Labor Relations Curmudgeon Style

If you’re like me you view the world of work as a wholly inexplicable separate dimension where reality, cause and effect, and all laws of logic are twisted and reversed.  I work hard.  I do my best every day and get better as I gain more experience.  This, of course, is counterproductive and causes me no end of hassles.  If you work hard like me you have my sympathies and condolences.  We’re both in for a long hard career of swimming upstream.

Between the two of us (assuming you’re not a lazy bastard) we make up 0.001% of the workforce.  As for the rest?  In my experience they don’t give a shit.  Frankly that’s the wiser path.  Those who don’t give a shit get along fine with each other and seem to get paid about the same.  The only one who rocks the boat is the hard worker and the damned customer.  Customers can eventually be dissuaded from bothering lazy employees. (GM has tried this approach with great success.)  With the ever larger gulf between serving the customer and keeping a job there’s no downside to that.  (Did I use the word “gulf”…how about “gaping uncrossable chasm”.)

Am I too cynical?  Try this experiment.  Call any company’s service center with a legitimate question.  Perhaps you can call with money in hand to buy an upgrade or additional object.  You’ll be forced to press 8 for English, be put on hold, ignored, corrected, and generally shit upon by each of the six employees you’ll encounter.  The conclusion is inescapable; the company sincerely believes they’d be better off without paying customers.

Like paying customers, the employee who’s always striving is considered an organizational hassle.  That’s why folks above, below, and at the same level in the food chain prefer a time serving drone.  If you’re fossilized in place it helps.  Zombies and the walking dead are ideal.

An ideal corporate employee rarely makes waves.

I will not go quietly into that dark night.  I cling to an objective reality where I provide a product or service and my pay reflects the value of that product or service.  Reality is lonely.  Luckily my own homestead is a fountain of it.  I raise chickens and sell eggs.  It’s not rocket science.  Chickens cost money by eating feed and general maintenance.  They earn money by making eggs.  If egg sales don’t cover feed costs I have the ultimate recourse.  The stew pot.  Chicken soup cures any particularly annoying chickens and maintains an efficient and motivated flock.

The author explains his favored method of maintaining an efficient workforce.

Now that fall is here I’ve got two cohorts of chickens.  One pen is filled with bright shining new critters.  Literally they’re “spring chickens”.  They’ve just started laying eggs and biology dictates that they’ll lay faster than their older counterparts.  Their older counterparts are in another pen.  They’re incrementally laying fewer and fewer eggs.  These older chickens are clueless about concept of “return on investment”.  I am not.  The least productive chickens are destined to be served with gravy this winter.  Lucky for the older chickens, I did not raise enough young ones to replace them all.  Some must go but some will stay.  How to choose?

A good manager know how to make the best use of all personnel. Even the less productive ones.

Here’s where homestead reality outshines the wishy-washy workplace; they’ve selected themselves.  The older chickens have some measure of free will.  I open the door every day so they can venture forth.  Some actively roam far and wide seeking choice edibles like dandelions and worms.  Others sit fat and pathetic in the barn waiting for the daily handout I always provide.

Today, butchering day, I’ve opened the doors as always.  The active chickens are out and about flipping over leaves and scratching.  The lazy ones are indoors doing nothing but eating expensive food and shitting all over the water can.  At a glance I know which chickens cost more to maintain and which gather some of their sustenance on their own and save me a few bucks.  The bums are just waiting in the pen for me to pick them up.  The active ones would require I chase them all over the lawn.  Simple!

Indeed the flock will be thinned a bit today and the fat lazy slobs wind up in the freezer and the active productive ones will have a longer life.  I sincerely wish the world of work were so darned clear with incentives.  This is why folks with farms look at various deadbeats with a cynical eye…we know a simple and easy solution that works every time.  It’s a tough world on the farm but it sure makes sense.

About Adaptive Curmudgeon

I will neither confirm nor deny that I actually exist.
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