Having worked in a few of the big companies such as AT&T, Johnson & Johnson, JC Penney, I was exposed to corporate culture for most of my working life.
If you’ve never worked inside a large corporation, good for you. 🙂 Actually there are good corporate environments, just as there are terrible ones. It all depends.
But one thing I learned over the years is that there are common denominators in corporate life, and they inspired me to create Novacorp Gallactic, Incorporated for the Hathor Legacy universe.
In that universe, the planet Hathor is the corporate HQ for a corporation that controls several solar systems in our galaxy. According to the history, Hathor was discovered in the year 2234. (See Part 1 and my post for the SFRB blog hop for more info!)
After its discovery and subsequent terraforming, settlers from Earth were selected to colonize the planet. Unfortunately after their arrival, a disease spread through the population, ultimately giving rise to the Guardians.
Hathor probably would’ve been abandoned after such a devastating event, but the planet had valuable resources, such as crystals and other precious gems, some of which were being used as power sources.
So, after the disease passed and other companies began arriving and staking their claims, Novacorp executives realized that they’d like to own all of the resources. In order to do that, they had to control the planet. This is what led to the Corporate Wars, (which is referenced in my upcoming book, Hathor Legacy: Burn). Instead of corporate takeovers and fights in the boardroom, these fights involve troops.
As I mentioned, Novacorp’s corporate culture is based on the environments I came to know in my work history. Here are some points that influenced my worldbuilding:
Emphasis on the collective and not the individual – corporate is great for emphasizing teamwork, over individual desires. There’s constant pressure to conform to the culture and not be an outlier. Working together for the good of the company is supposed to outweigh individual ambition (though that’s not always the case in the real world or on Hathor).
Rewards based on a hierarchy – the people at the top get most of the perks, and the Novacorp senior managers get most of the spoils. They wear brown suits to differentiate them from the regular corporate workers who wear grey suits.
In most of the corporations I worked in, the “workers” were in cubes, with the size (and sometimes the color) indicating the employee’s level. Managers were usually in offices (or in larger cubes) and the size was based on how high the manager was in the hierarchy. If you had an office with a window, you were very special! A corner office (more windows and more floor space) meant you were on the fast track.
Established pecking order & lots of bureaucracy – the heroine, Nadira is the most powerful Guardian, so her position is higher than most Guardians. She reports to the Sentry Leader, a corporate manager who, in turn, reports to the company senior managers.
Novacorp executives are the elite of the planet. They only answer to the Novacorp board of directors. The thing is, there are so many levels of senior managers that no one is really sure who they are!
The company provides everything – when I was in corporate, there was a tendency to get very comfortable. Why not? With benefits, subsidized cafeterias, discounts on company-made products, gyms, employee wellness programs, credit unions, etc., you had no reason to go outside the company for anything. It was easy to become a “company man” or woman without even trying.
Novacorp runs everything from education to retail to food production to the weather. Society is broken down into four main groups: the Novacorp employees, the wealthy business people and company executives, the Guardians, and the people who are native to Hathor (descendants from various waves of settlers) who also work for the company in some capacity or another.
In the Hathor Legacy universe, there is always tension between the all-powerful corporation and the powerful Guardians. That relationship impacts the lives of Nadira and Jonathan (the hero). Their mothers take drastic measures to fight back against the status quo, resulting in sacrifice and loss for both families.
I’ll share more about the Hathor Legacy universe in upcoming posts. So look out for them and the launch of Hathor Legacy: Burn, book two in the series, later this month!