Wednesday, December 13, 2006


Every once in a while I am reminded why I decided to start my own small business with a couple of close friends and to never again work for a large corporation. This would be an example of a reminder:

About eight years ago the medium-size, West Coast-based company I worked for got bought out by a company in the Midwest. The company who bought us out had the idea of buying up literally dozens and dozens of different companies within our industry to create a national powerhouse. Their plan was to (albeit artificially) create the appearance of a huge sales juggernaut by taking the annual revenue of many individual companies and combining them into one big number. The hope, of course, was for that company to in turn get bought out at an inflated price by an even bigger company. As is the case with most corporate buyouts, things worked out real rosy for the various business owners who received millions of dollars to sell their individual companies and then got to stay on board in well-compensated upper-management positions. For the average employee however, things didn’t tend to work out quite as well.

Locally, our office merged with about four or five different companies who had previously been our competitors. With an overabundance of salespeople, if you were lucky enough to keep your job at all, the chances of being able to keep all of your good accounts were slim; the chances of having your geographical sales territory slashed in half was great.

The company decided to start having an annual sales conference for the entire nationwide sales staff - a sort of combination “Rah, Rah” session and trade show.

In anticipation of the first such event, which was to be held in Atlanta, all of the West Coast sales staff received an email from Nancy, the wife of one of the bought-out owners of our division, containing an attachment with two lyric sheets. In an attempt to demonstrate the boisterous team spirit and enthusiastic loyalty of the West Coast Sales Team, Nancy had taken it upon herself to write two songs for us to sing to the rest of the company at a big formal dinner/dance that was going to be held during the convention.

Unfortunately, the company who bought us out was known primarily by its four-letter acronym, making “YMCA” a logical melody to use along with her lyrics (complete with unique hand gestures representing each of the letters of our company’s name). The lyrics she came up with were beyond corny:

”No Rep, Does It All By Himself
It Takes Teamwork -
That’s the ---- Way”

The cheesy lyrics were just the beginning. Our lyric sheets contained explicit instructions of the exact point in the song where we were to venture out into the audience to recruit sales reps from other regions to join us on the dance floor, which was supposed to culminate in the entire company cheerfully singing and dancing together in unison.

I can see why Nancy was so giddy about this idea. After all, her husband had made something like 25 million on the merger. The rest of us weren’t exactly as excited. As evidenced by the fact only two other people joined her onstage for what turned out to be a truly awkward sight to behold (think of the worst, but completely earnest, karaoke performance you’ve ever seen). It went really bad. Bad enough that we didn’t get to hear the other song she had written, “Livin' the Projector Loca”. I’m totally not creative enough to have made that up.
<< List
Jewish Bloggers
Join >>
Weblog Commenting and Trackback by

< ? California Blogs # >
Powered by Blogger