I recently went to a refresher course for something I know exactly how to do at work. Why, you might ask. None of your goddamn business, that’s why. (My manager thought it might do some good, and it is nice to leave the office every now and then.)
When I was there, however, I saw some worrying trends.
The course – which dealt with something extremely elementary, in a system we all work with every day – was littered with familiar faces. Faces working there for 10, 20 and 30 years. And they were ooh-ing and aah-ing at every turn, asking a million questions. Concerning something they work with every day. Something that I could do in my sleep after six months here. (Me and many others!)
First of all, don’t stop reading! I’m not just being an arrogant asshole. (No more than usual, at least.) I’m mentioning this because if you’ve had a job for 10 years longer than me, you damn well better be good at it! I’m not a prodigy at all – and no, I didn’t receive any state of the art intro course when I started here – I just do my damn job and retain basic information! And if you’re flabbergasted by courses like these after 10 years; you haven’t been doing yours. You’re incompetent. The very definition of it.
I realize this is a sore subject, especially in countries where the unemployment rate is up; but it’s still necessary to talk about. People are getting replaced all the time and sometimes it’s for a good reason. The world is changing, and some of us simply refuse to change with it. Stop!
I hear it everyday. People complain about their wages, about younger workers and how cynical and cruel the workplace is. Sure, it’s a dog eat dog world, but please think before you say things like this! If you’re anything like those morons taking the refresher course with me, you have no right to complain! You’re responsible for your own life and you control your own work ethic! Like I said earlier; many of us can do these things in our sleep after being here for three, six or nine months.
Everyone has so much to do, everything is so hard and the pay sucks. Okay… But when a new person is hired to do your job and does it twice as efficiently as you, that’s wrong too? Are you high?
I often see this when we hire temp workers. Some ancient thing has been doing his or her job for 30+ years, complaining every single day in the process. Why doesn’t the management care about me? Why can’t we talk about my work, and discuss how hard it is, even though everyone here has more or less the same job.
And then that person falls ill (but of course, work was killing him/her) and a young temp is hired. The temp then starts complaining because the job is easy and boring, and the workload is done by lunch on Wednesday. This is an actual example, folks. What’s wrong with this picture? I’ve seen firsthand people refusing to learn new things, while cursing out the younger staff for having ‘fancy degrees’ and ‘a sense of entitlement’ or whatever. Just stop!
I agree that holding the same dead end job for 40+ years deserve some kind of commendation (paid funeral services at least), but you’re not just automatically whisked up the corporate ladder. You need to take mattes into your own hands sometimes. Sure, you can be hired with lofty promises of promotions and raises, but if ten years have gone by; you know you’re not getting it. And you’re growing bitter and resentful as well.
I’m going to end this on a (slightly) more positive note, and offer a hypothesis as well as some advice. (This will probably never reach the eyes of the people I’m talking about, but hey; I’m an optimist!)
Doing the same thing day in and day out is nobody’s idea of fun. And in boring office jobs, we all peak pretty damn early. I’d been through everything the job had to offer after a year or so. That’s when we stop retaining information, too, I think. After we peak, we just don’t care all that much anymore. Shortcuts are forgotten, new programs are promptly ignored and bright young hires are frowned upon, as if they were some virus coming to take over. I know this because I’m falling victim to it as well. But it’s never too late! If work is killing you, why not really, really pay attention to the refresher course? Why not retain the knowledge needed to make your job a little easier? Grab a cup of coffee with the new temp and show him/her that you have wisdom to share. When I started working here, people sometimes asked me for tips, and it made me feel very welcome. Nobody likes a bitter person, and nobody likes an incompetent person.
And do your damn job!
– Robert ‘I’ll do it tomorrow’ Bishop