Friday, August 18, 2006

Corporate workhorses

As a temp at the office where I'm working a few weeks, I've been reminded yet again that I never will be cut out for the corporate work style. Hoo boy, these people are ambitious, always going, competetive Type-A personalities. And naturally being competitive, these people seem to compete with one another to see who can work the longest hours. They look at it like a badge of honor in a way. One man who works here says that an 80 hour work week is normal for him because he has so much to do. He said it in a way that was half bragging and half "have sympathy for me".

I just don't understand this sort of mentality. You may or may not love what you do working for some Giant Corporation. My friend works for another giant corp. in San Francisco and she says the mentality there is the same too, so I imagine it's like that everywhere in big cities: workhorses giving 110% 24-7. Yeah, they might get some nice material trappings to enjoy when they have a few minutes at home, so their efforts are rewarded by high salaries. But what a sacrifice! The man who with the 80 hour work week is divorced. Many of these people have no home life or any other life outside work so it's no wonder their family life suffers so. Is the Giant Corporation worth that? These days the Corporation is so quick to lay off workers or cut their benefits without so much as a blink of an eye. And this job insecurity makes the workhorses work even harder, to catch the eye of the Giant Corporation to make sure they are noticed for doing excellent work and showing productivity so they won't get laid off.

I was listening to my favorite talk show the other night and the topic was vacations and why Americans seem compelled to not take their vacations or when they do, they take work with them, even if it's their mobile phone or laptop. They feel like they have to constantly prove that they are committed to Giant Corporation because of job insecurities. Is that the underlying premise of this extreme ambition and commitment to the Corporation?

This is why I'm committed to being in the classroom and being my own boss, (thanks to my husband on that one). If I'm going to be a workhorse, it's going to be for me, not for some Corporation that could fire me on a whim. I can work as long as I want, I won't have to commute ungodly distances, and when I take time off, I'm OFF. I just hope that all these slaves to Corporations aren't burned in the end and have regrets. It sure isn't a life for me.


Darshani said...

Amy your post brought back memories of my former job. It was crazy! People used to come in so early and leave late, come in on Saturdays. There were times we had to come in on the weekends to finish a job and the boss would get all the credit for it. :0( The ones who had *lives* and refused to work more than the standard 8 hours were seen as lazy and not committed to the company.

Anonymous said...

This all sounds like the company I work for. People put in a crazy amount of hours, and when I don't want to match them, I can just feel their irritation. The thing that makes me so mad it that a lot of them are hourly and they CREATE things to do just to get tons of over time. Since our boss is in an office 250 miles away, they can get away with it. I am on salary, and I can get my work done quickly and efficiently with no problem. I find myself sitting in my office with the door closed doing absolutely nothing just so I don't leave and make the others upset. Of course my office is the very last one in the building, so when I do leave, I have to walk past everyone toiling at their desks with unnecessary tasks.....


amygeekgrl said...

i can't understand it either. i think the only way to work those kinds of hours and not take vacation, etc. is if you are single, and plan on staying that way for a long time. otherwise your family life has to suffer. it's definitely not the life for me either. if i earn a vacation, i'm taking it! :)