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Chapter 13. Sell, Sell, Sell! > The Return of Big Company Values

The Return of Big Company Values

Finally, people weren't the only road kill of the bubble. An incipient social revolution was a casualty as well. At the inception of the new economy, many people saw it as an opportunity to shake off the strict behavioral norms of large companies for a much more casual company culture. As new companies emerged, the search for a different kind of corporate culture became almost a crusade, but one which was dealt a perhaps fatal blow by the collapse of the bubble.

In the aftermath of the bubble, as the economy turned down and unemployment rose, old economy employers were not going to accept refugees from the dot-coms on any but the terms the employers found agreeable. “The young people coming to us now have a higher respect for big company values,” the senior vice president of one of America's largest firms told me in the summer of 2001. At the banks, casual attire began to be restricted, stock was less available, bonuses went down. At the great manufacturing and retail companies, young professionals were suddenly again seeking jobs in often hierarchical social structures in which they were expected to serve time-in-grade in order to slowly progress up a ladder of promotion.


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