Insomnia (insomnia) wrote,


Here is a post (well, with minor modifications and clarifications) that I wrote to a dear online friend that I chatted with for years before I dragged her (kicking and screaming) into the realm of LiveJournal. It says a lot about my past and about some of my motivations, so I figured it belonged here too.

I can understand your anger over being laid off after so many years... I have been screwed over by numerous companies during the course of my professional life. I've been downsized, outsourced, and even fired because I knew too much...

The thing to remember is that as much as you loved your company, things really changed fundamentally a long time ago. When a company goes public, everything changes, even though the changes might not be obvious to all the people who work there.

When a company is pre-IPO, the responsibility of the management is kind of evenly divided between the investors, the employees, and the customers. That all changes when a company goes public. The responsibility of management shifts first and foremost to the company owners, the shareholders.

If management acts in a manner unfitting to the financial health of the company (such as not doing layoffs to boost stock prices and profitability), management can be arrested, tried and put in jail. (It has happened.) Management can and is also routinely let go on the least little suspicion of failing to increase profits / "shareholder value".

The problem with all of this, of course, is that it is horribly shortsighted. Companies lose a lot of hardworking, experienced, dedicated people who know what they're doing in exchange for a short blip of the stock going up, and maybe a bit of phony "savings" on a quarterly report, but in the long run, it will cost them.

It took me a long time of getting battered around and abused by publicly traded companies to be able to deal with things on my terms. I would fall into periods of depression between jobs, knowing that by going back to work, I would be throwing my self and my being into a situation where I would, most likely, get hurt again.

Eventually, it changed me. Remember a long, long time ago, before LJ, when I told you that I had become an ingrate, and you were both shocked and a bit dismayed with me? I guess the best explanation I could make is to say that all the previous companies I had worked with before becoming "an ingrate" were a lot like being trapped in abusive relationships. I got sh*t on by a procession of companies... I cared about them, while they viewed me as a commodity or a statistic. Well, it got to be too much. I figured that if I were going to be sh*t upon, I would make sure that I was also doing my share of the exploiting. In other words, I viewed companies like a prostitute might view a customer. I went out of my way to take them for all I could, essentially. Sometimes I enjoyed my work, sometimes I didn't, but either way, I liked the money. While I would argue that it's better than being a complete victim, I still wouldn't say that it is a very spiritually healthy way to live...

That's where I was at until LiveJournal, I guess. That is part of why I am willing to do so much for LiveJournal... because it isn't just another dotcom. It has the potential to be something far better, or so I would like to believe. Maybe I'm kidding myself, or maybe I am "playing God" with the rules of business, possibly to the detriment of LiveJournal's longterm profitability... but I guess I don't care about that. I don't care if it ever makes a billion dollars a year. I'm not saying that it wouldn't be nice... (we could build that town that Brad was talking about...) but I'm not willing to compromise either LiveJournal or my ideals to make it happen.

If I want anything for myself from LiveJournal in the distant future, it would be a salary where I would have the freedom to not have to prostitute myself to other companies. I want happiness, community, and a kind of relaxed simplicity in my life, where people and things are not just commodities, but have a real (spiritual?) value. I think LiveJournal can help me get there.

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