It's about time
I woke up this morning with a horribly sore throat. I'll be the first to admit that half of me thought it was the result of extremely dry air in my apartment, but the other half of me recalled how I was once laid out for nearly two months because of strep. I was in sales, and I have to say that being unable to talk really put a crimp in my commissions.
So I stayed home.
As the day rolled on, I grew fairly certain that the sore throat was more the result of dry air than any sort of infection, but I opted to stay home nonetheless. It wasn't so bad. Recently installed cable entertained me, and a kind and attractive benefactor brought me Taco Bell (or, as I more commonly refer to it, a "Mexican laxative.") And I didn't feel guilty about not going in to work, because I also spent a lot of the day dialed in to work, checking e-mails and making occasional phone calls.
So I stayed at home. And worked.
The sad part is that I think I got more accomplished today than I would have had I been in the office. Sad, because, I work for a company that's very likely a leader in the industry when it comes to technological advancements but still operates as if it's 1957 and the only true way to measure the quality of its employees is by whether or not their butts are in their seats from 9 to 5. Telecommuting is frowned upon, in spite of considerable expenditures on the tools making them possible. Although a recent study (sorry, no link, heard it on a radio show) shows that the number one "perk" after pay employees consistently cite when asked about the quality of their job is flexibility, "flex-time" is non-existent with my company. I've watched co-workers be reprimanded for being five minutes late even though they regularly produce work in greater quantity and quality than 95% of their peers. Meanwhile, people who are in their seats at 9 and out of them at 5, but spend the day reading the paper or surfing the net, are held in high regard simply because they abide by an antiquated HR policy ignorant of the modern workplace.
It's the 21st century. We may not have jet packs, but we do have the ability to extract the worker from the work place, and witnessing a multi-billion dollar corporation drop the ball worse than Tony Roma is disappointing. It makes me lose faith in those who make decisions in an entity to which I offer my loyalty in return for which I ask not only for a paycheck, but also the confidence that sound decisions are made when it comes to how employees are treated. The issue is that in my company the average age of an employee goes up every year and recruiting new talent grows increasingly difficult. How are we to compete for young, bright talent when we operate as if computers were just invented and the internet is merely a fad?
Anyone who knows me would hear these complaints and worry that I wouldn't be too far off from marching into the CEO's office and demanding answers. After all, I'm a shareholder in the company and feel that it's my right to question operational decisions that may ultimately impact its ability to compete in a rapidly advancing marketplace. But the truth is that I like getting paid, as money buys bourbon. So how should someone in my predicament handle this?
I should state for the record that, for the most part, I'm happy with my job as well as the company. Heck, I've been working for so long that when it comes to me, I really have no problem with working in the environment I describe. But it concerns me, as a good "corporate citizen," that while we may succeed in the marketplace of our product, we fail in the marketplace of sustainability simply because we're getting older and seem to demonstrate little desire to change that. Certainly, we make the efforts to get younger talent, but don't offer them what they look for when measuring one job against another.
So, dear reader, I turn to you. How do you take a gigantic, lumbering mechanism and encourage it to try and survive rather than waddle into extinction? How can a lowly cog get its voice heard?
Or is it a lost cause?