Sunday, April 28, 2013

Corporate grinder

Does the end justify our means?

Something I am upset about - a friend working at a bank is being mistreated, since her relative has a credit problem. She is not a guarantor in any formal way, so the reason the bank is harassing her is simple - she is easier to reach. She can be threatened "measures", such as no bonus or even being fired, so it is now her job to invoke her relative's enthusiasm towards returning the bank its beloved money.

The bank policy may assume that she is "theirs", so they can use this resource to achieve the corporate goals. Someone who's worked for the bank for some years, stayed the late hours and some all-nighters, to get yet another project done by the date in someone's calendar, she is one they can rely on. She is indeed theirs, as she calls the bank hers.

Die Hard - an unmistakable metaphor of a dedicated office worker, getting themselves under fire over and over so that everyone feels better. Getting a pat on the back and some scolding for being always tired.



That's what I find truly disturbing. What does "ours" mean, really? What does it mean in your workplace, what kind of atmosphere, attitude, relationship do you create, with your peers or subordinates?

I see how using "your" people to the fullest can be efficient, time and money-wise. You employ every tool at your disposal to reach a goal.

Doesn't it contradict the idea of watching after your own, though, creating the best environment for them, rewarding their loyalty and dedication? Or is that idea long dead, with cheap replacements waiting within an army of HRs' reach? Aren't we creating a vicious circle of having not to rely on people, since people are leaving often, since we don't rely on them enough?

Too naive, true. There are times when you ask your team to go the extra mile. Sometimes delivering on time actually matters - even at the cost of some stress. Especially in the highly competitive (ruthless!) world we live in.

Yet this should only be possible if there is a proper mutual benefit for both the company and the worker. You can't expect an employee to be "yours" if you don't treat her with due respect and care.

Any other way is unethical and irresponsible.

Perhaps such attitude is possible to achieve even in bigger companies, within your team, or whatever part of the company you have an influence over? If you do, won't you feel better going home after a hard day's work? Don't we all want happiness and satisfaction in our lives? (money being just one of the possible means to get it - and not the best one of the lot, to be honest)

Something to think about, as our decisions have consequences, not just the immediate outcome.

Be careful out there, it is a mad world!

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