MegaCorp announced significant layoffs last week .. again. In fact, both of the Fortune 500 companies I worked for have had significant job cuts this year, despite weathering the pandemic pretty well in 2020.
I am years away from the two MegaCorps now, but it is still tough to see colleagues let go after long careers. Combined, the two companies cut nearly 5K employees – many out of their MN headquarters where I worked.
During my career I had a good deal of pride for the companies I worked for and the brands I led. As a marketer, I think that is natural. In fact, I’m sure many said people said about me: “He bleeds [brand] blue, or [brand] red”. I still have a good number of brand hats, coats, or bags I was happy to show off, as I was proud to play a leading role on these big, well-known brands.
Yet, like so many things I once had a personal connection to in my life, that pride has dissipated over the years. When I think of places I’ve lived, schools I went to, and organizations I was a part of, I have to admit that they mean less and less to me as each day passes.
To be honest, I’m not sure if the change is just part of getting older or a function of living a relatively independent lifestyle in retirement. I suppose it is both. I’m sure I’ve lost some of the youthful trust I once had in institutions, especially MegaCorp. And, because I don’t actually need to rely on those institutions anymore, any partisan rooting tendencies go out the window.
For me, this feeling is compounded by the fact that many of the businesses I worked on just aren’t as successful as they once were. One big brand – which I still have a nice golf hat for – went from being the #1 brand in their category to #4. I see so little advertising for the brand anymore, it might be becoming the next RC Cola!
Regardless, I’m golfing later this week and I think I’ll make sure to wear that brand hat on the links. My pride is waning, but it is not completely gone. If anything, what’s left might be bolstered by a good dose of personal nostalgia. After all, even folks that worked at companies like Kodak, Pan Am, and Oldsmobile must still enjoy reminiscing about their own days gone by!
How Attached To Your MegaCorp / Businesses Do You Still Feel?
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4 thoughts on “MegaCorp Affinity Waning”
Chief, one of my clients in the 70’s was Pan Am! I do have fond memories. And just yesterday, I gave two of our grandkids doughboy dolls. They were happy! I still follow client’s brands and businesses in WSJ. I exult in their successes and grieved in their losses. On LinkedIn, I stay in touch with colleagues at agencies and clients. A 5K loss of jobs in one city is more than a ripple, and gives me concerns about how those companies are currently managed. But knowing the high quality of people who worked their the individuals will move on successfully. What’s past is prologue.
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I’ve gotten quite a few calls and unexpected retirement notices over the last few weeks. It’s tough to see the change at MegaCorp, especially with the success that the business had during the pandemic. Hopefully they don’t go the way of Pan Am, although that brand seems to still have a lot of cache with people, doesn’t it?!
I have to say, I still have a great affinity for my past employer. I also still wear my old company apparel. But the company’s success became its own downfall, as it resulted in being acquired by the largest company in our industry, eventually eliminating the original company name entirely. There’s even a former employee initiated Facebook page for the former company, so the affinity is obviously wide spread among many former colleagues still active on that FB page now twelve years past the acquisition! The same cannot be said for the acquiring company, which is why most of us pulled the chords on our golden parachutes soon after the acquisition. The acquiring company heavily cannibalized the former company and soon after, layoffs began, and the stock price fell. The acquiring company continues to exist, but has lost significant market share thanks to poor management and massive turnover. It’s funny how the smaller former company continues to have a strong employee following on FB even beyond its existence. I think it says a lot about our former management team and our fantastic employees. So wear those old logos proud!
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That sounds like a tough acquisition. My original MegaCorp (12 years there for me) was acquired by our cross-twin rival in 2001. I stayed another 12 years, but as you experienced, it wasn’t the same. That company is smaller now than it was 9 years ago when I left. I love the people and brands, but my loyalty isn’t what it once was when I go down the grocery aisle.