Thanksgiving Freedom From MegaCorp Nonsense

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My first year of working out of college came with a lesson in corporate culture.  It was the day before Thanksgiving 1989 and our Division VP told everyone to head out early that Wednesday at 3:00pm to beat rush hour and get an early start on the holiday.

This was before the days of flextime, job-sharing, and any discussions of ‘work/home balance’.  Work was still done in a business suit (with a tie) and no one came and went as they pleased, as seems more often the case nowadays.  As a result, going home early the day before a holiday weekend seemed like a big deal.

It was something we were all looking forward to until he informed everyone about an hour-and-a-half in advance that we all needed to stay until ‘COB’.  ’COB’ meant ‘Close of Business’ – that was 4:30pm in our office.  Wait, what?

He painfully explained that the MegaCorp’s new British ownership weren’t celebrating American Thanksgiving and were rumored to be planning on calling different departments to see who was working and who wasn’t.

For me it was an early lesson in corporate nonsense and the company’s basic disrespect for people as adults.  It was a lesson that would be taught over and over again in dozens of colorful ways over the course of my 27 year career.

I like to think that MegaCorps are much more thoughtful and respectful of their employees now than they were back in the late-1980s, but I’m sure that’s not always the case.  In this post from before I early retired last year, I captured some of the things I would “Miss and Won’t Miss” about MegaCorp life.

Any holiday MegaCorp nonsense in your career around the holidays?

Image Credit: Pixabay

9 thoughts on “Thanksgiving Freedom From MegaCorp Nonsense

  1. At my IT job, they usually let us out early at Thanksgiving and Christmas. But sometimes depending how the monthly “numbers” were looking we couldn’t due to the VP who oversaw our dept. Getting to leave a little early was a big deal when you always had to punch the time clock. Another reason to get to FI sooner than later.

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    • How childish! No wonder people increasingly ‘pretend to work from home’ as much as possible nowadays.

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  2. Before I retired slightly early I ran a facility for a large corporation and I just never asked our senior corporate masters about letting people off early before a major holiday. I just did it relying on the concept that it is better to ask forgiveness than permission. I ran the place for 13 years and never got reprimanded for being generous to my coworkers. But I understand your boss because it isn’t worth being fired for and certainly not worth risking someone else’s job over. I have yet to run into any of the hundreds of people that used to work with me and not have them tell me they missed me and miss the way the company was run when I was there. That’s a pretty nice thing to hear about your career after you’ve retired.

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    • Funny that no one usually gets in trouble for doing the right thing, yet the boss is sometimes worried he is going to. I used to sometimes take my team out for lunch even when we had a ‘expense freeze’. I’d simply pay for it myself and comment that it was worth it to me, even if MegaCorp was too cheap to spring for it!

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  3. I once worked for a legendary agency that was founded in Chicago. Its legendary founder was still alive and residing in NY, near where I worked at his office in Manhattan. Every morning, every person (including the founder) needed to sign-in at the receptionist, including time of arrival. If you wanted to be paid, that was required. It was always amused me that there were no sign-out sheets. Like all agencies, then and now, leaving would be long after dark, and long after clients had gone home for the day. Many holidays that were sacrosanct for megacorps were spontaneously revocable for agency folks, to work on “emergency” projects that fell into our laps at the last minute before clients left their offices to enjoy family time. Almost everything rolls down hill in the business world. I know because I worked at the bottom of the hill. Now I am free.

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    • I hope my team didn’t put any holiday emergencies into your lap. Once, we had a production delay on a shoot that ended up getting scheduled for over Thanksgiving in Argentina. I told my marketing manager I would cover the shoot so she could be home with her family, but she bravely said it was her business and she would do it. I always felt bad about that. Commercial didn’t perform real well either. 🙁

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      • No worries, Chief. Downhill life suited me and my folks fine. We knew what we’d signed up for. Your employers were not the “usual suspects.” I could name other megacorps who were — but I won’t! Peace.

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  4. Oh yowza! And it’s amazing how far a little respect will go. My favorite school principal would say things like, “On snowy and icy days, I’d rather have you be late than in danger! Be careful out there.” As a result, I taught for the man in four different schools in two counties – Yep, you’ll chase a good manager for a little respect! And I’d have killed myself doing my very best work for him! ~ Lynn

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    • Sounds like a good man. My last MegaCorp claimed their culture was like a “university”, not a “grade school, like most companies”. Problem was it probably gave the least autonomy of the three companies I worked for.

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