Thursday, December 16, 2004

Corporate America, not always the DEVIL

After 5 years of working for a miserly major publishing company that shall go unnamed but that rhymes with HOW MOANS (and, yes, the employees there moaned. a lot. with good reason), I have to say that seeing the other side of the fence has been eye-opening. Not all corporate titans are completely evil, even when they're publicly traded! How Moans seemed to take joy in scrimping on or even taking away any little perk or convenience that may have served to make their employees happier, healthier, wealthier, or even just content. They seemed to take joy, in fact, in making employees' lives more DIFFICULT -- drawn out contract negotiations, forced slave marches to South Brunswick, etc.

Working for Time Inc. has been completely different. I know employees of the particular title I'm at have gripes about restructuring and salaries and the like, but one thing they will give it, is that there are PERKS. I don't know how much these perks cost the company, but I would venture to guess that these perks inspire loyalty in a way that How Moans just couldn't wrap its stupid, niggling head around.

For instance, Time Inc. publishes a whole bunch of magazines, like Real Simple, InStyle, Health, Entertainment Weekly, People, Time, Fortune, Money. They make all these magazines available FREE to their employees, and you can go down to big kiosks in the lobby and just take whichever ones you want if you don't have anything to read on the subway or the Stairmaster.

Here's another example. The other day I went down to the lobby ISO lunch, and there was a group of about 40 people singing Christmas carols -- yes, you people who think New York is craven, real ones, not just ones about Santa, ones about God, too -- in the lobby. All kinds of employees were milling around, singing along to the Christmas carols, and the whole lobby is crammed full of gorgeous garlands and silver balls and bells and Christmas trees and menorahs. It makes work seem like kind of a warm, happy place to be.

Meanwhile, across town at How Moans, the CEO and COOs of the company are probably dressed up like Scrooge and the Grinch, armed with bags of coal to pelt at employees who have gone out in search of a hot dog, since the company TOOK AWAY THE CORPORATE CAFETERIA even though there's nowhere to eat down there. Not that I'm bitter anymore, having just sated myself with a gourmet, *corporate-subsidized* lunch here in the grand old Time Life building.

How Moans, how I hate you. For Christmas, I hope you miss quarterly earnings projections, disappoint your precious, precious shareholders, and see your stock drop 30%.

Time Inc., for you this Christmas, I have nothing but warm fuzzies.

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