24 June 2013

They Pretend to Pay Us, and We Pretend to Work

It's an old joke from the Soviet Union, and in a very real way, it explains much of what brought down the USSR.

Well, the good folks at The New York Times have found a study showing that, after decades of MBA driven management by intimidation, a majority of American workers actually loathe their employers:
I thought of this black mark on my résumé while reading an exhaustive and depressing new study of the American workplace done by the Gallup organization. Among the 100 million people in this country who hold full-time jobs, about 70 percent of them either hate going to work or have mentally checked out to the point of costing their companies money — “roaming the halls spreading discontent,” as Gallup reported. Only 30 percent of workers are “engaged and inspired” at work.

At first glance, this sad survey is further proof of two truisms. One, the timeless line from Thoreau that “the mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.” The other, less known, came from Homer Simpson by way of fatherly advice, after being asked about a labor dispute by his daughter Lisa. “If you don’t like your job,” he said, “you don’t strike, you just go in there every day and do it really half-assed. That’s the American way.”
Or, as Gin and Tacos notes, "When a job devalues employee, literally and figuratively, their response is often to work just hard enough to avoid getting fired."

In the G&T case, he's talking about (underpaid and never getting a raise) teachers at a Catholic school basically checking out for the month of May (multiple showings of Toy Story), but it applies throughout our economy.

In a very real way, we are eating our seed corn, and I fear that it will not become apparent until it is too late.

What happens when we run out or rubes who think that good work and honesty will get you ahead?

H/T Balloon Juice.


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