Dec 5, 2006  •  In Career, Personal

Corporate Slavedom

Yesterday I read an article which was linked on Slashdot. It caught my attention because I’m still in the process of paving a career path. In the midst of researching and reading up on the myriad of options that are available for recent grads who are still trying to figure out what to do with the rest of their lives, I have come across several articles of this nature. This segment in particular struck me:

Years ago if you put in long hours and worked hard for a company, you were rewarded with gradual promotions, longer vacations, medical insurance, and a healthy retirement plan. Most people expected to work 20 years or more at one company. Today to get ahead and save for a reasonable retirement, workers often must hop from company to company to get a promotion. Hard work and dedication to a job well done are no longer seen as ways to protect a job. Everyone is expendable, thanks to many employers’ short-term, economic goals. And there’s no incentive to work long hours. It won’t likely pay off for the worker in the long run.

This reminded me of two movies. The first, In Good Company, where Dennis Quaid plays an experienced, loyal employee who is replaced by a younger, less experienced worker due to a company takeover. An article I read last week asked the question “Why does your boss seem so stupid?” One of the reasons it gave was that nowadays, managers and leaders are hired externally. So, in a sense, the employees in the lower positions end up having to train their own bosses.

The second movie I thought of is Office Space, particularly the scene where Ron Livingston’s character Peter goes through an assessment, or, as the movie put it, “being interviewed for their own jobs”:

Peter: You see Bob, it’s not that I’m lazy, it’s that I just don’t care.

Bob: Don’t… don’t care?

Peter: It’s a problem of motivation, all right? Now if I work my ass off and Initech ships a few extra units, I don’t see another dime, so where’s the motivation? And here’s another thing, I have eight different bosses right now.

Bob: Eight?

Peter: Eight, Bob. So that means when I make a mistake, I have eight different people coming by to tell me about it. That’s my only real motivation is not to be hassled, that, and the fear of losing my job. But you know, Bob, that will only make someone work just hard enough not to get fired.

Reading this, you can see how the movie Office Space became such a hit among those who work the corporate life.

So what was the purpose of this entry? I’m not sure. Everything I’ve written above makes me a bit sad. But this is the way things are done these days, and I know I must accept it if I am to make it in today’s corporate world.

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One Response to “Corporate Slavedom”

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