M. Giant's
Throwing stuff at the internet to see what sticks

Thursday, April 17, 2003  

Hot Potato

There’s a semi-regular ritual in my life that happens once every couple of years or so. It’s happening again this year. I’m used to it, but this is going to be the first one that you guys are around for.

The company I work for got sold again.

There are probably companies where getting sold would prompt a panic throughout the veal pens, especially in the current economy. Here, people just go “meh” and get back to work. I started with “this” company nearly nine years ago. Since then, we’ve changed hands so many times that anybody trying to dust us for prints would be utterly confounded. We’ve had more owners than Microsoft.

It’s always the same procedure, although there have been some minor changes. It used to be that rumors would fly around the office for weeks, even months before a sale. Now nobody cares enough. We just get a notice to go to an all-office meeting, and everybody knows what that means, but we go anyway just to see who’s buying us and how much of us they’re buying. Then, later, we all go to these follow-up meetings where the executives from our new parent company (although, given the length of our previous associations, it might be more appropriate to use the term foster-parent company) talk to us in encouraging and soothing tones, as if they expect us to take the news with all the equanimity of third-class passengers on the Titanic. Instead they get people who are checking their watches after ten minutes and asking desperately probing questions like, “Will we get casual Fridays back?” These are supposed to be short meetings, but some of them end up consuming a fairly high percentage of the period that we’re owned by the company in question. Sometimes I think we should take down the illuminated sign on the front of the building and replace it with a giant LCD screen.

The good part is that I still get treated like an eight-and-a-half-year employee, because it’s not like I’m the one who left. Whether our site gets sold (which has happened), or our division gets sold (which has also happened), or the entire company we belong to gets sold (which, believe it or not, has also happened), the “same-desk” rule applies and I have all the benefits of a veteran. Plus we get all that corporate logo swag all the time. Several people in our office haven’t had to buy a coffee mug since 1994.

On the downside, this one job is taking up more and more space on my résumé. Now I’ll have to update it to read “Company E, formerly Company D, formerly Company C, formerly Company B, formerly Company A.” If nothing else, that’ll demonstrate some staying power on my part. I’m not a job-jumper; I simply outlast my employers.

Normally I don’t talk about work here, because it’s even more boring than the stuff I do talk about. Which is why today’s entry is so short. Also, I wanted to finish writing it before we got sold again.

posted by M. Giant 3:44 PM 0 comments


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