Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Reverse Darwinism In The Business Place

There is a disturbing trend in corporate America. The fact that political correctness has sucked the life out of the decision makers and paved the way for a culture of rewarding mediocrity is just sickening. There is no greater example of this then my current yet nameless employer. Yet I remind any HR or other corporate lackeys, I am writing this on my own time, on my own computer and have never named my employer or fellow employees, so think carefully before you retaliate. That being said, on to today’s rant.

Corporate America, at least in memory, has always been built and advanced by those who were willing to take a chance, make a tough decision, or work a little harder then the next guy. I have only been with my current company for a little less then a year, but I count myself lucky to work with some of my team members. These are professional, dedicated people who take great pride in their job and know that, while we are all under-paid (a lot of that going around these days), there is no point in doing a job if your not doing your best.

I have spoke in the past about the fact that most companies try to get by on the absolute minimal staffing requirements while still doing the job, so I only mention it now to set the stage. Everyday I see the poison of political correctness seep into my workplace and the sad part is that the folks “in power” can’t see the forest for the trees as they say. The laziest, most technically inept and dishonest people continue to be either ignored by “The Man”, for fear of making a decision, or rewarded for their mediocrity with bullshit awards. But why you ask?

The answer is so blindingly simple it may shock you. The fact is that even in a Right-to-Work state such as Illinois or Arizona, management is usually so concerned about covering their ass i.e. saving their job, or trying to impress their bosses that the slackers get a free pass. It case you’re wondering, a right-to-work state is one where union membership can not be required for employment. Does not sound that bad eh? Well one unintended side effect is that anyone up to and including the CEO of a company can be fired at any time without cause. Ok, that does not sound bad either unless you’re a shitty employee. So in theory, it should be easy to get rid of bad employees but that is anything but the case. In fact the opposite is more often the case then not.

This post was partially inspired by a series of unfortunate events. For many months I have witnessed a blatant disregard for the most basic tenets of our corporate environment by a number of employee’s in my nearby workspace. One of the most heinous acts one can perpetrate upon co-workers in a call center is the downright evil act of call avoidance. Not only does it make the rest of the team work harder, which most will never complain about, but it marks the slacker as completely untrustworthy of any and all tasks for the remainder of his or her career. The whole point of a call center is to take calls, otherwise why have it?

I really don’t know what’s worse, the fact that this is tolerated by management or the fact that the team is always behind the eight ball since this person can never again be trusted to just do their job. In many ways the most disturbing facet of this invasion of political correctness is the sheer fact that the inaction by management simply destroys any morale or faith in each other the team might have. The fact is that in a call center, often your best resource is the guy or gal working next to you. Nobody has seen everything but chances are somebody has seen something.

Now even with a “slacker” on their team, the best techs will rise above and continue to excel. That is the “Catch 22” is it not? The better a team does, the more a slacker’s lack of performance is hidden, the better the manager looks to his or her supervisors, the more any problems are kept from view. But even the best teams are worn down over time and eventually their performance sinks to match the slacker’s and when that happens, it’s a lose-lose situation for everyone.

So here I stand on the cusp of a descent into mediocrity. In the end, management might yet do the right thing and remove the cancer that grows among us, if for no other reason but to save their pathetic asses. Some how I doubt it and I take great pride in my optimistic outlook, mainly due to my faith in God and that things always work out for the better. Naiveté you say, maybe but it sure beats the opposite point of view. I have always thought of myself as an above average tech, not because of any special training I have had or any books I have read but because I have a thirst for knowledge and are quick to learn. What’s the saying? Adapt, Overcome, Exceed, that would about sum up my attitude. I had always been taught growing up that no matter the job you had, you had damn well strive to be the best at it that you could be. And with that, I take my leave of you until next time dear readers, later…………….

No comments: