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The corporate life: Your horror stories.

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Rawr

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Those who have done the corporate ladder climb, please do share your experience. What was good, what was bad, what flat out sucked. How much would you need to make to go back?
 

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zaiteku

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I think the corporate world can be a good place to start for a lot of reasons. You gain a lot of experience, you learn what its like to work for the man, and you meet a lot of cool people. That being said, I do have some funny horror stories, being that I worked for a very large software developer at one time. I remember my team working from 10am until 5am for months and months with no overtime pay, and then one of us would come in 15 min late, and the company would take away his vacation time! Or I worked until Midnight at least, sometimes until 5am on a project, under a misguided boss, for 6 months, 6 days a week, with no overtime pay, and it came out like crap, I got blamed for it, he got a promotion. Yeah, a lot of things were bad there, but in retrospect, I really appreciated my time there. I met some really cool people, and gained a lot of valuable experience in the process. If I had to do it all over again, I totally would! Plus you learn to appreciate things more. Its hard for me to imagine really appreciating leaving the rat race and being financially free without having gone through that hell. (I say "imagine" since Im still in the rat race...) To sum up, its definitely someplace I would want to start working, and definitely not a place I would want to end up working later in life.
 

JScott

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A have about a thousand funny and sad stories, but I'll start with this one...

I was working for a large consumer electronics company as an engineering manager. The project I was managing was behind schedule, and my VP decided to call the whole team into his office for a pep talk.

A week later, we were still behind schedule, so the VP called us in again, this time telling us that we'd do weekly meetings until we got back on schedule. Each week we'd meet to review progress, milestones, issues, etc.

A couple weeks later, we were still behind schedule...we go into our weekly meeting with the VP, and he says, "Okay, since we can't seem to get things done, we're going to start meeting every day to track issues and project status."

A week into the daily meetings we're still behind schedule, we go into the VP's office for our daily meeting. He's fuming that we're still behind schedule, and screams, "I don't care how much time I need to spend talking to you guys, but we'll have as many meetings as it takes to start getting things done around here!"

Clearly, more meetings is the key to productivity... :)
 

Rawr

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I think the corporate world can be a good place to start for a lot of reasons. You gain a lot of experience, you learn what its like to work for the man, and you meet a lot of cool people. That being said, I do have some funny horror stories, being that I worked for a very large software developer at one time. I remember my team working from 10am until 5am for months and months with no overtime pay, and then one of us would come in 15 min late, and the company would take away his vacation time! Or I worked until Midnight at least, sometimes until 5am on a project, under a misguided boss, for 6 months, 6 days a week, with no overtime pay, and it came out like crap, I got blamed for it, he got a promotion. Yeah, a lot of things were bad there, but in retrospect, I really appreciated my time there. I met some really cool people, and gained a lot of valuable experience in the process. If I had to do it all over again, I totally would! Plus you learn to appreciate things more. Its hard for me to imagine really appreciating leaving the rat race and being financially free without having gone through that hell. (I say "imagine" since Im still in the rat race...) To sum up, its definitely someplace I would want to start working, and definitely not a place I would want to end up working later in life.

Haha, well you started so well and ended up convincing me NOT to work in that structure.

You can get a crappy experience everywhere, it is that I think most people feel like when you get a "real job" that should be something meaningful, with adults around you, and a path to a bright future. I don't have to work for a corp to know that it is not even close to that, thats why I think you guys should vent more :smash:

Jscott- brilliant, perfect illustration.
 

kimberland

Bronze Contributor
Jul 25, 2007
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I had great experiences with corporate.
Some solid mentoring,
people going out of their way to train me
on product development, business evaluations, system rollouts, etc.

And since I take contract gigs in corporate still,
it would take very little to bring me back.

Note:
Project work is VERY different from other work though.
I doubt I would have survived and thrived outside of projects.
 

Vicious

PARKED
Dec 18, 2007
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SoCal
Best story I have yet just came about a week or so ago. This is an email transcript of the issue at hand.

Originally Posted by office manager broad
Subject: Please conserve the coffee

Just a small request. If coffee is going to be made again in the afternoon, please do not make a full pot. We've come in a few times in the morning, and there is a full pot sitting from yesterday afternoon.

If needed, please try to make only a few cups worth. The majority of us are not afternoon coffee drinkers.

Thank you,
******
In response to this absolutely retarded request my partner in crime wrote:


Originally Posted by D2
Subject: RE: Please conserve the coffee
Is this a part of our profit plan for 2008?
Originally Posted by office manager... bitter party of 1
Subject: RE: Please conserve the coffee
Actually, it's a plan for conserving, and not being wasteful. I thought with all the changes we've made not to waste paper, this request would be in the same direction
See bitter undertones about change of procedure from having everything in folders on paper, to all on our server.


Me, well being me, couldn't leave well enough alone.

Originally Posted by Vicious
Subject: RE: Please conserve the coffee
Please accept my sincerest apologies, I have seen the egregious error of my ways. On behalf of this I will gladly donate the $11.42 (per costco) to buy a new tub of coffee to replace the erroneous waste from my atrocious coffee brewing habits.

One would think it's blatantly evident this is all written in extreme sarcasm to make light of how absolutely retarded the whole thing was... apparently it was a swing and a miss.

Originally Posted by office manager... about as sharp as a bowling ball
Hopefully, this will be the end to the "coffee" emails.
I was merely given a request this morning, and I followed up with an email to our so called "team". I had NO idea it would be taken so personal and cause such drama.
Please forgive me.
On the other hand, a small part of me is saying, get over it. It was just a simple request. NO RESPONSE NEEDED (OR WANTED). And for those of you that don't realize, this last part is written in a joking manner. We all need to lighten up. It's the holidays for goodness sake. Happy Holidays,
******

I call this, the tyranny of the stupid.

Just for reference, this office consists of 7 people and our total yearly coffee expendature is likely under $50. We figured that a pot of coffee cost us around $0.23. :coco: Beyond that, the places operates insanely lean, grossing nearly 8 figures with 7 people and is pulling a net profit after all expenses, salaries, taxes, etc of almost 20%. The place is a cash cow.



 

GoldenEggs

Contributor
Sep 4, 2007
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Silicon Valley, CA
Clearly, more meetings is the key to productivity... :)

JScott, yes!!! I have had the same experience! I was working as a paralegal and we were having weekly meetings on why certain things weren't getting done. Our manager wanted to know why "Jane" could previously handle it all when "Jill" and I couldn't.

"Jane" never helped us (whether it be jumping it or teaching us her processes) but when I finally left, "Jane" had to and everything was all caught up again. Magic!

The best thing I learned in the corporate world was how to keep your cool. Although, I must admit that right now, I am tempted to give up and go back to my job because things are really difficult right now. But on the other hand, I get to see automatic direct results from my efforts and that is very gratifying!
 

Rawr

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I just read a 10 page thread on Holiday bonuses given out this year to various people.

Average gift - $300

Small gift - A ham or a Turkey. (or a $30 gift card)

Self Employed guys - $10,000-30,000

Hmm....



Of course, who can forget Golden Sachs with average bonus of $600,000
 

Diane Kennedy

Bronze Contributor
Aug 31, 2007
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Best story I have yet just came about a week or so ago. This is an email transcript of the issue at hand.

In response to this absolutely retarded request my partner in crime wrote:


See bitter undertones about change of procedure from having everything in folders on paper, to all on our server.


Me, well being me, couldn't leave well enough alone.


One would think it's blatantly evident this is all written in extreme sarcasm to make light of how absolutely retarded the whole thing was... apparently it was a swing and a miss.



I call this, the tyranny of the stupid.

Just for reference, this office consists of 7 people and our total yearly coffee expendature is likely under $50. We figured that a pot of coffee cost us around $0.23. :coco: Beyond that, the places operates insanely lean, grossing nearly 8 figures with 7 people and is pulling a net profit after all expenses, salaries, taxes, etc of almost 20%. The place is a cash cow.




Absolutely priceless! Actually, I think the issue was as much as needing to get the last word in by the Office Manager (or whoever was being the coffee control freak.)
 

Rawr

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Bump!
 

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rocksolid

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Nov 17, 2008
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I worked for a software company about 10 yrs ago doing sales. I was the # 2 guy in the office and this won me a trip on them as a thank you . You brought your spouse and they told you that your time was your time not company time. We went to Mexico........now before we left I saw some of the other places this company took their award winners and they looked great. The place we went to was a dump and true I did make it known but I was not the only one. We went to a place where it was all inclusive and my boss and the owners of the company drank a lot most of the time. I had a problem with my return ticket and was asking everybody in the company for help. Finally one night sitting at a table with my bosses, who had too much to drink I mention my trouble. The owner of the company told me what I had to do to get it straighten out. I said " oh.... I wish somebody at my company would have told me that " With that the owner stands up and in a drunken stupper of a voice says " YOUR COMPANY??? YOUR COMPANY????? I OWN THIS COMPANY!!!!!! " He then went on to tell me to leave his site this second, some ego huh. I went back to my room and told my wife that I think I lost my job and sure enough 2 months later I was gone. I may be the only guy who got fired on a rewards trip.
 

