Despite seeing that in their quarterly reports and mission statements that they do not mention their “employees” in any capacity, I wanted to dig deeper.  Any successful company either knows or learns, that the employees in the company are stakeholders, as well as customers and vendors.  I looked to see a new mission statement, a vision for what plans they had to transcend the modern day constraints that they found themselves in.

I came across a headline that they will be “re-imaged” by 2020 and hired an outside design firm.  Yet, there were no details.  They also carried the following headlines and taglines with them:  “junk bonds”, “trouble”, “low rating”, and “lost”.  I mean they make you pay an annual fee to reward you the customer for their loyalty.  WTF?  Amazon does it but gives you free 2-day shipping and a library of content.  BBB gives you what, 20% off or a free pillow with the purchase of a $200 comforter set?  With their high prices, nothing there is a good deal in my mind.

The job descriptions were vague so I immediately thought that this is a new role, but they are taking business risks to survive, and I loved their boldness.  I got another email for the 2nd position and was thinking, “okay, now I am flattered.  I am being considered for both positions?”  I will be the CEO one day.

I read the Glassdoor reviews and it was a 3.2 star rating, higher than my previous employer.  The reviews seemed to be some disgruntled former employees maybe when they restructured if they ever restructured.  My career coach says never turn down an interview and go in with an open, positive mind.  So, that I did because you never know!

Being so excited, I went this past weekend to the store near my house.  The last time I was there, was 12.5 years ago.  It hasn’t changed.  Those beds are still big, clunky, and in the way.  The layout is the same.  The aisles are still cluttered and you cannot fit 2 people and a cart down them.  They can take those damn beds out and give a little breathing room.  Curtains are hanging with no rhyme or reason.  It is definitely beyond the modern day age.

I have been their demographic for about 16 years and they are missing me.  I get mailed coupons that go in the garbage because carrying a big honking postcard is so 2006.  It is funny because the CEO has been there for over 14 years and you can definitely tell that his feet have been planted and have not moved one step in all that time.

I went for my interview and was emailed to get there “a few minutes before 9:30 am because I had to fill out paperwork.  I arrived at 9:15 am and got checked in by security and got an Avery slap on the name badge saying 9:18 am.  Then they called the “recruiter” to make her aware I was there.

I was not acknowledged until 10:04 am and I even went up at 9:50 am asking the receptionist if the “recruiter” forgot about me.  I even went as far as emailing the “recruiter” saying I thought we agreed on 9:30.  The biggest sign of disrespect is not only being late but not keeping someone in the loop that you are running late.  It is a blatant disregard.

However, I kept my positive attitude and decided to observe the culture.  They do not even have lanyards, they have a plastic ID card similar to a drivers license that they have to take out of their pocket, wallet, or purse (payroll waste) and they walk past the security guard who sits just raising their arm showing their badge and walk past him.  I maybe heard 3 “good mornings” and 2 “hellos” through the chaotic bustle of non-stop entries.  One man was energetic waving his arms at the guard and the receptionist trying to liven their day.  It did not work.  I heard a lady asking if they ordered breakfast for the meeting (corporate greed-one of the deadly sins).  I also heard the receptionist confiding in another associate stating, “it’s crazy and it’s only getting worse.”

I did not see any smiles, I did not hear any laughs, and I did not witness any warmth or compassion.  All corporate robots walking in the front door, raising the badge to the guard, then breezing past going into a corridor.

My recruiter then ran and got me and I was rushed to “the directors'” office.  He has zero oomph and the corporate office was just as cluttered and crammed as their stores.  They even had pillows and blankets on the floor.  I couldn’t even imagine how 3 people could fit into his office.  My linen closet is bigger.

Since the “job description” was so vague, I had asked the “director” to describe it with more clarity and was told, “it is what you make it.”  Wow.  In that case, I am headed to Montego Bay and will be drinking Jamaican delights.

He kept asking me about graphics software and the job description had no mention of even a computer.  Did he read my resume at all?  No, he was not pro-active by any means.  Having zero interest in him or the interview, I asked what he thought about the company and how long he has been there for.  He told me for 3 months and the company is “good” with no energy, no happiness, and to not read the news because it is wrong.  Forbes is now “fake news” I guess in his small mind.

He did not even bother to look at either of my portfolios.  He lives a black and white, monochromatic life with a myopic vision.  Poor guy.

I then was rushed to my second interview with another “director” or “senior director” or “manager” and then she started asking me about budgets.  I stopped and said what is this position because he mentioned nothing about budgets.  They definitely described something different which made me realize that communication in the company is non-existent.  I also asked her opinion of the company and she said “it’s good” with the same robotic response as the corpse I had just left.

I then got shuffled to the lobby again and had to wait for the “recruiter”.  She ran out and started telling me that the next interviewer was sick.  I stopped her and said, “I appreciate the opportunity, but after being here for a little bit, I would never work for this company.  I just came from a company with no clear vision and I refuse to subject myself to that ever again.  I then blitzed out of there and needed to write about my experience to maybe knock some common sense into the organization or someone who is making a mistake by thinking of working there.

As many retailers “blame” Amazon and Walmart for their demise, I have to disagree.  You need the vision to have culture and this company, unfortunately, lacks both.  They have no horizontal or vertical communication, no vibrancy, and no touch with reality, especially virtual reality.  It is not 1975 anymore, people’s mindsets and behaviors are different now.

I do not strive for mediocrity, I strive for excellence.  The structure of that company is too top-heavy.  Too many VPs, Senior Directors, Directors, Managers, and no one knows what anyone else does or is doing.  I wish them well and hope they get their heads out of their ass.  I am not a stakeholder to them and now I know why.

UPDATE 5/26/18:

They see me and I wanted to call out some further research.
The CEO took a $500,000 pay cut this year.  How generous!
He is only going to make $16.4 million this year.
He also made $3.5 million last December selling stock that has since lost value.  If you research this, there was a lot of insider trading.

It makes you question their intentions and integrity.  Their culture and employees do not seem to be any concern to them.  With all of this executive income, the average pay for the employees is $17,324/year.

The CMO stepped down and is going to be an advisor pro-bono.  Yet, he is getting paid 3 years’ salary, which seems to be a minimum of $1.8 million/each year.  He is of retirement age, so why not enjoy the “golden years”?  His son is also trying to sell a beautiful mansion for $15 million.

Meanwhile, I have heard from many associates that only received a 20 cent/hour raise in the stores.

Is anyone else seeing this as selfish?  What do you even do with all of that money?  WOW!  There are CEOs who give portions of their salary to their employees.  Servant leaders, not selfish leaders.

Finally, it takes only one person to begin momentum for change.  No need to spends millions on McKinsey.  It takes one Mandela on a large, global scale, or in this case, one Melissa.

Take this information and make a change.  This is not ethically right.  This CEO has no concern for anyone, but himself.  In the past, you had conquered Linens N Things, now are you going to conquer yourself with change or collusion? Company Culture