Saturday, May 15, 2010

5/12/2010 Conglomerate Corporations

I became aware of the outside world in the 70’s, and as a child of that generation, I truly believed in mankind’s ability to change the world for the common good, and I believed that my generation was going to be the one to affect that change. Don’t get me wrong, I still believe we create our world and direct where it goes, but I am highly disappointed that on mass, we have created the society that we have now.

In the 70’s, people still worked their jobs for 30 years or more and retired with benefits from the corporations that they worked for. They could still be hired without a college degree and, with hard work and dedication, they could still make a living and look forward to a time when they would be allowed to rest.

Individuals built up companies in their garages, looked and planned for a future, and turned these same small companies into money making organizations. These entrepreneurs knew every aspect of their business because at some point or other, they had sat and worked this position. These individuals also knew all of the employees that worked for them. They knew the families of their employees, and watched their kids grow over the years. Everyone had a vested interest in seeing the company grow more and more each year, so not only did they have a future, but their children had one as well. They looked out to see where they were going and how they were going to fit in to the future economy in order to make their profit. They valued their independence and self sufficiency. We didn’t realize it yet, but we were in the midst of a golden era regarding entrepreneurships. We were still human beings, and not just a number.

Somewhere between there and now, conglomerate-type corporations of the world began to ‘gobble’ up these individually owned companies in order to diversify their investment. They wanted to mitigate the risk of having all their eggs in one basket, and this was seen as the way to protect the investment. So instead of being an expert in what they were doing with one basket, they gave up expertise for volume. They chose to buy 5 more baskets, and hire 5 managers to look after their interests, instead of putting that money back into the original company to update and keep ahead of the competition. Basically, that says to me that you have very little faith in your abilities to keep a company running and healthy. Hmmmm.

Instead of having knowledge and control of a product or service, they gave all that away. The passion of the original entrepreneur is lost, the passion to build something meaningful and productive from an idea or product. The passion is gone, and the bean counters rule, because it isn’t about common sense anymore, it’s just about the money. It’s about the next raise and the next bonus and the next promotion. No longer do we work for a company for 30 years to retire from it. Now the professionals of the world work for a company for 5 years average and move on. Since they are not going to be with the company for a lifetime, are they going to worry about the long term plan? They’ll set the goals and sit in boardrooms discussing it all, but do they really have an invested interest in what the company is doing 30 years down the road? No, they do not. They realize that they will not be there then, and they have to prove their worth to the current management in place (who will not last at their jobs for any length of time, either) by proving how they are saving the corporation money and improving processes constantly, and they have to do this today. Returns are to be grand and immediate. The level of greed that they are working with has high expectations of a hefty, quick return. If they don’t prove today that they are saving tons of money for the investors, they will be out of a job tomorrow, and they know it. They create and manipulate data for their spreadsheets and power point presentations that “prove” that they are really worth the money paid to them, and to keep for their portfolio when they are searching for their next position.

Gone are the days when the individual owner would use current profit to further the company in the next 10 or 20 years, knowing that this year’s profit would be weak because of that decision. Gone is the passion to provide and produce quality services and product, knowing all along that it will cost more to insure that quality. Gone are the days when the owner knows the name of your spouse and children, and has a vested interest in your level of stress and happiness.

Now you are just a number, and a number that costs (bottom line). It no longer matters that your spouse/child/parent is having medical difficulties. You will either fit into the mold provided, or you will be eliminated. It no longer matters that rising cost of living has affected your ability to subsist at all. You will either fit into the mold provided, or you will be eliminated. It doesn’t matter that you have been a loyal and true worker for years. They can find someone with less experience out there to do your job for less money. No matter that you know what you are doing, and how to get it done efficiently. You are perceived as a drain on the corporation, and not an asset. You will be eliminated.

We lack self esteem, because no matter what we do on the job, unless we can prove that we are saving the company our wages plus five other people’s wages (on a colorful and complicated spreadsheet), we have no worth, and we are a drain. We lack security because nothing that we do is good enough for management. No matter what we have done, they will continually ask for more. We lack faith as we see how other worker’s have been treated during times of individual turmoil and upheaval. We know that in today’s market, we are nothing.

Now, I’m not going to blame any political party or any elite group residing in the world today for this skewed existence. The world that we live in today was created by us…all of us. Because when you look at the basic tenets of these corporations, it is all about greed. They have to have immediate and substantial profits at every quarter – a year from now is too late! And that is what each and every one of us (who have been sucked in by this philosophy) has come to want as well. We want the large four bedroom home with the vaulted ceilings in the good neighborhood, and we want this within the year, not ten years down the road. We want all the amenities, the appliances, the cable tv attached to every tv set in the house. We feel we need the individual cell phones and laptop computers for every member of the household. And we want it now.

We don’t want to wait to save the money to avoid interest rates and monthly bills. We refuse to wait even a small amount of time to afford our wants. We want it now, and we’ll buy it all on credit. We don’t care that our future employment should never be a ‘given’, we don’t want to think of that. We just know that we want something, and we want it now. Kind of sounds like a child, huh?

Our greed and lack of foresight are the driving forces behind our society, and this is reflected in the way our society is set up. This is ‘acceptable’ to us, because it allows us to gratify our wishes fairly immediately with tons of items to make our lives more convenient. We do not, as a society, go ‘without’ today so that we can ‘have’ tomorrow. We do not consider the consequences of our decisions and actions today, to ensure a better tomorrow for our children and for the planet we live on. We want what we want and we want it now.

We are the conglomerate corporations, gobbling up as many items as we can right now, to stave off the insecurity we feel inside. We are the ones to devalue ourselves because we don’t own enough ‘bright and shiny’ things. No amount of money will ever be enough to keep us from being afraid from what tomorrow will bring. So we will raid and pillage today with no thought of tomorrow.

We are the disease. Our thoughts are ‘skewed’ and drive us to act without foresight. The society that we build is a reflection of who we are. We have to heal ourselves and our fears while considering the benefit to others and our world, in order for our society to reflect that change. We are responsible for the world and what we manifest in it, and we need to take the responsibility seriously.

The changes have to come from within each and everyone of us, before it can be reflected into the outer world. Are you willing to take that step?