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Confession Wednesday #4



I get NSF on my emotional bank account

I hate giving up. I hate quitting. I hate them so much I overextend myself way too often. I do it with friends, family, lovers, work and with myself. Lately I have been trying to keep as positive of an attitude that I can with my two jobs…the rest of my life is what it is right now so work is focus #1 (for the most part).

This is the second small company I have worked for; not the first I found issues with motivation, dedication and commitment from the employees. I just can never figure out why many companies don’t like hearing suggestions or ideas from people low on the corporate totem pole. Sometimes problems that seem major, are really minor and the person at the end of the line sees were the real bottleneck is. I find that many companies don’t want to tweak their corporate process and they don’t want to hear about minor issues until things get really bad. Why? What is wrong with striving for continuous improvement?

Devils Advocate: When too much time is spent on reevaluating the situation or process that is working; less time is being spent on the actual work. A healthy balance must exist between work and evaluation.

I once worked for a very large corporation as an intern. Well they had this awesome suggestion program! When your suggestion was used, you received a check for $150 or so. You could submit as many suggestions as you wanted with some minor rules. Things like: you could only get paid for a used suggestion every 6 months; you could not suggest something that was specific to your job in the suggestion program…you were supposed to just innovate in your job and discuss it with your boss. Very simple and mostly common sense rules; with the exception of one rule: you could not be a intern, co op or contract employee. Well as I said, I was an intern…but I had some ideas that were pretty interesting in my eyes and a few of my coworkers! So to start the process on the right foot I submitted a suggestion to change the suggestion program to allow co ops and interns to participate. I even used one of the 7 corporate principals [“there are no barriers to teamwork”] to illustrate this concept. Well of course I got a form letter saying that my “suggestion to change the program to allow co ops and interns to participate in the program was denied because it was submitted by a co op or intern. We [Company Name] currently do not allow interns and co ops to participate in the program so your suggestion has not been evaluated.”

Awesome! Well I ended up talking to a few financial managers about it and they almost died at the absurdity in the response. After being told a few times that they were going to look into it I just shrugged it off as a funny moment (a Dilbert-ism if you will) and eventually when a full time job rolled around I left the company to work in my field. About 3 months after I left I got an email from one of my friends there: Attention all employees, we are pleased to announce a change in the suggestion program! Now we are allowing all interns and co ops to participate in the program and receive the same rewards as our full time employees. How Awesome!

While it is a totally different issue; I am in that boat again at the company I work at now. It seems that our corporate struggle and a lowly peon’s suggestions for corporate restructuring are not taken as having enough merit since I haven’t worked here that long and I have yet to attain my degree.

On the flip side, my other job is volunteer in that I don’t get paid; however, it is a full fledged job. I am on the board of directors for a small library and museum in the city. After a little corporate struggle there I put in my two cents and with some additional help from a friend we are making changes. This past week I was promoted to the vice president of the corporation and one of the primary directors of operations and planning.

Different perspectives, different work environments…same issues and same suggestions. Just different outcomes. Why can’t life be like that more often?

I have made this letter longer than usual, because I lack the time to make it short.
– Blaise Pascal

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