R21, my former place of employment's vibe, across the board, was to keep all their workers down, people were passed over for advancements while each department's VPs hired their friends children etc. Typical corporate bullshit. In this case, it was more about the talent free bosses in each department fearing being exposed.
This disgusting company made their workers feel as if they were from the Third World, basically telling these people they should be so grateful to be there. It was astonishing that so many of the four creative department's workers all graduated from prestigious art and fashion schools, FIT, RISD, Cooper Union, Pratt, Parsons and The School of Visual Arts, yet were made to feel as if they were scrubbing toilets all day.
HR? They were nothing more than stooges for the bosses. The company was sued many times and paid off several workers through out-of-court settlements.
I left in 2002, some of the graphics people were making only $25,000 at that point. That was completely ridiculous, RISD graduates making $25,000?!!!
Working in an in-house art department is a lot different than ad agency work, there are no clients to meet, everything is in-house, most of us didn't make many connections while there, just with the vendors and resource companies we dealt with for accessories etc for the photo shoots. We later lost the vendor connections when we started on the Macs, we no longer had to deal with printers for the fonts or the stat houses who scanned the art for the layouts.
Due to the lack of connections, for some of my former colleagues, it was difficult to find work after leaving, but the environment was so toxic, and draining, most people got out before finding new jobs.
I still work in a creative field, but I'm self employed, there's no daily drama and other nonsense to deal with. I have four steady accounts. I actually feel retired because the work is not stressful.
The amount of slacking poseurs and psychotic back-stabbing nasty people in the fashion field is mind boggling, I had to get away or lose my mind.
I saw how it was burning out people who were still in their 20s, so I knew it was time to get out of that grind. Believe me, it's not all glamour, the fashion field is filled with sociopaths!