I’ve had this one sitting in my idea folder for a week and a half. Stanley Bing, who writes for Fortune magazine, and whose The Bing Blog has been a fixture on the Left-Handed Complement blogroll for as long as there’s been one, always has useful things to say about corporate life.
His observations are always bracing.
So it was with interest that I encountered his ode to big business:
Why I love big bad corporations
The Bing Blog | Friday, January 4, 2008 at 11:27 am
I watched all the victory speeches last night after the Iowa caucuses were done. Everybody had their own spin on why it was a good night for them, of course, and I’m not going to say much about that. We all know who did well and who didn’t. But one thing stood clear in all the speeches offered to the people of America as a branding statement for this new generation of political products: Everybody hates big bad corporations.
It was weird for me. It wasn’t that long ago that I would listen to people lathering up about big bad corporations and how they needed to be taken down a peg and go Huzzah like the rest of the gang. After 25 years in business, however, I find a different reaction bubbling up in my gut when I hear the rhetoric.
I feel bad for the big bad corporations.
Stanley, I work for a big bad corporation also, as do a few of my friends. Of course, in MUDGE’s particular circle, many of my oldest friends are attorneys, partners by now, actually, working in small to medium size firms; a lot of attorneys! One is even a federal judge! How is one of those a friend to one of me?
Many of my friends are consultants, or owners of small businesses, or psychologists or occupational therapists, or owners of small businesses employing psychologists or occupational therapists.
Actually, I am an oddity among my old friends. I actually work for a big bad corporation, NYSE listing, S&P 100 status and all. Stanley says,
I work for a big bad corporation. Most of my friends do too. We’re writers and lawyers and accountants and research people and editors and graphic artists and programmers and marketing and advertising folks and a lot of other things that are neither big nor bad. We do what we do. And if anything happened to our big bad corporations, we’d be SOL.
[Please click the link below for the complete article — but then please come on back!]
The Bing Blog Why I love big bad corporations «
I believe I have shared here a while ago that I didn’t start out loving big corporations. (Although, I searched the site but couldn’t find such a thought, so consider that you’re hearing it from MUDGE for the first time.) In fact, I would tell people that I was a small business guy.
In retrospect, this was defensive. As a credential-free individual, MUDGE did not believe himself to be conventional big corporation material. Probably wanted to be, which is where the defensive part comes in.
Worked for too many inadvertent non-profits, if you catch my drift: undercapitalized, too many competitors chasing the same customers’ manhole cover nickels, never enough in the bank to promptly pay the vendors, or much of a payroll.
As a kid, fresh(ly dropped) out of college, I spent a couple of years as a “senior” clerk in one of those very large companies, a manufacturing icon that long ago departed Chicago for cheaper (i.e., non-union) locales. I didn’t play well in that sandbox, but, after all, I was a kid.
After a few months at a computer trade school, I worked first for what was then called a service bureau, and now probably would be termed a computer consultant.
Wrote accounting, inventory and financial statement programs and the bureau ran them for medium sized companies who didn’t believe they could afford the mainframe computers then prevalent, nor their keepers. My employer was a small company that wanted to be a big one, but I was insulated from most of the bureaucratic (as it were) guff by a boss who was far more iconoclastic than I ever achieved, anywhere.
Moved from there after a couple of years (after all, that’s what we hotshot programmers did!) to work directly for another Chicago iconic company, embarked on a project decades ahead of its time.
Some day I’ll cite chapter and verse, but the short strokes are they canceled the expensive ($2Million in 1970 dollars) project that I’d hired onto (along with more than 40 others) and then they tried to channel this free spirit back into accounting programming.
Thus expelled from the mainstream, yr (justifiably) humble svt spent better than 25 years kicking around aforementioned inadvertent non-profits, mostly, until really bad times but a really really good attitude landed me in the lap of major corporate America once again.
12 years and another job change later (well, I really didn’t want to relocate to exurban New Jersey), I like it here. Mr. Bing has got it right. Big corporations employee lots of people; they support their communities; their research achieves the critical mass necessary to assure that they will be around for the long haul.
Yeah, the bureaucratic guff is there. Most of it I take; some I push back, carefully. But let’s face it: many of my rough edges, by no means all, have been worn smooth by the years, so I have figured out how to handle guff, and guffers.
And for now, I am tolerated. There’s always next week’s crisis, but, in a recession, I think I like being under a big umbrella.
Stanley Bing, as usual, got it right.
It’s it for now. Thanks,