What if your job held secrets that were keeping you unhappy and broke at the same time? Would you like to know?
Like all good pyramid schemes, the inner workings of corporate America must remain on the secretive side in order to work. If exposed, there is a high risk that good people will rise up and create change in favor of the majority and not the few making the decisions.
Is this secrecy really that surprising? Companies are in the business of making money for the owners and/or shareholders. Therefore it is simply good business practice to get the most out of the workers with the least amount of resources spent.
Perhaps some questions have been nagging at you. How is it that the harder you work, the same you make? Are you really okay with being underappreciated and underpaid? There are over 150 million Americans in Corporate America who probably have the same thought.
As you are exposed more and more to the perils of expecting the “safe and secure” job, there are still a host of things you do not realize about working in corporate America.
This is not a comprehensive list, but it is an important one.
We own you, you own nothing.
It never fails. You use phrases like my job, my company, and my career. You have the audacity to believe that you own those things just before we lay you off, downsize, right-size, outsource, or demote you against your will.
Let’s remember that we are your employer and it’s our job we allow you to perform. It just happens to be your career (and life) on the line, every day.
And no, you can’t even keep the red stapler.
We fire a lot quicker than we hire.
Remember what it took to hire you? Submitting your resume, a phone call or two, a day of interviews with your jealous coworkers, and then the big meeting with HR. It took multiple weeks, but worth it to find the right one, yes?
Well, now we’re going to fire you before you even know it. Don’t touch your desk and walk with us to the exit, where we will let you know.
And if you ever leave on your own accord, be sure to give us two weeks. Otherwise, we won’t put in a good word with your next owner, err, we mean, company.
You are renting an income.
You are an independent contractor. I know we put you on a W-2. That’s just so we can get any and all tax deductions on your work. But in reality you’re in a week to week rental.
Your reward for doing a good job is that you get to keep your income . That’s right, your performance each week determines whether you have “paid your rent” and get to remain in your position.
By the way, rent is due. Get to work.
It’s not illegal to share a salary.
Illegal? No, The National Labor Relations Act states that we can’t ban the discussion of salary and working conditions among employees.
However, we don’t recommend it. Why? Well, how would it look if you found out we just hired a new grad at twice the salary we’ve been paying you? The last thing we need is another disgruntled employee.
It’s called the glass ceiling because you aren’t supposed to see it. So stop looking.
We can’t pay you what you’re worth.
All kidding aside, we really can’t pay you what you are worth. Think about it. If you brought $250k of value into our company, and we paid you $250k, we’d make no profit and couldn’t keep the lights on or pay big bonuses to those above you on the food chain. It’s just simple math.
So be grateful for your $50k annual salary and rest easy knowing that the other $200k of your effort is going somewhere…else…
OK, here’s a gift card.
Loyalty is a one-way street.
Hey, work starts at 8:30 a.m. sharp. Why? Nothing to do with productivity or results, just another test of loyalty that you’ll do what we say. We figure that if we add enough hoops, the stress will keep you just underwater enough so that you need us more than we need you.
Which reminds us, don’t expect the same loyalty in return. If you do good, we may throw you a bone, but once we’ve used you up, it’s only good business sense to let you go. You may not understand this, but that’s okay with us.
Necessary doesn’t mean important.
Just because you provide a necessary function in our company doesn’t mean that you’re important. Of course we can always (yes always always always) find someone else to fill your job, you arrogant piss-ant.
But allow us to put it more plainly. If we had to choose between paying the light bill and paying your salary, guess who would win? And so we said, “Let there be light!” And there was. And business was good.
Look, if you want importance, go find your own identity and build your own dream.
The 401(k) is not for your benefit.
Boy, you’re going to hate us on this one. I know we said we were doing it for you. There was a day when we took the burden of pensions to ensure you retired with money. Yeah, well, now we’ve passed the buck to you. Surely you remember your financial education from school, right? How can you mess it up?
Your 401(k) (not technically yours either), is not only our way to shirk our responsibility for your future, but it’s our big tax benefit today. Not to worry, it’s your tax liability tomorrow.
So it all works out, for us.
Your boss is an employee too.
Sometimes you forget in all of your self-pity that your boss is going through the same struggles as you. Outside of upper-level C-suite suits, he or she doesn’t really “have it made” and they are barely making more than you. If anything, they have twice the headache without twice the pay.
I’m not sure how much this should comfort you though. After all, if you play your cards right, work diligently, and beat out the rest, you can be promoted to their position in about 10 years! Can you imagine?
I’m in no way implying that corporate America is the devil. It’s a temporary tool to gain experience, learn responsibility, and earn some money while building something for yourself. But if we dare delude ourselves into believing that any part of what we’re building is ours forever, we may be in a very unhappy and empty place later on when we really need it.
Do you agree with us about corporate America?
Did any of these things surprise you?
Do you have a story you’d like to share about an experience you or a friend have had with any of these things in corporate America?
We would love to hear your thoughts and opinions on this topic!
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