Until our first products shipped, they sucked eggs, nobody bought them,
and two thirds of the workforce was laid off or quit, myself among them.
Six months after I left, the dregs of this baby company was itself
bought by another baby company which was itself bought six months later.
Ah yes: capitalism in the nineties. A bold enthusiastic entrepreneurial
spirit accompanied by a jaw-dropping cluelessness.
Anyway, as I was clearing out my desk, our admin came by wheeling a cart
full of office supplies-- floppy discs, pens, paper, paper clips,
alligator clips, clipboards, three ring binders, sticky notes, pen
holders, file folders-- which she handed out with a cheery "Help yourself!"
We all staggered to our cars with our booty, and drove away guilt-free.
I'm certainly not proud of having looted this now non-existent company.
I probably set the defunct entity back forty or fifty bucks with my
shenanigans. Still, if you match my petty theft against the lunkheaded
antics of upper management, who managed to run a perfectly mediocre
company and a hundred million dollars or so into the ground in less than
a year-- well, I'm a piker.
I still have a dozen or so of those ball point pens left, and I believe
a couple of them still work. To show my good faith, and atone for my
sins, if the fine folks at WorldCom or Enron or Arthur Andersen need
some paper clips, memo pads, or writing utensils with another company's
logo to help defray the expenses of busted 401 Ks, worthless stock
options, and legal expenses, give me a call. I'll let you have them at
cost. It's the least I can do.
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JWR contributor Ian Shoales is the author of, among others, Not Wet Yet: An Anthology of Commentary. Comment by clicking here.
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© 2001, Ian Shoales