Sweet, bitter, sugary and salty stories. Welcome to my world, past and present.
Wednesday, January 27, 2010
The foreign investors pulled the plug, and all hell broke loose at the plush, high-rise corporate offices in Crystal City, VA. Button-downed and politically correct employees scrambled to clear out their desks.
In their frenzy, the Ivy League educated, well-connected staff began to loot whatever wasn’t nailed down: expensive wall art, executive custom chairs, and office equipment they could carry. I was suddenly and unexpectedly thrust into a corporate earthquake, and those around me seemed to lose their reason.
Equipment was angrily yanked from walls with outbreaks of enraged profanity while books and files were furiously stashed into boxes and leather briefcases…and somewhere the sound of a woman crying.
Chaos engulfed the well stated, appointed offices that overlooked the Potomac River. The transformation of respectable professionals to vandals and looters caught me completely offguard.
Pandemonium from former think-tank and government deputies seemed inconceivable, reduced to a lawlessness akin to Lord of the Flies and Heart of Darkness, a collapse of the established order.
Always composed, polite and distant, the power elite were out of control as their business went belly-up. The Washington facade cracked and crumbled as people panicked, propelled into survival mode, grabbing what they could as the apocalypse ensued.
Sophisticated Washingtonians who never seemed impressed or affected by anything became plundering members of a street gang in a matter of minutes as the rumor that the company was shutting its doors spread like wildfire throughout the glass-enclosed offices.
I fled, a refuge from madness, and escaped from the office chaos to the safety of my vehicle in the underground parking garage to emerge from another day of business in Washington.
Erana Leiken, principal of Tiger Marketing, is a marketing and PR consultant and freelance writer. She also teaches communication courses at the University of Phoenix and Web marketing and interactive content for the Art Institute of Phoenix.
Formerly an NBC reporter, magazine editor, and Web business writer, she is writing creative nonfiction and doing Web consulting. See www.tigermarketing.com.