Monday, May 17, 2010

The Never-Ending Reminder of Being Screwed

Once upon a time, in a land not long ago, there lived a company named SAIC.  And within it’s enormous grasp it held a tiny little company constructed of smoke and mirrors named AMSEC.  In this land where AMSEC once stood were seemingly noble men who wore suits of the finest quality and spoke of the highest esteem about ethics and integrity and the meaning of individual sacrifice and the “good of the team”.  They rewarded those that benefited the bottom line with bonuses, vested and unvested stock shares, and stock options.  And it was good.

Then the king of this little AMSEC kingdom decided it was time to cash in his royal chips and bend his employees over a bench and give them a sound fisting.

It went something like this…

In the months that followed his decision to divest of his own doings, it was decided to make a slight, but noticable shift from mostly cash to mostly unvested shares and options as the vehicle for rewarding employees for their performance.  Not long after, the dissolution of the company (to be split amongst the two parent companies) was announced.  Near the time of the actual disjoining, it was also announced that all unvested shares and options would be null and void.  In other words: “Thank you for your outstanding sacrifices for the good of our ability to live above average means, but now you may kindly go and fuck yourselves.”

In the same breath of this announcement, was included a release form we were “asked” (demanded) to sign, which agreed to the conditions and forfeited our rights to arbitrate or file legal or financial claims after the fact.  It was a classic double-or-nothing offer: Hold out and attempt to sue, but give up all claims on immediate pay-outs of vested shares, or bend over and take it like a sissy.

Most everyone bent over.  Only a small handful fought it, and while it was an admirable feat, it was unsuccessful in the end.  A symbolic win is still a win for them I suppose, but the dragon was unscathed and moved on.

So, I rounded up my scraps, licked my wounds and moved on.  I sold my vested shares and those which were partially vested above a minimum percentage were sold soon after they vested.  I asked again and again if this would empty and close my account and each time the fine Mellon folks said “Yes!”  Alas, it has not.

Every year, I get a sweet tax form for 1.0x shares and a letter asking me to vote by proxy on shareholder issues pending with the board of directors.  And every year I kindly ask them to take the pretty little voting form, roll it up in to a tight tube, dip it in hot tar, roll it in thumb tacks and shove in their ass a hundred times.  They don’t seem to get the message however.

So today I called and asked how to put a nail in the coffin of what was once my retirement plan.  SAIC called me and guided me to Mellon again.  Mellon asked 100 questions, told me the share I have is worth $17.0476 and that the sale fee is $20.00 USD.  Lovely.  Then they passed me back to SAIC where I was greeted with a recorded message saying they’re closed and to call back tomorrow.


“That’s all I have to say about that” – Forest Gump

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