Tag Archives: work

Corporate Passion!

Traveling to a foreign country for the first time is an experience that usually leaves very deep impressions on people. The culture and customs seem very exotic as one comes to the realization that not everyone lives as they do.

One can have these same experiences upon returning to their home country if they have spent more than a few years overseas. You see your culture from the outside for the very first time. In some cases this is known as “reverse culture shock.”

Well, this reverse culture shock seems to be an ongoing experience for me. Most recently it has to do with corporate culture as the MBAs churn out ever more initiatives, goals and theories for the rest of the organization to adopt.

Once adopted, it becomes part of the culture and actually changes the behavior of the employees.  When this happens it is derogatorily referred to as “drinking the kool-aid.”  There of course is many different flavors of Kool Aid depending on the company but one flavor that seems to be quite prevalent is “Passion!”

No matter what industry one is in, it is now a requirement in Corporate America to have a passion for what you do.  That is to say that by directive of the upper management you must actually love and become emotionally excited  with your work.  This is especially true for the sales department but easily spills over into other departments and is absolutely vital if one wants a promotion.

Golden Rule:

YOU MUST HAVE PASSION IN LIFE AND IT MUST BE WORK RELATED.

I don’t remember “Passion” being part of the business curriculum when I was in college so I’m pretty certain this is a relatively new idea.  However, the idea has caught on so strongly I’ve had grown men tell me they are passionate about these:  sanitation, paper, industrial supplies, medical devices and so on.

What is a bit scary is I believe these people have honestly convinced themselves they are passionate about the mundane objects they are selling!  I’m being completely honest when I say I had someone tell me they were passionate about not only paper but toilet paper and paper towels!

For me to make a mockery of this type of passion is actually a cardinal sin in corporate land.  If you do not drink the kool-aid, you do not get promoted and if you are not getting promoted then you will eventually be fired in today’s environment.  It is not dissimilar from an actual cult in that you must adhere to the corporate line of thinking and there is very little tolerance for those who do not conform.

Thus I remain in a state of shock which I cannot seem to dispel.  At least once a month I hear grown men tell me they are passionate about some aspect of the corporation which really should inspire no emotional reaction in any human being.

Finally, here are some corporate words that bug me.

1. Challenge = Problem – Problem is a dirty word, you’re simply having a challenge!
2. Actionable – As so much junk is thrown your way during a typical work day “actionable” is like a red tag attached to the item which tells you you must do something and not just file the e-mail away.
*Junk (work/communications others have created that they have to send to someone else in order to be seen as productive.)

****Update****

After I published this post I opened up the New Yorker and read a book review called “The Iron Curtain” which examines the daily life of living in the Eastern European states under Soviet rule.

One sentence in particular really stood out which said that people are not so easily socialized, which was referring to turning the citizens into pure Communists.

You know where I have heard this word before?

Yep, in corporate america at my former company.  You see, when the MBAs’ rolled out yet another initiative that would invariably make our lives much more difficult they first went to the regional leaders who were to socialize the new concept/idea/initiative.  This is the exact word they used and when I saw it referring to Communism I had to look it up to make sure I knew what it meant.

Socialize:  Make (someone) behave in a way that is acceptable to their society: “newcomers are socialized into our ways”.

Since this coincided quite nicely with my post I had to add this update and wanted to finish with a story about how the corporation tried to socialize us.

1. Psychological profiles
– No kidding, we all had to take an hour test to determine our profile.

2. Berating by leadership in front of peers
– This was pretty much the straw that broke the camel’s back for me and one of the reasons I decided to leave.  They gathered us in a room for two days and we all had to stand up in front of everyone and present what we had done and were doing with our customers.

It was the leaderships job to point out all of our faults and continually grind away until we admitted we had not done a good job.  The leaders justified this by saying they wanted to “help us.”  If you did not admit that many of the things you had done were wrong then you were in for a very rough ride as they would basically try and break you.

And you know what?  This was all seen as normal behavior!  The leaders actually had drank the Kool-Aid and honestly believed what they were doing to us was not degrading but actually “helping.”

Well needless to say my former company has had extremely high turnover.  In fact out of 25 or so people in my immediate area I can only name one or two that are still with the company.  A gulag it was becoming indeed!

Wrapping up this post, the next time the MBAs’ propose you drink yet another flavor of Kool-Aid, perhaps you could propose that they give this beverage a try instead.

 

The Value of Money

Simple thoughts, free-form writing in this post.  Get ready for a roller-coaster.

What is the value of money?

In our capitalistic society money seems to command the top spot, that which is to be desired over everything else.

Money is that which every other desire can be obtained, this idea, this falsity is ingrained and the idea can very rarely be purged.

Perhaps it cannot be purged simply because we are human, and humans need to experience before they believe.  The young child never believes the fire is dangerous until he touches it and is burned.

Like fire, money needs to be experienced before one can understand if they can wield it well or not.  For most, they will expect that by simple accumulation, happiness will also be accumulated.

The wise people tell us that money does not equal happiness but most cannot understand this.  They need to experience it.  They need to understand that problems do not simply go away by its accumulation.  In fact, problems may multiply by the accumulation of money.

Yes, one can buy nice things with money, but one cannot buy friends, one cannot buy love, one cannot buy the most important things in life.  One cannot buy the things that make life most worth living.

This is not to say that one cannot find these things even though they have money.  It is my belief that it just makes the equation much more difficult.  Is this person my friend, my lover for me, or is it the money?

Many CEOs, many wealthy people have learned this lesson the hard way.  How can one ever be sure that friends, lovers are not simply after the money?  It does put a very difficult variable into the relationship does it not?

