Apr 19, 2007

Failure To Adapt To The Modern Lifestyle

My family and my first few jobs must have really taught me the wrong lessons to shape me to modern life.

My parents taught me that I was fully expected to do my fair share of the work around the house, and that if I did my chores willingly and when I was supposed to I'd get the allowance that was not a promise but a reward. I would never be given nor should I expect a reward for simply showing up.

My first jobs taught me that I would receive pay consumate with the job I did, and it would go up depending on how well I excelled at that job. It would not be a fortune, but it would be fair pay for the job I was performing, and if I wanted more I had to do more than simply wait for the next yearly pay raise. I had to work hard and earn a raise. It taught me that there is no free lunch, nor would I make some incredibly inflated wage for wearing a snappy suit and being able to talk a line of bull.

My parents taught me that if I spoke back to my elders or fought with my brother or pulled the wings off flies I'd be punished. Said punishment would be fit to my transgression, from a harsh tone up to a thin leather belt applied repeatedly to my bare arse with considerable speed and force. This taught me that rules are to be obeyed, and if I decided to break them I'd better be ready to accept the consequences of my actions.

My first jobs taught me that if I did my job wrong, shirked my responsibilities, badmouthed my supervisors or simply didn't do my job, I would be fired. I wouldn't be put on a "60 day evaluation track," no Herculean efforts would be made to "bring me back into alignment with the stated mission" of the business, and I would not be given a nicely padded severance package if, after months and months of administrative effort on my behalf I still continued to do poorly and gave the HR team no choice but to terminate my employment. Hell, for my first jobs I learned that if it came time to fire me I'd be lucky to be given any sort of warning other than "Here's your last check, don't come back."

My parents taught me that you didn't throw anything away that still had some use in it. Old food? No such thing. It was leftovers, and if it was spoiled it went to feed the dog or the ducks or the cows; failing all that it went in the compost pile.

My first jobs taught me that you used what you had at hand to get the job done, and you didn't whine about not having exactly what you needed because you weren't going to get it just for being a git.

That's why I don't fit in. That's why I find myself staying at a job for a year or so and then moving on. People have been reduced to being very replacable cogs in very large machines, and it sickens me. Processes and procedures are put in place to protect the company and it's money-making system, not to better serve anyone other than the highest echelons, and it makes me sick. The amount of usable goods that I threw into the dumpster EVERY DAY at Orrifice Depot made me so sick that it took me two years just to get accustomed to it. I never stopped feeling guilty for destroying usable chairs, pieces of furniture, ink cartrides and reams of paper just so we could tell our vendors that we were staying within our contractual obligations.

I miss the halcyon days that I witnessed my parents living--the days when you took a job and you stayed there, you devoted yourself to the job, and you retired there or you died at your desk or whatever. There was no question of leaping from job to job, and the management didn't put you on a action plan for screwing up, nor did they view you as the "all too necessary human component" of their business.

All I want to do is work for a living and feel some honour, some reward from it. All I have now is a handfull of empty promises, lackluster (read: gutless) upper administration and a burning desire to work for someone until I can retire with some share of dignity intact, said company or person being right up there with hen's teeth and honest politicians.


Scott from Oregon said...

One job your whole life? Eww...

Nancy Dancehall said...

I've had a dozen jobs. Employers for the most part aren't what they used to be. No loyalty.

Irrelephant said...

Scott, I hate to admit it, but yes, I'm one of Those Guys. I'd like one job, some stability, and the opportunity to maybe retire with a fo' real pension and a modicum of security. Call me old-fashioned... *lol*

Nancy, I agree entirely. I've never felt more like a completely replacable commodity rather than a valued employee as I have in the past 15 years or so.

Vulgar Wizard said...


Sir, I still value you.

I'm hanging this post up at the office. It needs to be read.

Irrelephant said...

I'm glad you do, VW. It's funny how one positive voice in the sea of howling can help so much.