splok

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1. Decide on dream job
2. Decide that I need another degree to get it
3. Move 7k miles for college and spend 2 years plus lots of money on degree
4. Get dream job, move 5k miles for it
5. 25% of the company gets laid off after I was there less than one month (including me obviously)
6. Unemployed with no benefits in one of the world's most expensive cities, yay!
 

fsna.hartley

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Jan 15, 2013
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I've only worked in an office environment for a couple of years so I didn't value my job much but the friendship I've acquired. Working a good experience but when it comes to earning money and providing for your family, it isn't much. I've been at home for a couple of years now with my kids and I still prefer this situation over what I have experienced in working at the office. My friends, they can be a great target for a business I'm starting with.
 

Astute

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Jun 19, 2012
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Moving into my first office job at 19. At the start of my second week I realised all the processes I did on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday & Friday before would be repeated in exactly the same order in the coming week. Utterly soul destroying.
 

RBefort

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Moving into my first office job at 19. At the start of my second week I realised all the processes I did on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday & Friday before would be repeated in exactly the same order in the coming week. Utterly soul destroying.

This....I used to be self-employed and played poker back during the Boom...I didn't make nearly as much as other people. But like they say you never realize how good you had it until it's gone. I enjoyed being on my own schedule. Got up later in morning, as I wasn't a morning person; just in time for lunch. Could eat, do whatever until mid afternoon, then load up tables until early the next morning. Rinse, repeat. Days could be longer than a normal 8-5. Somedays, you played 10-12 hours or more...but you didn't notice. What if I got burnt out? Well, take the next however many days off. Money was never an issue, as I spent more than I earned. Overall, my level of happiness was higher; even if I wasn't contributing to sociey in any form.

After reading some books, including Tony Robbins and MJ's, I realize I want to get back on my own schedule and start helping people in some way also. Everyday it's the same old routine (and now my gf brought a damn dog into the mix-strapping down my freedoms more), come home from work mid afternoon while getting pissed at traffic. The office environment is quite annoying, with people constantly on phone about non work issues or just general chatter. You wonder how they get anything done. The work never changes, only giving you bigger and more complicated stuff to work on...but the work never changes. I am in Underwriting, by the way.

I was ecstatic to be earning a solid $38k!!!! a year when I started, as I thought this would also be a new challenge. While I like to learn the industry, the working world is just not what it's cracked up to be. Who would have thought just sitting in a cube all day would be tiring. I felt more alive clicking my mouse playing poker and using my brain creatively (when it's actually the same type of work).
 

EastWind

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Oct 31, 2009
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There is no horror stories for me. There are fears of getting fired or laid off. There is the fear of getting trapped, too dependent and comfortable. There's the frustration of not having ask your ideas received due to red tape. There is the loss of freedom of being on someone's time. There is the frustration of perhaps not getting rewarded appropriately. But I don't consider working for a company horror. It's part of my stepping stone towards financial freedom. It's the best way I know how to survive while raising bootstrap capital.
 

dr_pie

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Nov 2, 2011
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I don't think corporate life is that bad from a training and professional development perspective. You need to get real work life experience somewhere. Some of us luck out and come up with their millionaire idea without working in the corporate world. Others need that corporate experience to determine their muse.

I got into the corporate world and worked my way up the ladder. Things were great and I was unstoppable. Over 10 years of progressive experience and I was an expert in my field (Human Resources). However, the bubble eventually burst and through corporate restructuring I realized that I was not in control of my career. Although I didn't lose my job, the trajectory that I thought I was on was suddenly gone.

In the corporate world there are always other forces at play that you do not have control over. It was initially tough to swallow but it opened my eyes to the reality that I was not in control of my destiny. I didn't like that feeling at all especially when I had worked so hard to believe I was in control.

So I looked up, got up and decided not to give up. Well I actually did give up on the corporate dream. I instead focused my attention on creating my own wealth and independence. I read a number of books on the subject (including MJ's) and developed a business idea. I have spent the last year creating my product and within a month will be ready to launch it to the world. The process has been exhilarating and liberating and I haven't even made a sale yet. If this is what independence feels like I am sold.

However, the point is that I would not have come up with my business idea if I didn't have corporate experience in my field of work and if corporate realities had woken me out of my slumber. My 10 years experience gave the knowledge and expertise to develop my idea and the corporate world helped me with that.

I am still working for the corporation but I am beyond optimistic that I will be able to unplug after my product launches.

Yes corporate life can be brutal but take as much as you can from it. No school can teach you the business lessons that you will learn.
 

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