Alumni? Alum-not!

Sometimes its too little done too late.

It will appear in your mailbox some time this week. A sweet word of congratulations on your promotion from a former employer. You are now, suddenly, very important; a person of influence or a gatekeeper to one. They will express their pride in your progress. Statements that the apple does not fall far from the tree will be casually but liberally thrown at you. You will be associated with the Firm. The Firm. The Almighty Firm.

About three weeks later, there will be a dinner or lunch with their management where you will be mined for information on your current organisation. There will be indirect and sometimes direct requests for support in helping the Firm secure a piece or pieces of business.

What will not be mentioned will be the experience you really had at the Firm. This will come later, during an alumni cocktail that you decide to attend. You will attend it as you would a reunion with a curiosity on who else made the cut. And it seems that several of your peers did make the people of influence list. The room will be full of people of influence; a perfect marketing opportunity for you all, but interestingly the conversations will serve as therapy sessions.

You’ll regale each other with so many shared memories. The repeated direct and indirect communication from the Firm that you were not good enough. The missed promotions. The long hours. Denied taxi requests. An extremely callous manager. The overworked under appreciated and, if you were honest, pitiable people that you were back then. The battle it was to leave the Firm. It seems the words good riddance escaped the lips of your superiors when several of you resigned. The manner in which your emails were monitored and intercepted once you resigned. The way several of you were frustrated out of the organisation. Things you can laugh at now but gave you ulcers and genuine despair back then. Your exit, like so many before and after you, was so brutal that you did not collect your final dues.

You will leave the cocktail in high spirits having shared stories and business cards with many of your peers. Your feedback on the event will be positive; it was a great cocktail except you hold back the word; therapeutic.

When the Firm name comes up at the next procurement meeting when you are considering service providers, you will remain quiet. You will realise that even if you wanted to recommend them, you wouldn’t know what to say and it is too late to do anything about it. Such a pity.

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