So yesterday I had a lovely birthday. My family sent me flowers at work, and I went out for drinks with some girlfriends of mine after work. Friends and laughter. That makes a great birthday for me.
On a less positive note, I've had a post simmering in my brain for a while. It has to do with workplaces. Not one in particular, just the modern workplace in general (Disclaimer: I've worked in offices most of my life, so that's the perspective this is being written from). In the 8 or so jobs I've had since graduating college, I've had I've noticed several similarities that mark the contemporary American workplace as a truly soul crushing play.
Subtle (and not sometimes not so subtle) Bullying. No matter how rigorous an employee's work ethic or commitment, the threat of termination always hangs in the air, implicit and used to keep everyone beat down.
Bribery. Based on the - I promise you false - idea that occasional treats like food and drink, can make up for yearly slashing of pay and benefits. Speaking of...
Shit Benefits That Get Shittier Every Year. All this does is reaffirm my belief that health care coverage should not be tied to employment. Because insurance companies and employers have proven they SUCK ASS at providing comprehensive, affordable coverage. In fact one of my major gripes with the so-called health care reform being proffered by the Obama administration is that it doesn't eliminate employer-provided health coverage in favor of coverage for all. Yeah, SINGLE PAYER. That's right. I said it. Deal.
Bargain Basement Salaries. I realized the other day that I'm a bargain for my employer. Because even after I've officially clocked out, I still have to stick around and finish work if there's a deadline to be met that day. But do I get paid for working after hours? Surely, you jest.
Goal Setting (Remember, they must be SMART). *headdesk* So on an afternoon when I could be, you know, doing work, I have to sit at my desk and input into a database my goals for the end of the year. To quote Amy Winehouse, "What kind of fuckery is this?" The kind that says employees have to think up and meet goals all with the end result being LESS pay. Fuckery, indeed.
Team Building. *headdesk II* Cuz we're all part of a team in case you haven't heard. That's why as an employee, I can be lanced like a fucking boil when my meager salary becomes too much for the company's bottom line. As the kids today like to say What. The. Fuck. Ever.
Back in the 90s, there was a raft of shootings committed by postal workers. I remember being appalled and wondering how they could do such things. What could drive otherwise mild mannered folk to such extremes.
I get it now.*
*And no, I wouldn't engage in such activity myself. I'm simply stating that I now understand a lot better the level of frustration and desperation that would lead an individual to take such action.