A Personal Note

This blog is called Rants and it’s supposed to reflect what’s on my mind this week, so today I’m going to talk about the workplace.  I’ve already shared my thoughts on past jobs a few times but given some recent observations, I’ve decided to talk semi-openly about a place I know all too well.  Chances are you have a job and can relate to what I’m talking about here, so while some of it may be a bit specific, there probably is plenty you can relate to.

Whenever I scroll through my Facebook feed, I usually see a load of my former coworkers (along with a few of their current coworkers who I’m lucky enough to be in touch with) venting frustration about their current job, which I’m happy to say is my former job.  I left this particular employer nearly two years ago and I count every single day since as a blessing.  That being said, I’m still bothered when people I care about are run down by self-important authority figures on a daily basis, so I thought I’d share my thoughts on the way I see this place.

Perhaps the most hideous part of this work environment is how there is this illusion of teamwork among all who work under that roof.  There is no bigger lie perpetuated on a daily basis than the managers pretending to support the associates.  Once upon a time, in my nascent days as a young supervisor, teamwork was the culture within those four walls.  Everyone worked together to achieve the highest results.  That has been replaced by a culture of accountability, one that wants to have every associates’ minor moments of ineffectiveness documented, so when it’s time for their annual review, their meager (or lack of an) increase is justified.

Of course, an emphasis on accountability is rooted in the insecurity of the people who run the place.  The only way they can slide under the employment limbo bar each year is by making others do their work so they can take the praise for the wins and hold their team accountable for the losses.  This is insecurity, folks.  They don’t have the knowledge or skill to get the job done themselves so they rely on their underlings to take care of that for low pay and even less appreciation.  What more can you expect from a collection of people who have been stuck on the same wrung of their career ladder for a few years because of their lack of knowledge and skill?  Their only way to prove their worth is to blame others for the losses and write them up, when the truth is they could be doing some of the work themselves if they weren’t too busy chatting up every cleavage they see or spinelessly breaking policy to give into customer demands for fear of having to enforce what the company has laid out for them to stand by and risk dealing with a…gasp!…complaint.

While the boss who takes credit for the hard work of others is the worst of the bunch, there is no shortage of annoying personalities giving you grief at work.  Take the recently hired college grad who spends most of their day bossing around people who have been doing their job the right way since before this newbie packed on their Freshman Fifteen.  Let’s not forget the boss who is all relaxed and cool until their day hits a speed bump and then it’s all life or death.  Then there’s the invisible boss, who we’ve all met (or have we?).  While everyone is doing their job, this manager hides away from everybody and only shows up to correct mistakes.  These archetypes make sure to keep a distance between their self-important authority and the responsibilities of their subordinates.  Every single one of these personalities influenced my managerial style in that they taught me how not to run things.  While I never aspired to being everyone’s favorite supervisor, I always knew being respectful and appreciative of great work are cornerstones to keeping your team loyal.

Some of you probably think these are meaningless words from a bitter former employee.  On the contrary, I left this job of my own accord when I’d had enough of it.  Granted, since I’d accumulated over a hundred attendance infractions during two of my years there, naturally, I was told after giving notice how I “probably would have been fired for attendance” if I’d stuck around longer.  This was totally untrue, like hearing a person claim they would have bet last night’s winning lottery numbers but decided randomly to get a quick pick instead.  Despite more than enough reasons to counsel me for bad attendance, I was not written up once in those two years.  I have no idea why.  Maybe it was the incompetence of my boss or his outright laziness.  Regardless, I walked away from this job unscathed and moved on with my life.  However, there are those times when I’m reminded of the difficulty of working with certain people, and since I’m pretty free with my thoughts, it seems only fitting to share them on those occasions.

So what does this all mean?  Your job is just a job, plain and simple.  Some jobs may dictate your lifestyle if you travel a lot or if you’re often on-call, but most people just have JOBS, a means of making money to pay for housing, gas, food, and pleasure; maybe they even provide you with health insurance.  As far as dealing with bosses…hey, they’ll always be there.  Let’s hope a few of them decide to treat everyone with respect and stand up for the team when they’re not appreciated by others in charge.  Maybe some of my former bosses will read this and get angry.  I don’t give a rat’s ass if they do.  They certainly know if I’m talking about them so maybe they’re not so stupid after all.  This might even wake them up.

Don’t bet your job on it, though.  Choose to go after the better you deserve instead of waiting for them to wise up.

Respectfully yours,

Chris