This is ONE OF 3 responses to VC 23 John 7 ("LOSERS!! LOSERS!!")...
I guess I can't join your "little" group. I am not over-educated for my position and I am doing just what I was trained to do. I don't believe financial compensation should be a factor for this little club. Financial compensation is based on the market - not on what you believe you are worth. It reminds me of using IQ as a measure of "intelligence". Job satisfaction is actually the main concern here, isn't that so?
As a matter of fact, I can't say I would ever have been a candidate. As a college student, I flipped burgers at a ski resort - I HAD no other marketable skills. A couple of semesters of biology or computers does not a biologist or computer make. I also could not give more than my weekends for the work, so I certainly would never rise to "head flipper".
Even after earning my BA (in the wonderfully useful / employable area of molecular biology), I still had no "skills". I learned to be a dental assistant. I was paid more than I ever had been AND I learned some skills that have helped me ever since.
Having shelves of books or afternoon siestas would have been great with me, but I can tell you if that had been available, no one would have gotten a burger at lunch or their teeth cleaned!
How would you like your grocery bag person taking a siesta or reading the "Zen of Bagging" when you were in a hurry to get your groceries home? The work places of "menial" labor are well-designed to produce exactly what they are suppose to! If I want a cage clean for a recovering surgical case, I want it done! I don't want some "over-educated" help telling me the benefits of a kiln or worse, leaving me to spend MY valuable time cleaning the damn cage!
I have lives to save and cases to research - I want the others to do the JOBS we hired them for! AND I want them there ON-TIME! Should a client have an emergency and our hours are posted as 8-6, then by-god some stupid little "over-educated" vet assistant had better be there to help that 8:01 AM emergency! By the way, we start at $6.00/hour for "cage cleaners" if any of you are interested .
If you find your "jobs" boring and stifling, FIND ANOTHER JOB and leave the menial tasks to people who NEED them (ie, people with little or no skills - and believe me there are lots of those people or the deparate ones needing money anyway possible) OR plan to meditate your way through the work in order to do your TRUE calling after hours.
I believe that truly intelligent or creative people can design even menial tasks/jobs into exciting procedures AND possibly even contribute to the good of the company. Let's try getting day care, commuting groups, ergonomic work stations introduced BEFORE the "libraries, kilns, or siestas". Remember, you have a "contract" with your employer. The employer agrees to pay you at defined intervals and YOU agree to produce the work you were hired to do. If you don't like the way your job is done-redesign it! Can you make the work more efficient? Can you contribute SOMETHING that will increase the value of your employer's product. Without increased value of the product, you will never get "raises" or other more desparately needed services (remember the day care, or perhaps paid parenting-leave for BOTH parents). Don't forget, the company's "clients" are not only the outside consumer but also your fellow workers.
Why should anyone design a "working environment that allows intelligent people to get the job done without going crazy"? If you are working at the wrong job, GET OUT! You will find that if you are intelligent enough to design your own business or "rise" in the corporate structure, you will have that stimulating work environment. If you are doing menial tasks or work that you did not train for and you don't like it, GET OUT! You are a hazard to your employer AND fellow employees. One complainer about the work conditions or upper management, demoralizes everyone, even those who actually enjoy their jobs. If for whatever reasons you can't leave (money), then redirect your energy to increasing the productivity of your employer. Your employer LOVES the bottom line.
I don't know why one would want their place of employment to look like some country club. Even I want to go home after I work my hours. No matter how I decorate my little office or am given control over my work, I still want to go home! At home I am "complete" control of my time. I can do nothing or write my book chapters. At work, we must function as a group. I don't want to work with someone who smokes or quotes the bible to me all day. We all must make some sacrifices in order to work together. It is not appropriate to bring your "home" person to work and impose it on everyone. Some people don't like libraries, they may wish for loud rap music with which to work by. How are you going to make the work environment compatible to every intelligent worker?
Middle management is not as evil and no-brainer as you described them. I wouldn't bad-mouth them until you do their job. They must manage people (like you snobby "over-educated" sorts that stop at nothing to make sure they know you think they are petty tyrants) AND answer to the employers needs. It is not easy. I would suggest trying to meet their requirements and then approach them (WITHOUT that stupid chip-on-your shoulder) with your ideas for improving the workplace. Things that appear to be happening just because "it has always been that way" may have a real reason. You are looking at your own myoptic little part of the work force. Discuss it with them and give them the respect they deserve. You may find yourself as a middle management one day if you don't watch out!
By the way, who says a PhD is overqualified to flip burgers? I would view them as a work hazard-someone who would end up costing the company through a workmens comp claim or be so slow trying to perfect something that works! That PhD is in the wrong field! Why is he/she trying to compete with the easily trained and fully compentant high school student? The PhD is NOT overqualified, it is doing the WRONG calling! Also, that polyglot bagperson, could be just what a grocery store in an multi-ethnic area needs! What a valuable person! When you ask for help in a grocery store, who do you ask? A bagperson! That bagperson would get to use all those language skills AND provide a direct customer service! Maybe, if that bagperson were "intelligent" enough, he/she would set-up a training program for other extremely helpful bagpeople. That store would be very customer-friendly and thereby increase its sales. Pretty good deal and the start of a successful bagperson career!
Maybe John should design a program that would do all those little meaningless things that Janine does at Pac Bell. If they are that mindless, surely a computer can do them! Janine can then start a retraining school for formerly employed Pac Bellers. Or John could design a program to do his former Kelly girl job. There are computers that can understand voice commands - why not simple grammar or spelling checks? If you are that bored or underutilized, make your "hobby" earn money! Maybe you could start a job placement/matching company for your Losers club. Enjoy what you are given and if it is really that awful - GET OUT AND/OR CHANGE IT!