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Work Horror Story


This isn’t so much a horror story, as it is the aftermath of one. It is completely true.

Right out of college, I was hired by a consulting firm where I met a guy named John, who would become a good friend of mine. The firm that hired us was known to pay its young employees well, and then to work them to the bone, often more than 70 and 80 hours in a single week.

Beyond the sheer workload, however, young associate consultants at the firm were treated like disposable machines. Sometimes, we would be asked to work throughout the night on a project, only to have it be discarded by our managers the next morning. Other times, we were simply ignored, or even told to be quiet during meetings because our input wasn’t valued.

I survived two long years at the firm, which was about average. John, however, endured six.

When he finally announced that he was leaving, one of the senior managers at the firm scheduled an exit interview with him. During that interview, the manager asked John the big question: “What could we have done to keep you here longer?”

John thought about it for a moment, and then responded, “Anything.”

The manager didn’t quite know what to say.