Finding this thread of people discussing their total inability to care about their present job was refreshing. At present, I am so mentally checked out and detached at my job that the presence of my body in an office assigned to me is the only indication that I currently have employment. My command of language fails when asked to describe how little I care about my job, the company or 98% of the people with whom I currently share a research complex. I am that burnt out on the corporate lifestyle and the endless stream of foolish and inefficient behaviors endemic to large organizations. The quality of the projects is horrible and the chance for success is less than zero. The chances of taking a research project from idea to commercialization is zero in this environment since you can be derailed by a huge number of factors. Working endlessly on projects that have no chance of success is amazingly demoralizing.
To further add insult to injury, under our new system the technical staff who wish to actually perform research now must write internal grant applications for funds. One of the key benefits of working in industry vs. academia is the availability of company funds to advance projects that have the potential to benefit the firm. The individual may not be able to work on ideas of his or her choosing which is the benefit of working in an academic environment, but the funding for industrial work should be provided. Now, this is no longer true. If I wanted to beg for money, I would have become an academic and enjoyed the intellectual freedom.
My contempt for the senior management here knows no bounds since several managing directors were recently dismissed for seriously misrepresenting the position of the company. In required documents such as our 10K and the annual report, the value of the firm was inflated by about one third. Several of the executive managers left, of course, after recieving several million dollars each in hush money so the full extent of their lying will never be known. The scandal was in the newspapers for a few weeks and the company subsequently paid substantial fines in excess of $100 million to the SEC and to the equivalent regulatory body in the UK for all of their lies.
I have spent my entire career with a large oil, refining and chemical company whose name would be familiar to anyone reading this. In my previously position at this firm, I worked as an in house new business development specialist on the chemical side of the company. While working as a solo contributor, I initiated sales in a significant new market with over 300 million pounds of material sold to date. I subsequently volunteered without knowing all of the details to join an in house entrepreneurship team whose stated purpose was to initiate novel less capital intensive ventures by adding service components to our existing chemical product line. BAD MISTAKE ON MY PART.
Our team of people was assigned to a mentally deranged manager, deprived of funds needed to act, not given any standards concerning what constituted an acceptable vs. an unacceptable venture and then turned loose on the world. We had the ability to travel which proved to be pleasant as I got to see portions of Brazil, Equador, Columbia and Peru but everything else proved to be a disaster. Since our team had chosen to work in non-traditional jobs, we were promised political protection so our careers would not be damaged by the experience. Needless to say, that promise proved to be an utter lie. We recieved no protection and served as the butt of every corporate joke in the chemical division.
The psycho-manager worked non-stop to destroy team work, crush morale and destroy our ideas for novel business ventures. The waste of resources counting the time of the people who worked on the projects that went nowhere or were discontinued as well as cash expenditures on the projects amounted to about $20 million. All of the ventures failed completely. For this disasterous result, the mentally deranged clown we had as management was promoted. No, that is not a joke. It really happened. At least I can take some comfort that his manager, a person at the vice-presidential level, was finally fired for advocating the construction of a $520 million plant that was built, subsequently never used and currently sits idle. Thats right, this individual had a pivotal role in wasting half a billion dollars.
In the end everyone in the entrepreneurship group scattered to jobs in other sections of the company while I had trouble finding a new position since I was trained as a chemist, a field that is heavily over staffed throughout the economy. Currently, only 38% of chemists at my degree level are able to find work in their field. My experience as a business manager did not count since I had not worked in any of the main stream product lines and I did not have my MBA completed. After being told that a personal lay off had been arranged, I scrambled to secure a position on the oil side of the house by considerably inflating my familiarity with oil field technology. I did have the pleasure of explaining to my former boss all of his short comings mental, moral and genetic the day before I left.
After that experience, which lasted three years, I found myself utterly contemptous of the entire organization as well as totally embittered. They lied to me in more ways than I can adequately enumerate. The jobs are utterly purposeless and completely without meaning. The projects go nowhere, leaving the scientists and engineers feeling powerless, completely fustrated and depressed.
I have spent the majority of the previous three years while nominally working a research position on the oil side of the house studying to complete an MBA program, reviewing for the August, 2004 MCAT and then going to medical school interviews without using too many official vacation days. Thus far this year, I have performed about two weeks worth of work. My goal for the remainder of the year is do no more than one additional week worth of work prior to check out. I do not care any more. I wish they would offer me a layoff package. Given the usual deal offered to people the company is letting go, the package would allow me to collect an entire years worth of salary and skip the long boring commute to a job that I loathe until med school starts in August. I am just waiting for punch out day which for me is August 1st.