Darwinism in the work place

The job that I work should not be a competitive environment.  The job does not involve sales or any kind of monetary advance for the company, but the powers that be insist that we install a competitive nature to the employees.  Competition will inevitably make the employees better, is the line of thought that employers and employees ascribe to their actions.  While that may be true in some instances, in other instances it will make them worse when such competition inevitably exposes the weaker employees.  The other day, one of the employees said: “Okay, miss 3.5% error rate.”  This exposed the flaw in the plan in that a cultural divide will begin to occur between those that excel in the department and those that falter.  A degree of Darwinism will occur among those that achieve high stats.  The question that you may have is don’t you understand that America was built on the basis of competition?  The answer to that is yes, but I still don’t see the need to expose the weak and glorify the strong in an entry level job such as the one we are involved in.  A point of diminishing returns then begins to assert itself when the lower 10% constantly drops off, until you are in a constant state of flux.  You will constantly have to train and retrain a group of people for the same job that that original group did fairly well.  If that lower 10% is producing far below a standard, then you should deal with them on a one on one basis, until an ultimate decision can be made on their employment.  The public humiliation aspect is not as effective to my mind.

Money matters

“You say money doesn’t matter, but let’s see you do without it,” is a lyric in an old Cracker song.   Those who say such things in art and in life have usually never known a life of need.  I haven’t either in the Ruwanda refuge manner, but I’ve been broke.  I’ve also known what it’s like to go out with all your buddies knowing that you’re the only one who has to budget.  On the flip side of that coin, how many do what they do for the sole pursuit of money?  How many people do things that make them unhappy, because they feel the need to provide themselves with the constant flow of money?  What do we do with that money?  Are we paying bills, providing sustenance for our children, and saving for their schooling and our retirement?  In other words, are we doing what we do for a living for our basic need with some frills lined up on the side?  Or, is the majority of our money set aside for the frills and the superfluous?  What percentage of our hard earned money–earned at a job we hate–spent on the things we don’t need?  If you don’t think I have a point on this matter, look around your town.  Storage units are a thriving business in my fair city, and they are not just filled with speedboats and jetskis.  They’re filled with the items we could not do without at one time.  They’re filled with items that the Jones’ family had that we had to have if we were ever to consider ourselves one of them.  I’m leaving a job that I hated, that I did for the sole pursuit of money.  I’m leaving a job that I loved to say to girls.  I work at the XYZ corporation, and I’ve been there for ‘X’ amount of years.  I loved to say that to girls, and relatives, and friends, and people I met on the street.  I loved to watch the paper gains I made in my 401k and my other investment portfolios and my bank account, but I hated every aspect of the job I did–except for the people of course–and I didn’t feel like I was making gains, other than the paper gains, in life.  It was a tough decision, don’t get me wrong, but I’m now going to live by the credo: “In the United States of America of 2009, you should never have to do a job you hate.  There are too many opportunities out there.”  I didn’t say it, but I will live it, and I will love it.

The ‘You Don’t Have a Shot in Hell’ Ray

A co-worker of mine shot a “you don’t have a shot in hell” ray at me, the other day at the gym. I did not deserve this. I waved at her. That’s all. I pulled my earbuds out as she approached my elliptical machine. I was prepared to have a polite, engaging conversation with her. I didn’t expect the “you don’t have a shot in hell” glare I received when she made it half of the way to me. I was a good friend.

She used to talk to me about the issues that bothered her, and I listened, and I was an active listener. Some of her conversation topics bored me, but I made sure she never knew it. We used to talk about some of the guys she was hoping to date. I was jealous. I wanted her to speak about me in this manner, but I never pushed it. I was a good friend. We worked in the same department for three years. We even sat by each other for about three months. We talked all the time. I say hello to her one day at a gym, and boom she shoots me a “you don’t have a shot in hell” ray that crippled me in a psychological manner. I was a good friend!

She did return the wave. She fulfilled her portion of polite protocol, but she did so in a guarded manner. It was an annoyed wave, and I’m not being sensitive when I write this. The most casual observer could have read her body language and determined that she didn’t even want to give me that, but she was polite, and then she followed that up by shooting that ray at me. Why would she do that? I was such a good friend that it seemed unfair.

I saw her at work the next day, and she gave me an over enthusiastic hello. She did everything but hug me. She knew what she did. She felt guilty. She knew I was a good friend.

Setting her internal phaser on “you don’t have a shot in hell” may have been reflexive, but I was the one saying hello. I was the buddy. I didn’t enjoy the limitation, but I abided by it just to have her talk to me on one otherwise innocuous afternoon. I was the one that listened her stories, and her honest confessions, without once looking at her breasts. I looked at her breasts. We all did. They were two, compact missiles set to stun any onlooker, but I wasn’t looking at them when she went into her deep, meaningful moments. I was a good gawdamned friend!

I’m the one that joked with her, listened to her complaints about the job and our co-workers without an eye to a future dating world, and she treats me like a hungry dawg whimpering for table scraps? I hate to sound like a seventh grade girl, but I’m done with her. I won’t go beyond the polite protocol with her from this point forward. How dare this girl, with incredible breasts, give me anything less than a polite ‘how do you do?’ I was one incredible friend.

The thing is she is a nice girl, and she may have just been having a bad day. It’s possible that others flirted with her a couple times before she saw me, and I sympathize with the idea that the constant barrage fatigued her, but I was at a point in my life where I decided to make an example of her. It’s my hope that my decision to defriend her will teach her, and the rest of her fantastic looking girlfriends, with fantastic breasts and apple-shaped bottoms, a little lesson in decorum when she posts this moment on her exclusive “great looking girls” website. I want her to tell them that good friends don’t deserve the “you don’t have a shot in hell” ray no matter what the circumstances are at that time.

I realize that she may have seen the enthusiasm with which I waved to her, and mistook it for my desire to do unspeakable things to her, and her adjective-defying breasts, her apple-shaped bottom, and curves that would have the Pope giving her second look, but this was not the case with her former friend and confidant. I’m sure that the constant barrage of men hitting on her so often has led her to hone her defense mechanisms, but I was such a good friend. Perhaps, she has had even had good friends hit on her, and she’s had those friendships dissolve as a result, so it’s best to have the “you don’t have a shot in hell” ray set whenever you leave your home. Well, I don’t play by those rules, and I won’t abide by them in the aftermath, so be good anonymous girl and have a good life. You won’t have this friend to kick around anymore. You just lost one fantastic friend missy!

Part II: We’ll Call Her Katie