Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Corporate Kabuki

I can now totally understand how Nazi Germany happened. Not to mention the Salem Witch Trials, the Spanish Inquisition, the Stalinist Purges and every other noted instance of mass insanity. Over a decade of having worked for major corporations has taught me all I need to know. Like these other eruptions of evil, our corporate age has brought out human nature's very worst.

Job-hunting, in these troubled times, heavily embroils us in a ritual I can only call Corporate Kabuki. It is an elaborate mummery, totally removed from reality: the domain of pisspot tyrants. And it demands, from those dependend upon it, nothing less than mindless and degrading fealty.

When you apply for a corporate job, the stupid grows like fungus on the process from the start.

"What are your aspirations for a career in Acme Enterprises?" you are asked. And of course, you are expected to tell them something grand. "I just need a damn job," would be the real answer. But that's the one you're not allowed to give.

You are expected to grovel. And certainly, when you play along with their little game of debase-ball and enthuse, with manufactured excitement, about your glorious potential future in widgetry, that is exactly what you are doing.

They know that, even if you're foolish enough to actually dream of climbing the widget ladder, they're only going to keep you 'til the next downsize and then dump you back on the street -- cheating you out of even a minimally-decent severance and, if at all possible, with absolutely no advance warning.

Either that, or -- and this is infinitely worse -- they will keep you for twenty-nine years, eleven months and three days, cutting you loose a matter of weeks before you were set to retire and collect whatever insultingly piddly pension they'd have condescended to give you.

Why do they do this? Why, simply because they can. They're frightened, cruel little people, and their only joy in life comes from lording their petty power over their underlings. The only difference between these soul-dead droids and the Nazis, or the Inquisitors, is one of opportunity.

They think they're frightened because the world is such a cold, hard place. But they have, by their own consent, become part of the problem instead of the solution. They are working to make the world even colder and harder than it has to be. They delude themselves into thinking "that's just the way it is" and that they have no choice. But of course they have a choice -- and of course they've made it.

That people like these continue to get hired and promoted -- just by playing the game -- when they have not a spark of originality, or even real humanity, to offer their employers, speaks volumes about how this situation got to be the way it is in the first place. If these are the sort of people they hire, then no wonder corporate executives hold their workers in such contempt.

The fakery goes on and on throughout the process, from the initial job-search on through to the Big Dump -- whenever it comes. And why? Because they want to get all they can out of us, giving as little as possible in exchange.

It is this that MUST be changed. And the only way we can change it is by WISING UP.

We don't need to devote ourselves to our corporate overlords the way medieval monks and nuns devoted themselves to the Church. We can hire out for a time -- as long as the arrangement remains mutually beneficial -- and then say "sayonara" when we've found something better. We know good and well we don't have any glorious future in widgets. But then again, why the hell would we even WANT one?

They've lost us. They no longer deserve our loyalty, and they never did deserve our dreams, our identities or our very lives. At one time they did deserve our loyalty, and it is entirely by their own treachery that they have lost it.

Wouldn't it be better if we COULD simply be honest with them, and they with us? Then we'd all know pretty much what to count on and what not to. The kabuki routine serves nobody. It has turned corporations and their workers into mortal enemies.

When the kabuki finally comes to an end, we will be able to work out a system that is fairer and more honest for both sides. Dishonesty brings out nothing but evil. It can never truly serve the good.

They've got to stop punishing those who tell them the truth. They've got to stop rewarding mindless conformity and moral cowardice. In the end, they're punishing themselves far more than they are us.

The curtain is coming down on the kabuki. But real life will go on.



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