Exxon exodus turns floating ‘cube’ into Internet meme

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HOUSTON, Oct 4 (Businesshala) – Exxon Mobil’s trophy US campus is becoming an Internet meme.

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The complex, sometimes visually stunning compared to Apple’s Ring and Alphabet’s Googleplex campuses, opened in 2014 as Exxon topped the global oil market. Its centerpiece is a giant cube that appears to float above the office and research facility.

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The Cube has become a symbol of a gruesome employee exodus and Exxon’s financial collapse. Hundreds of employees who departed this year have posted photos of it standing in front of it on social media on their last day of work, and versions have spread at Exxon facilities around the world.

A historic, $22.4 billion loss last year sparked the departure of thousands of employees. The cost cuts will reduce 14,000 jobs by the end of the year, and this year’s job review has drawn voluntary and forced departures – along with Cube’s social media postings.

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“You should scan social media and find all the people who are excited to join ExxonMobil,” Exxon spokesperson Casey Norton told Businesshala. He said the restructuring cuts ended last December and any positions opened this year because of performance-related dismissals could be refilled.

auld lang cine

“That picture will always remind me of the positive experiences I’ve had,” said Jason Crawford, Exxon’s former finance supervisor. He resigned after concluding that top management was unprepared for the challenges ahead and that Exxon’s “days of being a global leader are long behind them.”

The Cube was designed to showcase Axon’s engineering and technology prowess. A feat of engineering, this 385-acre campus has an open courtyard with floats and reflecting pools.

Officially called the Exxon Energy Center, it opened in 2014 at a time when the firm was at the top of the global oil and gas market. Oil was selling for $100 a barrel and Exxon’s market value, which is now about $258 billion, swelled to close to half a trillion dollars.

The building initially provided a symbol of Exxon’s high-tech ambitions for itself and then an attraction for talented engineers to come to high-tech companies. The campus has walkways that pass through the area, restaurants, a gym with trainers, and physics laboratories.

Hi-Tech Greed

Avery Smith, who posted a photo of himself in front of the Cube earlier this year, was one of those who were drawn to the complex. The 26-year-old data scientist worked at Exxon Mobil Research and Engineering and left last January to start Snow Data Science.

Exxon’s “rigorous culture” limited the projects it wanted to pursue and its pandemic work-from-home restrictions put it on. “I was a little stuck in my position and wanted to do bigger projects,” said Smith, opting to start his own venture.

The Cube represents the company at its best, said Smith and others, who have posted their Cube portraits.

“I was challenged to work with people from all over the world,” wrote engineer Margaret Webb, “to tackle some of the biggest problems the world faces today.”

Although she left Exxon in February “before the trend became popular,” Webb recently felt compelled to add her after seeing materiality from hundreds of colleagues.

“The biggest thing I take for granted is this – something needs to be done about how engineers consider the ethical, social and environmental impacts of their daily work,” he wrote.

a lego replica

Cube references now appear in Goodbye from Texas. An Axon scientist in Calgary, Alberta built a cube replica out of Legos for his goodbye image. A Buenos Aires, Argentina, finance supervisor snaps a photo from his prior trip.

“I don’t have a conventional energy cube picture,” said Krishnan Kumaran, 55, who took early retirement last month after 18 years at the company. His goodbyes included “a photograph of the (Exxon) building located in pastoral Clinton, New Jersey”, where he worked as a computational scientist.

Reporting by Gary McWilliams; Editing by Dan Grebler


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