Last week there was a massacre at Benevolent Dictator, Inc. It was the third slaughter in the past nine months. They try to give it pretty names. Headcount decrease. Attrition. Reduction in force. Redundancy. They all mean the same thing. You’re fired. Get out. They don’t dare call it a layoff. Calling it a layoff implies that they might have you back one day. None of these people will be back. They weren’t kidding around this time. They got rid of Executive Directors, Managing Directors and the groundlings who were unfortunate enough to work under them. You rarely see senior people go in such great numbers. In one instance, an entire investment vehicle was unplugged and the whole team was wiped out.
Back when I worked at Brand This!, these things were handled with a lot more aplomb than they are at Benevolent Dictators, Inc. At Brand This!, I was deemed redundant, but they gave me a five month notice, a fat severance check, access to outsourcing services and more recommendations that I knew what to do with. They gave me everything except a foot massage and an apology. Not so at Benevolent Dictators, Inc. It’s like an episode of The Sopranos. In the middle of a workday, someone will suddenly vanish. That’s it. No warning. No goodbye. Nothing. Nobody knows where they went and you never hear from them again. There’s still stuff on their desk, but when you come in the next day, the desk has been wiped clean. It’s like working in a morgue.
I feel fortunate that I survived the latest wave of firings. Despite the aforementioned tale of woe, I like the work very much and would prefer to stay but I have to be pragmatic, so I decided to carpet bomb Manhattan with my resume. I got a response almost immediately, interviewed last week and yesterday my headhunter called with a generous offer. I declined. It looked to be an insufferably boring job. It would have been the safe, dull choice. All I’ve ever made are safe, dull choices. I’m sick of it. I’m through with safe and dull, even if it means ruination.