Sakura-con has always been an agent of change since I started going 5 years ago. I never thought I’d be fired while attending one. Yet still, the call came just as I was sitting down to watch some anime music videos. Suffice to say, I was not in the mood to watch the pirates of “One Piece” dancing to “Ten thousand fists” anymore. I won’t divulge exactly who I worked for, that’s one professional courtesy I’ll afford them. However, it’s a job like many in the IT sector. Walking customers through the motions of this company’s essential doo-dad, and picking up the mess and making excuses for when your employers screw up. It was a larger company that came to Canada to take the benefit of our lower dollar. They promise employees the moon if they just work hard enough, then when the fourth quarter report comes up, out you go. And you. And you. And that guy who’s in the bathroom right now.
I don’t blame these companies at all for my situation. To call a corporation evil only blurs the truth about why people are in conflict with them. Corporations don’t turn into big scary organizations by being big scary organizations with boardrooms full of fat men smoking cigars and twirling their oily mustaches. No, they are so powerful *because* they are good. Their products are sound and homogeneous in quality. The system they provide opens doors for millions of people, doors that lead to families, friends, the stuff of life.
My problem in working for these companies is that I have been working in jobs that have been deskilled to the point that I am utterly replaceable, no matter what I bring to the job. The next step is going to require a different approach, but here are a few tips for folks out there who may want to avoid being canned over the phone like some cheesy highschool romance.
-If the company goes out of its way to tell you how great they are, rather than emphasizing the professionalism of your position, you may trouble.
-Watch out if the company is vague at any point on the criteria of your job. Ask questions diligently!
-If your company is hiring say, 100 people a month, it may be disguising a high turnover rate, which brings us to…
-High turnover rate! If at any point you hear about people leaving, keep your ears open for the details. It may be a premonition for your own situation.
-A company policy of apathy for the customer is definitely a warning sign. If your company screws up and leaves you to deal with the angry customers left behind, it’s a sure sign of your disposability.
It’s a harsh world in the private sector, where that last-minute term-paper laziness can translate into lost revenues and ruined lives. It was a mixed blessing that I was let go on my day off. True, I could have been at a funeral, or driving at the time of the news, for all they cared. Fortunately, I had my girlfriend by my side, all my friends, and a hotel room with a fully stocked bar.