Monday, April 25, 2016

An Interview with a Scientology Owned Corporation

A woman we'll call Esme recently went to a job interview with a local software company in Clearwater.

For those of you who aren't in the know, if you are interviewing in the Tampa Bay Area, you may eventually run across a Scientologist-owned company. They all have the same traits: They generally operate out of cheap, run down offices. They all have charts all over the walls of their conference room. And they all use the Scientology approved management system.

The Scientologists had a guru, a former SciFi author who believed himself to be a master of, among other things, management.

I have nothing against L. Ron Hubbard's writing skills, having enjoyed "Old Doc Methuselah" when I was a kid. He was creative and obviously persuasive, or he couldn't have created the religion that he did. It was successful for a while, although many reports indicate it is slowly crumbling due to the continued disenfranchisement of its followers, such as Leah Remini.

In his zeal to dominate his followers entirely, LRH (as his devotees call him) created a business management system that he insisted they use not simply in their personal lives but in their professional ones as well. The problem is that he had no degrees in this field, and no personal knowledge of it. His system was outdated even when he conceived it, and depends upon both micromanagement and his poor understanding of how a business should operate. If you are a drone, this is effective. But if you are creative, or think outside the box, or simply want to contribute more to an organization than rote subservience, this system is not effective.

Not knowing that this was a Scientology dominated company, Esme went to the interview. She had been told she was going to take an IQ and personality test. She found that odd, as most of those tests are done online now, but she thought little of it.

The first thing that Esme noticed when she entered the building was that it was dank and dark. There was little lighting and the company obviously spent nothing on creature comforts. There was no attempt to appear palatable or even modern, despite the fact that they were a software company and not, say, a group of shut-ins. The carpet was stained in multiple places and obviously hadn't been cleaned in a very long time, possibly it had never been cleaned since it had been installed.

Esme walked up to the receptionist's desk to find it abandoned. In fact, the entire building appeared to be abandoned, as everyone was at lunch. It had an eerie feeling to it. However, someone meandered by, saw her, and explained that everyone was at lunch. She found it peculiar that everyone was gone at the same time, but she settled down and waited as people trickled back in.

Eventually Esme was claimed by the woman who'd initially contacted her. She was brought into the local conference room, which had an entire wall covered in charts that looked like EKG readings. She was handed a supposed personality test and was told it would take 30 minutes to complete. The test was proudly branded as "Master Tech." 

When Esme retells this, she starts by asking anyone who's lived in the Tampa Bay Area for a while: "If you see the word "Tech" on a test, what do you immediately think?" Most people answer "Scientology." Why? Because LRH was enamored with technology. He felt the best way to appeal to his followers was to appear as scientific and up-to-date as possible so the Scientologist vocabulary is peppered with the word "tech."

Esme blew through the personality test in a short amount of time. "It was so obvious even my poodle could have aced it," she says breezily. The questions included things like "I generally like to be by myself" or "I consider myself to be a people person" or even "I bite at and/or pick at my fingers." When Esme let her handler know she was finished, the handler expressed surprise and then gave her a timed IQ test.

Esme blew through that as well. "I've had serious IQ tests," she states. "They take some real thought. This was a test that was created by someone who really didn't know what they were doing." Again, her handler expressed surprise at how rapidly Esme conquered the test. 

After her handler left, Esme quietly googled "Master Tech" only to find her suspicions confirmed. And quickly glancing over the shoddy bookshelves in the dingy conference room, she saw many Scientology manuals. She googled the company and found out that they'd already been sued for both sexual discrimination and forced Scientology indoctrination conditional to continued employment.

After a short time, two men entered the room. Telling Esme that they had seen her test results and were very pleasantly surprised by them, they began to attempt to sell her on a glorified telemarketing job.

After they ran down, Esme then said "Thank you, gentlemen. May I now ask a couple of questions?" The men expressed enthusiastic interest in what she had to say. She began by asking what the base salary was. Then she said "Obviously you both are Scientologists. Let me start by saying that I'm not an SP."

The men, both startled, uneasily agreed and asked how she'd figured it out. They seemed to find it impressive that she knew what an SP was (Scientologist lingo for Suppressive Person, which is a designation for someone that a Scientologist is not allowed to even speak with. This includes immediate family members if they're designated as an SP).

She explained the wall charts and Scientology materials made it very apparent. Then she asked "Do you insist on using Hubbard's management system?" They said they did and asked her what she objected to. Being a management specialist, Esme truthfully said "I find his concepts severely outdated and only workable in certain situations. His micromanaging is stifling and doesn't allow creativity."

One of the men said he'd been brought into the organization specifically to make sure all of LRH's business model be institutionalized. He tried to explain that they'd gone back to the original materials and that was far superior than any modifications that had been made to the system since LRH had gone toes-up. He then asked what she specifically meant by creativity. She explained that she felt she would need to be creative in her sales pitches and, to his credit, he agreed that this was important.

But what Esme couldn't properly express was her knowledge (due to having been trapped before in a Scientologist-owned company) that it is a cruel and didactic system, run by petty dictators with incomplete knowledge. Where people skills and warmth are seen as unimportant. Where flogging employees and negative motivation were encouraged by LRH. Where constant, suffocating oversight is seen as the norm.

In the end they insisted that their particular interpretation of the Scientologist business model was somehow superior to whatever Esme had experienced in the past. They asked if she was offered a position there, would she agree to sign a waiver saying she understood they were using that system? Yes, Esme said, if it was truly as effective as they said, she'd have no problems with it. But she knew there would be problems and so did they.

She never heard from them again.


Canadian Sentinel said...

Sounds a lot like the folks I work for, though there's never been any indication that they're Scientologists.

Alan Naldrett said...

Ha! I like the description of the Scientology businesses she has seen. It sounds exactly like the San Francisco Org in the 1970s.

Saur♥Kraut said...

Thank you, Alan! Knowing your reputation, it's quite flattering to have you weigh in.

Saur♥Kraut said...

Thanks to you also, Canadian Sentinel. Knowing you personally, I am betting they're not Scientologists but merely inexperienced small business owners (the results are the same).