This is ONE OF 4 responses to VC 24 John 3 ("Love it or Leave it")...
I like your point-by-point approach. It would seem to make this easier. I am not "flaming on". I don't need to "get" fired-up on the subject.
1) If you aren't being treated like a human being in the work place, it is not the management or employer's fault. Next time your supervisor comes around, look at her/him straight in the eye and tell them to have a great day or ask them how they are doing.
I can't imagine that you find every employer treating "their" people like property. That went out with slavery. If your employer or supervisor is an a-hole, that's their personal problem! If it is worth the effort to you, try to bring out their "humaness". If you stop acting like a possession and insist they see you as a person, I dare say they will!
An example is with Janine's boss. Complaining because someone's desk is too neat!!!? Let's use our brains and our psychology 101 classes. That person has a problem (and NOT necessarily with Janine!) and she is taking it out on her. This is an interpersonal difficulty, not a sign that the management hates its employees. Perhaps Janine would be so kind as to investigate what is her boss's problem for us.
Next time you see one of those "bag boys", give him/her a little courtesy. You made it sound like you just stare at them like they were garbage! Ask them how they are doing. Those people's largest contact is with the public. If they act like you describe, it is because of that public, NOT the workplace! If you want to be treated as a human, then I suggest you start treating all those managers/employers and bag people as human. You are the only one you can really change!
Every management tape and seminar I have been exposed to lately stress the importance of customer relationships and they also mean your customers inside the workplace. Other departments and your co-workers are your customers, too! This is NOT NEW. These ideas have been IN PRINT over ten years (read "The One Minute Manager" by Ken Blanchard). Many companies use these management programs.
2) I guess I will need to have Yumi evaluate my own performance here. It would be great if I only had to experience cage cleaning ONCE a year, just for some humble pie. I do things like that DAILY! We are far from the best managed business. Many times we do not have enough help, so I have no choice. But I am also amazed at how blind our employees are. They do not SEE dirty cages or bird crap on the floor until I point it out. We have fallen into the trap "It's not MY job".
We do have some conscious employees (Yumi being one), who can see that we all must pitch in for the health of the business. But some of our employees just "come to work, punch the time-card, BARELY do their job, and pray for quitting time." They are IN THE WRONG JOB! We are a high-stress workplace. Everything is on a deadline and things could really die if we fail to meet this. This is NOT the place for someone who wants to go at their own pace.
We place no more demands on our staff than the doctors themselves will do. Both of us rotate through the Sunday lab work with the techs. We try to make sure that we aren't leaving before the staff at the end of the day.
My boss did make one BIG mistake last year. He left us short-staffed for several months. There were four of us who put in incredible overtime (ask the Yumster). It did finally demoralize us and probably I was to blame for this because I WASN'T being compensated for the overtime (I'm not on an hourly, I'm on salary) and I complained to my co-workers. BAD, bad, bad for morale! Ask Yumi. The boss did FINALLY hire and belatedly gave me comp time for the hours.
People who complain demoralize their co-workers. You have incredible influence on the world around you. Watch your own actions before placing the blame somewhere else.
Even having the management / employers pitch-in to help with the "lowlies" is not a new concept. Good old George Washington started it when he climbed off his horse to help his foot soldiers build a wall. Next time you go shopping, look at some of the checkers. If you keep looking, you will find that the managers DO put in time checking groceries. Go to Walmart or Kmart or McDonalds. The management rotates through the front line! If the company you are working for doesn't do something like this, you have two choices; get out or get in there to make a difference.
My beef is with the unconscious employee who really should get out of the job. They leave their jobs undone or barely done and someone like a manager or co-worker must finish it. That's when I really get fired-up about cleaning cages. I'm not there to do their job! They are in the wrong job!
3) I guess I'm going to have to start naming companies: Ben & Jerry's, IBM, WalMart, Disney, UPS, CareerTrack, Hewlett-Packard, Lucky's, and Nordstrom's. All these companys are known for treating their employees well. Employee ideas DO go up the management ladder. In this time of "recession", it is even MORE important to focus on "customer relationships". Every business is looking at the bottom line, happy customers in and out of the work place make for a better bottom-line. The last management seminar I went to was PACKED! Both seminars for our customer service person and receptionist were also PACKED!
Businesses are doing exactly what you claim they aren't. They are looking to the "health" of their employees and to improving their chances of surviving. I don't believe MOST businesses are really all that dedicated to abusing employees and using the recession as an excuse. We can just fire the low-producer, chronic complainers and get our pick of some pretty nifty unemployees! Janine's boss doesn't need to "complain" about the desk - she can just fire her and hire someone who keeps a messy desk!
I do know of one company that puts some serious stress on its employees. Don't go looking for a job with the United States Postal Service! I'm sorry, but if your job is stressing you to suicide, it is better to quit and collect unemployment. No job is worth that!
I can't believe you would NOT attempt to try and change a business that is as abusive as the ones you and Janine and Betsy claim to be employed by! If you NEVER make any suggestions to improve the workplace, how is the management to know there is a problem? You are describing a set-up for real problems. Do you believe your immediate supervisors have ESP? How are they to know how you feel or that you have some real ideas on how to improve the business?
You have GOT to talk to them! Keeping it to yourself is as silly as me never voting, believing that it will make no difference! Are all of you so desparate to keep these jobs? Find someone! Kiss some ass! Come on! You went to college! If it really is THAT BAD and you want to make a difference, use that brain!
4) John all you have suggested is to COMPLAIN about your job situations. Let's get some real concrete ideas here. I suggest people try to make a difference one little job and one little company at a time. If the job isn't for you, GET OUT! You WILL find employers more to your satisfaction. There are MANY excellent companies! If you really want siestas, find a foreign company. If it is worth trying to make a difference, then do it. Complaining that this is some GRAND plan by U.S. companies to abuse employees and all employers learned their management skills on the plantations of the pre-civil war is plain ridiculous!
Are you planning to have our government pass some law that fines a company if they treat their employees badly? Are you staging some nationwide employee riot? I suppose the unions can strike for the "benefit" of every boss saying Hello to every employee every day.
If you really want to learn about management, please check the following list of information. I think you have been unemployed too long. There have been many great management ideas since the Civil War.
Books by Ken Blanchard: The One Minute Manager, Putting the One Minute Manager to Work, and One Minute For Myself.
In Search of Excellence by Tom Peters and Robert Waterman.
MegaTrends by John Naisbitt.
A Whack on the Side of the Head by Roger von Oech.
Service America! by Carl Albrecht.
Total Customer Service by William Davidsow and Bro Uttal.
Team Work: What must go Right/What can go Wrong by Carl Larson and Frank LaFasto.
Lead, Follow, or Get Out of the Way by Jim Lundy.
A Force for Change by John P. Kotter.
Leadership is an Art by Max DePree.
On Becoming a Leader by Warren Bennis.
CareerTrack Audio/Visual and Seminars. (Some titles are How to Deal With Difficult People, Team Building, Professional Supervision Skills, Management for Women, How to Delegate, Getting Things Done, Customer Service.) These tapes and the seminars these people give are worth their weight in gold! Ask Yumi. She was laughing so hard listening to one in her car, she had to pull off the road!
Blanchard Training and Development. This is the man who described the upside down company pyramid. Your customers and your staff are at the top!
Even if your company will not pay for these, you should get them! They will give you the constructive tools you need to change your workplace and show you the MANY (many, many, many, many) employers who are GREAT to work for and why!
(John, since when did you get so pessimistic? You are just full of negative vibes, man! )