Career Planning, part 2

The biggest laugh I’ve had recently came from hearing that some godforsaken company is requiring its employees to come back to the office, while they could as easily continue to work remotely, because the company’s numbers are not good enough, and management attributes this problem to a lack of collaboration and creativity.

That is total BS. Here is what is driving your numbers down, Mr. and Ms. Senior Management: You ship inadequately specified, inadequately designed, inadequately developed, and inadequately tested products. Your customers are forced to buy your stuff because your industry is made of up companies just like yours; mediocre products are the order of the day; and sometimes your offerings appear to be the best of the bunch. That’s not much of a recommendation.

But once in a while you ship such a stinker, or such a series of stinkers, and you delay your new releases for so long, and drag out so many dot releases to correct the problems that absolutely can’t be ignored, that your customers really do go elsewhere, and your numbers suffer.

Or, just possibly, your numbers are dropping because the global pandemic is causing the global economy to crash, and not because your employees are insufficiently creative and collaborative.

Either way: how dare you put your business failures on your employees’ shoulders.

How dare you then impose a course of action that is a non-solution to your actual problem, a requirement that exposes your employees and their families to a potentially lethal health risk.

Why are your products so deficient? Because you do not have the head count to support them. Every last one of your employees is responsible for a scope of work that is too great for anything to be done well. Everything is chiseled down, skipped over, triaged; only the most egregious problems are solved; everything else is kicked down the road or ignored altogether.

Your employees don’t have the time to do a solid job, much less a stellar job, and they most certainly don’t have time to shoot the breeze while sitting in the cunning conversational groupings of bean bag chairs upholstered in primary colors that are strewn about your open-plan, no-privacy, no-quietude office space, where all that creativity and collaboration are supposed to occur. Everybody knows this, really. Even you.

I hate the dishonesty that is woven through corporate life, the relentless pressure on every employee to parrot the language of goal-setting, continuous improvement, innovation, and, of course, creativity and collaboration, when the workload makes all but basic maintenance and incremental improvement impossible.

I get so angry.

I avoided all of this nonsense for years by being self-employed and accepting a very low level of income and a high degree of insecurity. For years, it was good enough, but eventually I had to have greater stability. I had to get a permanent job. There have been many rewards, and I’ve voluntarily stayed. But it’s OK to still be angry, isn’t it?

I had those years of freedom. How I feel for younger people who went into the corporate machine early and now feel trapped.

August 26, 2020 COVID-10 Infections and Deaths

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