You ain’t really family

You are now a high-level executive at a big multinational corporation.

Life is good.

Work is good.

You have worked for your company for 37 years, meandering – sometimes leaping – up the corporate ladder over the years.

Of course, there have been ups and downs during your tenure (such is life) but you have always been properly compensated and treated fairly.

You’ve made a lot of great friends as well.

You provide good value to your company and your company takes care of you.

There has never been enough reason for you to look for other opportunities. You’ve been headhunted, but nothing has been good enough for you.

Besides, you’re closing in on retirement.

In two years, you’ll be ready to pass the reins on to a strappin’ young lad eager to carry on your work.

Nearly 40 years of hard work, dedication, selflessness under your belt.

Ooooh, and say hello to that sweet, sweet pension.

You’ve almost made it, as they call it.


One afternoon, you get an email announcing the organizational changes being made in the next fiscal year.

It’s that time again: company re-org.

Standard practice, small changes mostly – happens every year.

Heck, you previously sat on the re-org committee and you’ve trained the current members, so you know the process really well – you’ve designed some of it.

Wow, has it really been a year since the last one?

Time really flies. It’s important that we enjoy it to the fullest.

You open the attachment to review the changes.


That’s weird – your name isn’t listed where it should be.

Someone else’s name is there.

Someone called Melvyn. Who’s Melvyn? Is this a guy or a girl?

What’s going on?

There must be some mistake, they probably put the wrong name there by accident.

Additionally, an entire section of your team isn’t even listed. Their names are nowhere to be found on this chart.

You shoot an email off to your manager, the VP, to point out the error.

His reply:


I'm sorry I didn't get the chance to discuss this with you before the changes were sent out.

I've been busy out of town and it has just slipped my mind.

Things have been happening very quickly on the board and we've had to make some tough decisions.

As you know, things have not been great this past year, and they decided to make some decisive changes to push us in the right direction before we get too far behind.

We've also had to make some cutbacks as our department is losing funding for some of our specialized teams.

They've decided to put Melvyn in charge as they feel he will better be able to adapt the company's image to the quickly changing customer demographics.

He also has a track record of improving internal synergy, and we need that now more than ever.

It's no doubt that you're the best person for this job right now, but passing the baton to him is going to be best in the long-term.

You and I are getting older anyway - it's almost time for us to retire anyway and pass on the reins to younger, more energetic hands.

I know you have helped many people succeed in their roles here, so I'm talking to the CEO about starting up an Executive Mentorship Program.

He's on board if you are - he'd like you to personally lead the EMP.

Let's talk when I get back next week. I'll put some time on the calendar.

Hope you are doing well.

PS: Melvyn is coming in on Friday, I hope you'll be able to meet with him.

Fucking Melvyn.

You’ve given 37 years of service to the company and they want to get rid of you just like that?

Mentorship program? That sounds like some dumb busywork.

Couldn’t even wait for you to finish your service on your own terms. Two years to go and they want to pull the plug early.

And that team of yours? What happened to them? Sounds like they’ve been let go.

But the worst thing is that you were notified through email. Your manager knew long ago but chose to let you find out through email.

What do you do?

How do you feel about this?

An obvious thing is happening: some people on the board want to put Melvyn in your position.


Not so obvious to you.

Maybe they think you haven’t been doing a good enough job.

Maybe someone wants to give their buddy Melvyn the position.

Maybe hiring Melvyn fills some diversity quota.

Doesn’t matter really – the gears have already turned and there’s little you can do about it.

The decisions were made because it was believed to be the best for the company.

  • The interests of the organization always come first.

But remember, organizations are run by people. So we could rephrase:

  • The interests of the majority stakeholders of the organization always come first.


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