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Held hostage

11/19/2010

I'm picking bones today with modern management. Why... why is it management wants everyone to be friends? I'm acquainted with the people I work with, I see them often. I don't need to socialize with them. I spend more time with them than I do with my wife and kids. If you force me to spend the weekend with these people, I'm going to get aggravated. An aggravated employee isn't going to enjoy enforced entertainment.

Here's the thing. I travel for business. A lot. That means I am away from home more often than not. Which means it's nothing special for me to fly to some city and stay in a hotel away from my wife and kids. Unfortunately for me, most of the people that I work with never travel more than an hour or two away from home. So they are home every night, eating with their wife and kids, maybe coaching a sports team, getting laundry done, doing household chores and sleeping in their own bed.

Also unfortunately for me is that these people are all type A personalities, some even type A+. What that means is that they are extremely outgoing, competitive, and in their younger days, probably the life of the party. Think TKE Rush Chairman types who make their living in probably the most competitive industry going.

Now imagine you take 400 of these guys (and they are almost all guys) and put them all in a fancy Hotel, in a big city, with free food, open bar, and an expense account. Make attendance at all functions mandatory and disallow expenses for rental cars, early travel and cab fare.

These guys go apeshit. If you've ever seen a TV show or movie from the 60's where they have some kind of convention going on and you see all these middle-aged guys in suits drunk off their ass running around groping women and wearing lampshades on their heads then you will have some idea of what I'm going through. Here's te worst. It's mandatory. You have meetings from 7am to 6, then have to get on a bus to some "fun event" then have no way to get back to the hotel (you have to share a room) until the bus picks you up.

WOOO! YEAH! PAAAAARRRRRTTTAAAAAAYYY!

A good third of these guys will end up fired or face disciplinary action. Most of the women will end up in tears and/or screaming fights with their boss. Another half of the men will say something uncomplimentary about their boss, their bosses boss, their compensation or the company as a whole in front of some upper management type, and this will result in a group reorganization halfway through the year. The remaining attendees will have either severe constipation or diarrhea, couple this with dry mouth, a severe hangover and halitosis caused by fourteen cups of shitty hotel coffee and Mexican food buffets for breakfast and lunch and you have one nasty overheated meeting room.

None of this motivates me to be a better employee. If you want me to do more, put some money up. Give me the opportunity to make some extra dough. You'd really be surprised how far I'll go out of my for a couple of bucks. A couple of hours playing paintball on a Saturday when I could be home painting the bathroom? Doesn't excite me. Sorry managers. It's not like I don't like working, I really like working. I work a lot and I don't want to have to work two weeks straight because someone thinks I'll work harder if I play a game of frisbee golf on a Sunday morning against the West Coast sales team.

News flash, I won't. I wish they would stop teaching this shit in business school. Tie compensation to performance and you'll get better performance. Make it real, measurable targets and make the goals attainable, you'll have happier employees who do a better job. You'll identify losers quicker and you'll have fewer problems with managers playing favorites with they guy who works like shit but is a great second baseman.


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