Life at Up Up and Away Investment Management International: Chapter 11: (A serialized novel by Robert K. Stephen)

Chapter 11

Downsizing: Prospective employers: The toughest act to conquer

Perhaps the most important actor in the Theatre of the Downsized is the employer you must convince to hire you. Depending upon your reaction to the Blessed Event undertaking a job search is either the first or last activity you are in the mood for.

Almost inevitably you will have a tainted view of largecorp but of course, unless you are independently wealthy or close to achieving your retirement income savings, you have no choice but to plow on. Put on a happy grin and act your way into another job by convincing your prospective employers you are the ideal candidate. Do your research on the employer by reviewing annual reports and try to network into employees of that employer so you will have a better idea how to bait your hook. It is never how you really feel or think but how you are supposed to act and what you are expected to say that is your Yellow Brick Road.

Unfortunately, your first “official” stop in the hiring process ordinarily is the Human Resources Department whose job is to eliminate by screening out undesirables. The Human Resources Department plays a negative role in the hiring process. Tell them what they want to hear and that’s easy due to the skills you have picked up in self help books and in your outplacement sessions. The blind leading the blind in a big game.

You won’t get what you want by interpreting your greatest accomplishments. You must massage them so they best meet a prospective employer’s expectations and needs. Don’t falsify or invent accomplishments just manipulate them. You must become an expert at transforming your experience into a marketable commodity. You might even begin to believe what you are delivering as your own personal marketing message. Remember my allusion earlier that you are now a method actor. This means an ability to rise beyond yourself and deceive yourself by imagining what your prospective employer as your audience wants to hear.

You are quickly learning what an ideal employee is. What a rat won’t do for a piece of cheese. The winning character has an ability to exaggerate, manipulate, emphasize, flatter, convince and deceive. These are the “winning qualities” the ideal candidate needs.

Perhaps the most delicate question you’ll be asked is why you were terminated and how you feel about it. This is the most important line of your performance. What you and 99% of people would say is that your former largecorp boss and all the Senior Management Team of that largecorp were evil creatures and you are a victim of a great injustice. Do not say what you are really thinking. This is an example of the Theatre of the Downsized you are acting in. How absurd it is you are showing no bitterness!

Try and keep your explanation as to your termination as simple as neutral as possible. You really enjoyed working for your former largecorp. They offered you the opportunity to grow and develop however due to a restructuring your job was eliminated.

Show anger or bitterness and say anything derogatory like any ordinary human being and you are out the door. A cardinal rule of largecorp is love your largecorp and refrain from showing any true emotion or truth as that is antithetical and alien concept for largecorp. What it wants is a robot willing to bear, degradation, manipulation and demagoguery with a happy face. In fact, its goal is to eliminate human labour and replace it by artificial intelligence under the guise of cost cutting and “rationalization”. Despite the clear intention of largecorp to eliminate as many employees as possible facing this grim reality you are expected to smile and be so ever grateful to largecorp for employing you!

If you are not skilled at deception and manipulation and wish to escape the whole fetid and stinking mess of largecorp call it quits, write a book about largecorp and make a pile by going on the lecture circuit. Or start your own business.

As you are not a turfed member of the Senior Management Team you are going to have a tough slog landing that new job. SMT members who are turfed are in the golden elite and can glide from top ranks of one largecorp to another largecorp. Incredibly, SMT members who are turfed can be given “consulting contracts” by the terminating largecorp. No need to show up for work but these terminated SMT members can smile and say they are still employed by way of a consulting contract. This makes their termination very dignified and may aid in the perception they are still employed by largecorp when hunting for a new job. As they say it is better to be employed when looking for a new job than to be unemployed and job searching.

Believe it or not poison pills exist in largecorp land that obligate largecorp make automatic set payments to the SMT when largecorp is taken over! This obligation may even exist where the SMT member continues to work for the newly merged corporation. Many of the SMT that were in CRAP’s institutional division that I had worked for made millions this way despite the fact some of them continued to work for their new employer. The rank and file can be shed by the thousands with a measly severance packages. The taken over SMT escapes unscathed with cash far in excess of common law severance in their pockets. As a staggering example the head of CRAP’s segregated institutional fund business walked away with $20 million in his pockets simply because CRAP’s segregated institutional fund business was taken over! What conclusion can you draw from this other than the folks at the top rarely suffer! Now you know why these “takeover payments” to senior executives are called poison pills!

At times you’ll be terribly discouraged and disappointed particularly if you thought you were going to get that offer but it did not materialize. Keep your negativity sealed off as if your ruined ego is on display in the marketplace the maggots will fester and destroy your self esteem. Do not let largecorp have you believe you are a worthless toad. You are not a diseased leper. Don’t let frustration and anxiety cripple you!

Our minds are our biggest enemy and strongest ally. Don’t let your mind be a one-way ticket to self pity and a cheap bottle of sherry as you spend the night totally emotionally ruined in some dank hostel. Just picture your former boss snickering at you as he passes you on the street where you are taking your last swig of sherry. Do you believe me now that anger can be a powerfully managed force in your self reconstruction?

Published by Robert K Sephen (CSW)

Robert K Stephen writes about food and drink, travel, and lifestyle issues. He is one of the few non-national writers to be certified as a wine specialist by the Society of Wine Educators, in Washington, DC. Robert was the first associate member of the Wine Writers’ Circle of Canada. He also holds a Mindfulness Certification from the University of Leiden and the University of Toronto. Be it Spanish cured meat, dried fruit, BBQ, or recycled bamboo place mats, Robert endeavours to escape the mundane, which is why he has established this publication. His motto is, "Have Story, Will Write."

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