Like most of my posts I enjoy switching gears mid most and not finishing my thoughts.  True to form, I’ll start another thought, same vein, in this post.

I happen to know people who work very hard everyday.  These people work very hard for money.

Those that do what they can to support their families are to be commended.

However, there is another group of people whose work forms their identity.  These are the ones who want to accumulate wealth for wealth’s sake.  These are the people that enter into a routine of work and feel uncomfortable when they are not working.

My question to these people is the following.

What value, in monetary terms, would you put on your youth?  That is to say, once you have all the money, or all that you would no longer need to worry about its accumulation anymore; how much would you pay to live your 20s or early thirties again?  What value would you place on the experiences forgone by the accumulation of money with the hope that such experiences could be bought later?

Perhaps such experiences cannot be bought later, as those addicted to work can never fully enjoy a sunset, sliding down a mountain, reading to a child, simply because they do not involve the accumulation of money?

Working as hard as you did, you were duly compensated in monetary terms.  The true worth of this monetary compensation has a very profound cost .  The true value of this monetary compensation is the time of your life that is now unrecoverable.  You have spent a part of your finite life in the pursuit of money.

Now what is the purpose of money?  The purpose of money is so that you can buy a certain experience weather it be the sensation experienced by purchasing a material good, a certain feeling of status among the neighbors, or perhaps finally being able to take that long overdue vacation to Scottsdale where the sun appears in winter.

Now, let’s make this more interesting.  Let us say we have children.  What is the true value of time spent at work?  One gains money but not without a very large cost.  That cost is time not spent with your child, that cost is time not spent sharing an experience or teaching him or her something.  The cost is missing that first smile or seeing them take their first steps.

Why do I point this out you may be wondering?

It is simply that I cannot understand this unthinking pursuit of money simply for money’s sake.  In our Capitalistic society we seem to be thoroughly convinced that by attaining more money we are able to attain more happiness.  We are convinced that we need to continually attain more goods, more anything, and what do we do when we have attained more?  Well, we have to attain more than that.

It is not understood that the time we spend chasing money has a very serious cost in youth, in relationships, in experiences, and in all the things we will absolutely remember when we grow old.

Will you remember that certain trip with a special individual or will you remember that thing you bought at Neiman Marcus?

The time spent being compensated in monetary terms does have a very profound cost.  That cost is youth, experiences, and precious hours which never to be recovered, you inch towards death.

I hope that Louis Vuitton bag or Lexus is worth the cost.

—- Or perhaps I have over-thought this.  Perhaps, our work is what forms many of our identities?  Work makes the man and without work there is no man?  Perhaps we are such insecure creatures that many of us need our career to define us?  I work, therefore I am?  Perhaps money only takes a secondary seat?  Money simply determines the pedestal and the more money accumulated the higher the pedestal from which to rank yourself among the others?

Or can we honestly still say that the value our work brings to society is what determines its worth?

Nah, that is too Communist.

I’m going to go buy a gun, buy a sign that trespassers will be shot, put an American flag on the porch and pray to my God (who is a white American) that those fucking immigrants go back to Mexico.   

I apologize, I went Republican there for a minute.

A word that I have not been able to escape in all the higher end publications is Solipsist.  This is the idea that the self is all you know to exist.  They have been using this word not entirely in the philosophical sense, but rather that we are closing ourselves off from our neighbors and our surroundings.  We put in our ear buds, close down and only interact with our own minds until we reach our destination at which, we still may not take out the ear buds.

Perhaps this individualistic approach in America has gone too far.  There is no one but me and anyone who interferes with my aims must be removed mentality should have its limits.

This is the idea where one takes their own surroundings and attributes those that have not to laziness or stupidity.  I am warm at night, you are not, ergo you must be too stupid to buy a blanket?  Those that have cannot fathom the life experiences of the other individual, the ability to put ones self in the place and mind of another has been seriously diminished if it ever existed.

Can I provide an example of this solipsistic approach?

I believe I can and it happened just this morning.  I was waiting in traffic and a woman decided to honk wildly because traffic was not moving fast enough.  I looked in my rear view mirror only to see her yelling wildly and could even make out the words of her mouth.  Apparently the driver in front of her must have given her a look because she mouthed “What the fuck are you looking at, you bitch?”

The sad thing is that she also had a young kid in her car.

What is this?

It is Solipsism.  This woman believes that she and her circumstances/desires, should trump all others circumstances and situations at that particular moment.  She is honking so that her desires be answers although nobody can actually move their car.

This is solipsism and this is what those on the extreme Right in the USA wish to see.

Now, I can appreciate the view that the Government not force anything on the population. If you read this blog with any regularity, you will know that I do like Ron Paul.

But no, the Republicans do not want that which they preach.  Ron Paul is perhaps the biggest supporter of small government, but no, they do not wish that which they preach.

Perhaps I can tie this post all together.  Mitt Romney has money and with this money I do believe he has bought himself a chance at the Presidency!

Since he is Republican we will most likely go to war yet again since that is what Republicans enjoy doing.  Therefore, many young Americans will not even have the choice to spend their time accumulating money for later experiences, or accumulating experiences now.

Instead they will be sent to war.

Why?

Does it matter?   Tell the population anything, they will pretty much accept any reason.  Tell them Iran wants to destroy NASCAR, tell them China is going to invade Dancing with the Stars.

It really doesn’t matter, just tell them anything, you’ll get 50% buy in.

How was that for a rollercoaster?  I save the wild bits until the end so when you get off you’re a bit dizzy and confused.

Me too.