Work Harder, Damnit!

Okay.  Doctors are striking because they have too few support staff.  To end the doctors’ strike, a sane company would hire some part-time support staff maybe, right?  Well, at least one healthcare company (that I won’t name) did the opposite:  Fire support staff and tell the few that are now left to work harder or join the ones who just got canned.  Oh and they told the doctors to quit whining and go back to work or they’d be fired too.

When will the mentality of “we’ll be more productive if we have no workers” end?  Companies expect that they’ll accomplish more with fewer workers.  I dunno about HR, but in the comp. sci. world, replacing two 450MHz CPUs in a webserver with one 650MHz CPU leads to reduced, not increased, throughput.  Despite tons of studies that show that a healthy work/life balance is good for productivity, companies continue to demand long hours and unpaid overtime from employees while axing benefits and threatening them with termination if they don’t meet the unrealistic productivity demands.

UPDATE:

An old dude I talked to this morning at the coffee shop said that the problem is that the idea of “employment” is going away entirely.  He says that in the next few years, everyone will be their own entrepreneur and will have to act as a business would:  partner with brand image consultants, marketers, lawyers, accountants, etc. in order to market your skills as a “strategic partnership” with businesses.  He says that being your own business will be the norm and being “employed” as we understand it today will be very rare.

UPDATE II:

When did “panic” become the new response to everything?  Standard Oil was a very slow growth company.  It took 21 years for them to grow into an empire.  Back then, ups and downs were normal.  Companies and markets had peaks and valleys.  Nowadays, it seems that any time anything takes even the slightest downturn, there’s a selloff and entire industries are ruined because some uber-rich investor didn’t want to risk losing a few cents of his shares.

When did business turn into  get-rich-quick schemes?  Wal-Mart is a good example.  Last year at Christmas, they posted huge profits.  But not as grossly, obscenely huge as the analysts wanted, so everyone dumped their shares and Wal-Mart stock tanked.  Notice that Wal-Mart was still hugely profitable and these shareholders were STILL MAKING MONEY off of the dividends!  But they weren’t making money fast enough for their desires and bailed out, potentially causing huge financial hardships for large amounts of people.

I guess the main problem is that our current economic system is such that the whim of a few unelected super-billionaires can cause massive life changes to large amounts of the population.  I see no difference between that and a divine-right monarchy.

UPDATE III:

At least I’m not the only one who has a problem with the current state of affairs.

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  1. #1 by Chadwick on February 26, 2010 - 7:53 PM

    Re: Update 2

    I actually kind of blame the internet era and cable news networks. We’re all so used to everything happening instantly these days, and everything happening on a 24-hour cycle. So while investments used to be made for years of growth, now it’s all about making trades daily (or hourly, or every couple minutes) over the internet. And everything lives on that 24-hour news cycle we’ve got. Stocks are down today? Better move all your money to something that’ll go up tomorrow.

    Basically, a good chunk of where the economy went really wrong was by letting the shareholders call the shots, and they wanted more money right now.

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