You could set your watch by the bodies passing through the revolving doors at the Company. The efficient plod of smart oxfords across the cold marble floor sounded like a chorus of impatiently ticking seconds. At the far end of the lobby, cold, steely elevator doors opened and shut, swallowing hordes of suits gathered loyally en masse.
Once you stepped between those doors, you got sucked deep into the viscera of corporate life, destined not to see sunlight nor breathe fresh air for nine hours. In the elevator, coiffed and polished employees were ordered three in a row, three columns wide. The doors would close and the suits would concentrate on silence, eyes averted upward, waiting patiently for their deliverance.
The elevator doors opened, and in a manner devoid of age, race, sex or gender, the employees filed out one by one, and marched to their assigned cubicle, where they would spend roughly 37.5% of their day. An employee may take a moment at midday to take a distracted bite from a vending machine sandwich, or to sip from a stale cup of coffee, but other than that, an employee's entire being is channeled into the Company.
Have you ever felt such devotion? For years I wondered why I gave my youthful pride and energy to the Company.
Now, I feel the grass tickling my back. I can smell the sunlight on my face. I can hear, and even enjoy the fullness of solitude and the absence of obligation. There is no white noise here, in my place.
I first crossed the threshold at 23, a ripe and ready-to-learn go-getter, anxious to heed the slightest bidding of my superior. I wanted to anticipate their every thought. I wanted to mimic their every action. I aspired to that elite group of Company-approved managers.
I loved working for the Company. It not only provided me with the means to live, it endeared me with a life objective. It gave me a reason to get up in the morning. It gave me the means to be independent. It inspired awe in parents and friends. My father's eyes would light up, his chest would puff, as he related to his colleages his daughter's successful employment at the Company. This was his reward for giving his only child to the business world. Mom nodded and offered an obligatory smile of approval at mention of the Company.
When I interviewed for the Company, I was captivated by the exquisitely drawn organizational diagrams and flashy, propagandist presentations. I was enthralled by the idea of being one of several thousand crucial cogs in the organization. Once admitted, I acted the way I was expected to act. My facial expressions reflected only what management wanted to see. I learned to make the Company's success my first and foremost priority.
The Company was the largest of the Big X Firms. This exclusive club of bureaucracies specialized in evaluating the weaknesses of others and exploiting these weaknesses to generate pull-through revenue. Teams of slick salesmen with quick, ever-so-sincere smiles descended, deux ex machina-style, onto an unsuspecting business. "Oh," the salesmen would sigh, as they huddled over colorful flowcharts and process outlines. They would give each other sly, knowing glances as they identified areas of concern.
Soon, the troubled business would become a Client. And you did everything for the Client.
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