Posted by: emjb | September 4, 2007

First day at GIC

…i.e., Giant Insurance Company (that you’ve heard of). After a day of orientation, these are my thoughts:

1. Why do CEOs with many millions in the bank insist on wearing toupees at all, much less highly-improbable, resembles-flattened-roadkill ones? I mean…they’re insanely rich. Who’s going to call them out for being bald? They could shave their heads and polish them silver if they wanted…no one would say boo. Mystifying.

2. Have no new incidental-music riffs been written for corporate videos in 20 years? The video was new, but I’ve been hearing that lite-jazz KrappenMusik in every bank and airport since I was a teenager. Starving musicians perish in the streets, but no one can ask them to write some simple guitar riffs or keyboard melodies?

3. I had forgotten how it felt to be absorbed into a truly humongous corporation. People work here all their working lives, meet their spouses here, get their kids jobs here. The have a credit union, an in-house law office you can use for wills, etc., and some pretty sweet benefits. They still have a pension plan! There’s a gigantic cafeteria with more menu items than your average restaurant, so you never have to leave for lunch. And of course, two full days of training for new employees. Knowing what I do about the rest of the corporate world, which tends to have you fill out your tax forms, drop you at a desk, and say “good luck,” it’s strange and kind of endearing. I rant about work/life balance all the time; this is the old-fashioned solution, which is making work a sort of family-substitute, or like a college; you go home to visit, but all your daily needs get met there, if you want them to.

4. It feels both nice and a little weird to realize how much they care about employees being healthy. We got our own pedometers, invitations to join one of the in-house Weight Watchers groups, a discount at the local gym, and an absolutely serious lecture on ergonomics that included the first time ever someone has shown me how to work all the knobs and levers on an office chair. There are cash reimbursements for things like running shoes and exercise equipment if you join one program. All awesome, yes? Except that you can’t help thinking, “They want me to be healthy because they’re an insurance company and they don’t want to spend any money on my hospital bills.” It’s like when your Mom fusses at you to get a good education; you know she cares, but you also know she doesn’t want you living in her basement and working at the Sack n’ Go.

Tomorrow: HIPAA training. Which I promise not to bore you with.

Also, I surfed a few job sites just for giggles, and saw the place I worked for last week was advertising for the position they had hinted they might consider me for. I’m so glad they never made me an offer before I realized what a crazy bin that place was. Godspeed to whatever poor soul they manage to rope in to it.



  1. I used to be a healthcare journalist and covered GICs. I wonder which one you are at. Could it be the one that begins with PPO and ends in One? I once worked at a giant pharmacy benefits management company in New Jersey, and the atmosphere sounds similar. The company, that rhymes with Bedco, was at the time a subsidiary of the drug company that rhymes with Berk. Anyway, “the campus” held 16,000 employees, had an enormous cafeteria, and was a maze of cubes and corporate culture. The pay was stellar, the benefits good (it even had an on-site daycare!!), but it was what it was: CORPORATE AMERICA with all caps.

  2. hey, beautiful mama! i took your advice – only i’m working with a sad, sad program that doesn’t allow me to get too fancy. there’s no HTML option so i can fix stuff! that’s how bad it is..because i’m too cheap to hire another designer and too cheap for frontpage. yep, that’s me. cheap.

    whaddya think? please keep the comments comin!

    i hope that damn GIC covers homebirth midwives! damn them!


  3. Nope Micaela, that ain’t them. On site daycare would however ROCK. I don’t know if you can get that anywhere in Texas. If you could…I might move there.

    Pamela, I know how it is. I would like to modify the template on this blog but haven’t the foggiest idea how. And GIC has about 5 midwives they cover for ALL of Texas, mostly in small towns, none in my area. I think they’re all CNMs so quite possibly don’t do homebirths, even though they’re legal here.

    Working inside this business is weird, being the single-payer, universal-coverage radical that I am.

  4. I totally support single-payer, universal-coverage, I consider that rational, not radical!
    and yes, on-site daycare would just about make me the most loyal employee ever. I notice it did make workers stay when I worked at Bedco, which does have that. I remember one conversation in particular with a woman who was hearing impaired and did all of the cold fusion web stuff for us: “You know I’ve gotten better job offers in terms of pay, but they don’t beat being able to go visit my child on my breaks and lunch hour and having him near me.”
    Listen to that, large employers!

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