The karma of disorganized workplaces

Having to leave my job after just a couple months earlier this summer because of my health was pretty traumatic for me. After all, I had finally achieved what had always been my goal: getting a full-time writing job.

Giving all that up, especially so soon after I had gotten it, was devastating. I’m still trying to figure out what comes next for me.

Yet life sometimes has a delicious twist of irony after all. I already had an inside scoop that led me to believe this would be happening, but it was officially leaked today that the company I worked for is being bought out by its largest competitor. The expected completion date for the transition is about June of next year, which means that I would have only been able to hold that job for a year at most anyway.

For some reason, that makes me feel a lot better about the fact that it didn’t work out. It was a very young and inexperienced team so I guess it’s still good experience for them. Yet there’s no question that the marketing department sucked (as measured by the success of their campaigns or lack thereof) and it makes me feel a little giddy that apparently they aren’t going to get to continue sucking indefinitely.

But I even asked in the interview process about the fact that they were then owned by a larger health corporation (TeamHealth) and if it was redundant to have a marketing department here when TeamHealth already had a marketing department of its own. I was told there was indeed a need for a separate marketing department here, though I honestly could never see why.

In my exit interview with HR, one of the things I mentioned was that the lack of a corporate style guide was an example of disorganization that sometimes made it hard to do my job. My manager had told me that my peer hadn’t had time to come up with a style guide yet but their intended corporate “voice” was that of the “fun uncle.” (How could anyone think “fun uncle” was an appropriate corporate voice for a medical scribe company, staffed by med students?) The HR rep showed me that we indeed had a style guide already, contrary to what my peer and manager had told me — and the style guide was the one for TeamHealth. We weren’t supposed to be making up our own.

This ain’t my first rodeo, as they say, and I could see the redundancy on the wall from my initial interview. Now that TeamHealth has sold the local subsidiary office I worked for to its largest competitor, they say they will be keeping “most” of the jobs.

But having been through several corporate restructuring processes before, I know that what they say now does not necessarily equal how it actually will be. Especially because the reassurance is coming from the outgoing parent company. What the new parent company will actually do counts more. One lay-off I went through almost 20 years ago was when the media company I worked for was sold to Tribune Media. At first we were told we’d all get to keep our jobs, but in the end they completely closed the office.

I know my former coworkers in the marketing department get Google alerts for the keyword “scribe”, and it highly amuses me to know they’ll soon be seeing news articles about how they’ve been acquired by Scribe America, their biggest competitor they were always trying to beat. (How’s that “fun uncle” corporate voice working for ya now?)

There’s a question about which staff they’ll decide are essential and they may indeed keep the local office open (although I honestly don’t see how that could make financial sense, given the structure of the industry.) The local subsidiary office I worked in was heavily overstaffed and bloated. If I could see that, surely they can as well.

I do care about and have compassion for the fact that several people may lose their jobs. It actually kind of freaks me out a little because I fear we’re entering a less stable era in the economy. This area has a lot more jobs than where we were in Michigan, but layoffs are always scary for everybody. And especially me because the ones we experienced in Michigan were so long-lasting.

But long story short, I’m pretty certain that the marketing department I worked in will get the axe by the time the transition is completed. I also wouldn’t be surprised if they’re among the first departments to be cut, just because what they’re doing is so nonessential to the business. Most of our marketing efforts had a similar number of page views and hits as this blog. (I’m not even joking. I’ve mentioned before about how few hits I get here.)

Obviously since our company was the smaller one in the industry by a large margin, the competitor who bought us already has a much more successful marketing team in place. I cannot see any way in which they’ll decide that they need a separate marketing office here, though they may offer the marketing employees the chance to move to the new headquarters location in Florida.

What that means is that my instincts were right all along when I thought the entire office largely seemed redundant, knowing that we were a subsidiary of a much larger company. The marketing department’s efforts in particular seemed highly disorganized and amateurish compared to other corporate marketing campaigns I’ve worked on in the past as a freelancer.

The writing was clearly on the wall to me from my first day there. It seemed like just a matter of time until other people realized it, too. That day just came much sooner than I could have imagined.

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