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American Corporate Influence or Life in the Losing Lane

Meh – I will probably get into trouble for this. Hey, look – I have 6 years in the workforce left; you wanna can me? C’est la vie but if I can get one person to think about life’s true priorities? I’m happy. Life is too short to guard your words, thoughts because of a corporate entity.

Obviously, I work for a corporation. I am a child of the late sixties and seventies; the movement that guided North American youth left its mark. I was too young for Woodstock but I remember seeing what corporate and corrupt politics did to young men in Vietnam, to people of colour in the south. I was old enough to follow Watergate and the junk bond crooks of Wall Street. My opinion of corporate and political minions were formed and as I started to move into the workforce, those opinions were validated and set in concrete.

As a Canadian, American points of view are everywhere but I am also a Quebecoise. As a Quebecois, I am influenced by the life view of Europe. We are Americanized on the surface but scratch that surface and the European culture runs deep.

Many of us work to live – we do not follow the American or the Americanized Canadian “live to work” philosophy. We know that this leads to a shallow and sad sort of life. A life bereft of real family connection, of true enjoyment of life.

Here’s a confession; I am connected to my job, 24/7 and I am working toward changing this. I am connected through my home computer, through my cell phone. I am tethered…no…I am willfully shackled to the company. What will this get me? If I’m lucky? A pat on the head. My problem is that I truly believe that customers are important – their needs, their requirements are a priority. Why is this a problem? Because when you work for a corporation with American talking heads? The real priority is the bottom line and if this means cutting staff and working the current employees into heart attacks, breakdowns or quitting in disgust? No matter, as long as a profit is shown.

Europe stands back and gazes in scorn. A few American corporations “get it” and as a result, leave other corporations in their fiscal dust….Google for example, Microsoft used to be thus but I’m not sure anymore. These are corporations that “get it”. They strive to attain balance between the priority of attracting and retaining staff that and to be quite blunt “give a shit” in their job. These companies encourage pride, reward hard work and maintain that work and life must be in balance. Wall Street and the big auto makers look down their noses at the policies of the Silicon Valley yet, although dot.com took a beating, it was the cream that rose to the top and the cream remain strong while Sally May and the auto companies had to go in search, as is viewed by the great unwashed, with hat-in-hand for bailouts. A bailout is failure. Not that the execs care. They still get their salaries and perks.

You see, the US and some of Canada is no better than the worst of the medieval world of Seigneurs and serfs. This is the feudal system gone 2017.

But, just as the serfs found ways to enjoy their lives, one day – the inequity, the cruelty will become too much and the serfs will find a way to fight back. Look up the word “sabotage”. The French and Russian revolutions are extreme examples but this is what happens when you treat the people, who allow you to feed at your trough, with no regard. History is replete with warnings. A lot of Europe took notes but the US and Canada seem to have forgotten their roots. We all arrived here due to some sort of feudal jack booting.

I have learned some valuable lessons in the corporate world – I learned the most valuable lesson of all, through the passing of a good friend. She died and corporate didn’t even take notice. She was a good worker, she had strong ethics and should have been a shining star but her ethics had her deemed a “troublemaker”. Work was heaped on her and when the stress began to show? She was the problem…not the company.

I lost my folks and a few good friends over the past 7 years and I deduced that life is too short to be indebted to a corporate entity that won’t even notice my departure – whether it is a moral coil departure or a “take this job and shove it” exit. It took a while for reality to set in.

If I drop off the face of the earth tomorrow? My seat won’t even be allowed to cool before the next peon is put in my chair. The corporation won’t comfort my husband, my kids or grandchildren. These people, these special people in my life don’t exist in the corporate milieu where I work, far more than those 8 hours a day, I am “technically” contracted to work.

So, in the future, my priorities will change – my ethics will not be set on the backburner, my family will not take second place. I will not be overburdened because corporate requires cutbacks. I will say “No.” I will re-set myself – a hard boot, so to speak.

All of this to say; wake up. The corporation will eat you up and spit you out. Your family will be cut loose. You are killing yourself to make someone else rich. You are those serfs from the middle ages. “Please sir, can I have some more?”, even though YOU are the one who has put that gruel in the pot.

I’ll do my job to the best of my ability, because I come from a family with a strong work ethic but I am also Quebecois and I now know that a line needs to be drawn. The corporation doesn’t care that I’m darn good at what I do. They can and will fill my chair with someone with less skill if they can find a cheap way to do it.

My life wasn’t given to me to be a sap for the rich. My life needs to be enjoyed because, goddam…it is too short to waste slaving for strangers who don’t give a damn.

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