corporate management is soulless: an airtight hypothesis

This will probably all be chalked up to sour grapes, since ATT didn’t offer me a job. But I’d like to point out that I’ve been bashing office nonsense from day one, so really I’m just being consistent.

I won’t be hired on when the temp contract is up, for reasons unknown. The qualities examined were productivity (mine was just average but within the quota), attendance (one sick day and a few preapproved days off), and attitude (eep). I got along great with the people around me, including supervisors, but I did tend to associate with a number of others who were either fired or not offered a job. And I tend to be a smartass sometimes. I can only speculate though, because the people picked for the 30-something permanent positions were bizarre choices. Not to mention the fact that noone at ATT has said anything to anyone who wasn’t hired. Most of us simply didn’t get a congratulatory email memo that those who were hired did. Termination by neglect. So balless. I’ve become comfortable with the fact that I didn’t exactly shine under the light of ATT Wireless, and it’s probably for the best. But still, it’s like being dumped by someone you hate. It’s a good thing, but the rejection still stings. Let’s face it, I needed a job, and I felt like I had performed well for the company.

More evidence that a big company can steal your soul came when a motherly, late-50s black woman who has been doing office work for years, was fired without notice for low numbers. Just given the boot. She has family and loads of bills, and the temp assignment only goes for another month or two. But rather than let her ride it out with slightly lower productivity, they canned her ass. And they told her that she could pick up her things the next day in exchange for her security badge and only then. This is the woman who used to bring in homecooked food for us all on the occassional Friday lunch, or a big tray of muffins for breakfast.

Not as cruel, but still insanely soulless and balless: A couple of temps signed on for a blood drive at the office this week (not me, I’m a complete coward when it comes to needles). There was some quiet grumbling among low-level managers over when the workers could leave their desks to give up the juice. Later in the afternoon we received the following e-mail from our temp agency:

Hi all,

(ATT Wireless) has asked me to notify you that as you are not employees of AWS, it

would be best not to participate in their blood drive. While they sincerely

appreciate your willingness to participate, there are some co-employment

issues that this brings up.

Thank you for your understanding,

A general wave of disbelief and chuckling cascaded among the office. “They turned down my blood!” one woman said in shock. One of the supervisors, a gigantic, loud woman who sits too damn close to me and chips away at my sanity a little every day, overheard and said from behind her glass-walled cubicle, “It’s a liability issue.”

When people are ruined, just robbed of all that makes them human beings, sucked of common sense, humor, compassion and honesty, do they even know it? That must be the trick, I guess. They don’t know it. It’s so gradual that they wake up one day and say things like “It’s a liability issue,” to someone who has offered his or her own blood to sick people.

This same supervisor and I had a brief, laughable misunderstanding that should have ended in two seconds and a chuckle. To avoid the mindless subject matter, I’ll just say that she forgot to hand something out to about half the staff. I gently told her (remember the woman is gargantuan), and she gave me this look like I had just pissed a circle around her desk. She said, “You’re going to have reiterate what you’re trying to communicate because I’m just not understanding your point.” No shit, I swear to god, she said this as if from a cue card she got from some off-site training seminar entitled “How To Be a Cold, Lifeless, Vacant Moron-bitch, but Still Maintain Your Managerial Authority.” I sort of chuckled and tried again. She didn’t chuckle, but realized she goofed and went on apologizing to everyone.

An apology was so not necessary. Simple humanity was, and I knew right then that hers was probably gone — misplaced among emails and system error alerts and staff meetings and American Idol water cooler talk and vending machine egg sandwiches. There’s a huge dry-erase board near my desk on which someone wrote the ATT Wireless mission statement over and over, hundreds of times in tiny print until it covered half the board. I won’t write it here for fear that whatever happened to the victim of the white board will happen to me, but it’s not something you want as your mantra. And once you’ve written such a balless, soulless statement that many times, you don’t really need to know how to write anything else, do you? You’re it now.

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