News >> Workplace Gloom
Recent statistics indicate that some 80% of
American workers dislike their jobs--actually the report used a much harsher
word, they HATE their jobs. Strong words from such a huge majority of our
workforce. This article will explore some of the possible reasons.
As with any complicated situation. There are two sides, usually opposing, and this is no different. We have the corporate side and the employee side.
Of late, it seems that corporate America has done little to relieve the pressure's felt by its workforce. In a headlong rush to maximize the bottom line, the corporate mindset, as a rule, is to embrace such tactics as down sizing, outsourcing and union breaking,--all in the name of keeping up with the expanding global economy. All of these tactics are linked, and all increase the pressures on the workforce.
Outsourcing used to mean getting rid of the janitor and hiring an outside cleaning company. Now it means closing a plant (or plants) and moving production to a developing country--Mexico, India, China, Thailand. Not only production is being moved, but also customer-service centers, as well as telemarketing marketing services.
By outsourcing production, corporations realize immense reductions in costs -- fewer physical assets are required, therefore fewer plants, less equipment, reduction in operating costs, such as raw material, heat, light, water, telephone etc. etc. etc.
Of course, another major benefit (to the corporation) is the need for fewer employees. This leads to a vast reduction in wage costs, hospitalization costs, other benefits and pension contributions. All this adds to the corporate bottom line--and to the pressures on employees. This inevitably leads to accusations of attempts at union breaking, which corporations deny. The fact is that in highly unionized centers in North America, employees can earn up to $70 or more per hour (hourly wages plus cost of all benefits]. When outsourcing becomes a fact of life, obviously the workforce can be reduced and in order to reduce staff, corporations may offer buyouts to soften the blow. If the corporation has to hire additional staff at a later date, they normally hire part-time, contract staff at a minimum wage with no benefits or pension plan. You decide what to call it.
All of the above create tremendous pressures on those fortunate enough to miss the cut and remain on staff. In many cases, the workload does not diminish. Fewer employees doing the same work increases the individual workload, adding to the pressure.
And once it starts, a pall constantly hangs over the workplace. The questions linger--who's next.? When will it come? Will it be my department? Will it be me? Will they offer me a buyout? How much? Where will I go? and on and on. All of this must have a negative effect on productivity.
For those still employed at lower levels, a major complaint is the lack of respect exhibited by the Corporation's executive branch. Very seldom is there any recognition of a job well done, either verbal or financial. They are simply cogs in a wheel. Can we really question why they HATE their jobs?
The big exception to this, as always, is at the top. Example. A major Canadian telecommunications giant recently downsized a whole department of 60 individuals with varying degrees of seniority--didn't seem to matter. Their workload was transferred to another already overworked department. Another 60 families (on top of those already let go) now wondering what to do. The CEO of this prestigious (once maternal) firm is in line for bonuses for his contributions to the bottom line--in an amount in excess of $37 million. Now tell me, what human being is entitled to that for and violating a workforce? (Of course, the Board will justify it with a litany of all the wonderful things he accomplished for the company. Translation--the bottom line improved. Absolutely obscene!
So much for the dark side. But is there a bright side, you ask? There had better be, or we may as well give up now. I'm not a believer in government intervention in business, but corporate greed has risen to unprecedented levels (e.g. Enron, Hollinger)
The global economy is a fact of life. But we must develop ways to gain a fair share. I'm not an economist or a politician, so I must leave final solutions to them. But let's get at it, boys. We are losing too many manufacturing and service jobs overseas [200,000 in Ohio alone in the last few years). All in the name of global economy and reducing costs.
The "Buy American" campaign didn't work and probably never will. Foreign companies are too firmly entrenched. For example, Japanese auto plants are scattered across the US and Canada and they employ thousands. So can we really complain? Only that the profit goes overseas.
Internet marketing is flourishing, but if you think for a moment that it can absorb every displaced worker, such that he can make a living wage, you're living in a dream world.
Enough already! This is the North America we live in, and if you want it to change, get involved in the discussion. If you are reading this, you have a computer and therefore an e-mail client. You don't have to attend meetings or face people one-on-one. E-mail your politicians at all levels. E-mail your friends. E-mail your business contacts. Forget the jokes and the garbage that fills our in-boxes and start filling them with carefully thought out suggestions and ideas -- no rants, just sensible, adult discussion.
Stop complaining your way to oblivion.
Start discussing and get involved in a new and prosperous tomorrow.
About the Author:
Barny Snicklfritz is a freelance writer and journalist. It should be noted that he is neither pro-management nor pro-union, but simply an observer of our current world. You can learn more about Workplace Gloom at http://www.didyousmellthat.com