Saturday, May 19, 2012

Corporate Snakes

The patio is circled in red.

I saw an ominous sign during my orientation week when I started out at GSK. It's hard to believe that just over 10 years ago I started employment at GSK. At the start, I was happy to be there and back in NC.

On the fourth day of orientation, I had lunch with the director of the department that I was assigned to. There were only 3 people that dined with us. The third person was a chemist like me except he was hired straight out of school.

The director seem like a nice enough guy on the surface. I don't remember much about that day or what was said. I do remember the director telling me that I'd find "more opportunities at GSK than at other companies." That was a goddamned lie. People at my level were treated like technicians or automatons: the children were to be seen and not heard. But that is not the point of this story.

The most distinct memory of that orientation lunch is what I saw. We dined on a patio outside the cafeteria. Towards the end of the meal, I looked over the director's shoulder and saw a 4-5ft black snake slithering across the patio.

I immediately thought "Oh shit, that is an ominous sign." It would have been crazy for me to leave that company then and there merely based on something similar to a ploy seen in a "B movie." However, maybe my life would have been better off had I left.

It turns out the snake-sighting was indeed ominous.

  • How was I supposed to know things wouldn't work out? 
  • How was I supposed to know my first boss would be an asshole who would undermine me when he went to breakfast with the senior scientists and talk shit about me then? 
  • How was I supposed to know that my co-workers on my first project would deliberately leave off a key aspect on the synthesis of a certain heterocycle resulting in me spinning my wheels for 2 months, leaving me to look incompetent?
  • How was I supposed to know my co-workers would be assholes? (Actually, I had a hunch about this one but failed to heed the hunch. During my interview, I saw more flags than at the U.N. except all of them were red. I wanted to be in NC so bad that my better judgment was clouded.)

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