I’m still realizing that I chose my current job according to a single criterion which was not a good idea. I reacted so emotionally to the corruption and collapse of my former employer, Arthur Andersen, that my job search really only had one focus: a business that had no unethical practices that might get it into legal trouble. Since it’s almost impossible for any large corporation to have absolutely no one engaging in unethical practices, I logically ended up at the one small (10-person staff) business that offered me a job.
It’s only now that I see how completely I sacrificed every other quality that’s important to me in a workplace, just to go where there was the least probability of illegalities. I gave up the large size I knew I loved at Andersen, I gave up the support and supervision that was so important to me, and I gave up the feeling of community that was critical to my happiness there. I sacrificed it all, I sacrificed everything that made going to work enjoyable to me, just to avoid another melt-down and forced layoff. Just to avoid another business collapse and dissolution of a staff of people who loved our jobs.
How many former Arthur Andersen employees today are at jobs that don’t begin to measure up to their experience at Andersen? How many of us still miss the people and positions we were forced to leave? How many of us still dream of a similar job at a similar company but doubt that it exists?
I only worked at Arthur Andersen for 14 months and yet its disappearance has left an unfilled hole in my life. When I was laid off in April 2002, all I wanted was to shelter myself in a company that would never be brought up on charges like that. And here I am in a company that’s safe, principled, ethical and legal in all its dealings. But I’m not happy. I need community. I need support. I need to get out of here.