HSBC, are you Firing or are you Hiring?

Pain and pleasure with HSBC, the grand old dame.

Primary headline, front page, Financial Times “Companies & Markets” section, August 1: “HSBC set to axe 10,000 jobs.”

Primary headline, front page, Financial Times “Companies & Markets” section, August 2: “HSBC to hire 15,000 in growth markets.”

Ding dong ding dong, ding dong ding dong.

I bet some of my friends at HSBC are feeling a bit jittery now.

HSBC is rather inept at managing its external messaging isn’t it?

One moment firing, the next moment hiring.

Read the news in context you say?

Sure, I’ll read the darn thing in their entirety but it’s the headlines that scream for attention and it’s the headlines that get retained in people’s minds.

Nobody really wants to pour through your grandmother stories and the sordid details – headlines grab attention and if one day the venerable giant says it’s firing and the next it says it’s hiring the regular, “normal” reader is gonna think “this bank’s totally fucked up” or “aren’t they confused?” or “don’t they have a corporate coms department or media relations?”

Sure it’s any company’s prerogative to hire or to fire; that’s life isn’t it? If a company needs you it will even pay you a generous sign-on bonus to make sure you join them; and when your costs are too high they can always say with your salary they can easily hire three Indians to replace you and voilà, overnight, you’re out of a job. Yes, they can do this to you by just giving you one month’s notice despite your being a top performer for the last decade – especially when you have organizational leaders who won’t stick their necks out for you because they’re more interested in preserving their own jobs.

So listen up you worker bees: No job is worth dying for. Do your best, but do what is required of your job and a just little more – but no more. You have a life. Stop feeling guilty because you can’t always bend backwards for your company, stop feeling guilty because you can’t come back weekends because it’s your little girl’s birthday, stop feeling guilty because you can’t cancel that vacation because a project is in “crit sit” – trust me, loyalty is an irrelevant concept nowadays because most companies have stopped being loyal to you a long time ago.

And one more thing: with big corporations – like those “globally-integrated enterprises” whatever the fuck that means – nice guys finish last.

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