May 2, 2006

Why Bother to Save You will Always Have A Job, Right?

Photo courtsey of This isn't a post about job security. It is a post about having some choices in your life. Too often, we get deluded into thinking we have to a particular job because of the choices we make. There is nothing inherently wrong with jobs or bosses. I'm not some anti-establishment nutcase, its just that a job is a job. It is not a crusade or a cause. I sell my time and I get paid. That's it. What got me to thinking about this was a tee-shirt I saw while I was waiting for a fellow to arrive at my building for a meeting. Since he was from out of town I decided to wait for him at the guard station in the lobby of the building where I work. We have super-duper security at our building. Evidently, there are underworld bosses and international criminals who would love to gain access to our building, but are kept at bay by the crack security team, manning our facility. Of course, the real shrewd criminal minds might notice that there is no guard at the back door and ask one of the dozen or so smokers back there to just let them in. I know it would work because that is how I get in when I forget my ID at home. But I digress. Anyway, this tee-shirt was worn by an employee of a telecommunications call center that is located on the 5th floor of my building. It employs mainly 20-somethings, a few middle-aged people and a handful of folks who look to be retirees. The shirt had printing on the back asking, "How will U?", the U? being a give away that we are dealing with a mostly younger crowd. The question "How will U?" was followed by a litany of question completers such as "maintain customer integrity" or "provide excellent service". So that the complete question was "How will U maintain customer integrity?" Or "How will U provide excellent service?" You get the picture. I'm guessing that the list is their way of motivating the workers. How putting it on a shirt makes this happen is a mystery to me, especially if you print it on the back. I'm not big on motivational gimmickery. I believe that if the boss lives what is preached the underlings (me) will get the picture. I once worked for a company that tried to adopt the slogan, "Go For It". They never were clear about what IT would look like or how I was supposed to "Go For IT!", or even what IT! was, but we got cups and shirts and pen emblazoned with the motto. I knew it was a failure when I went into an Arby's restaurant in San Diego and they had a giant "Go For It" banner hung across the front of the building. For at moment I imagined that my multibillion dollar tech company had bought an Arbys. Visions of great employee dicounts danced in my head. At least at Arby's the kid was able to tell me that it was a message to the customers to buy more stuff. You know, biggie-size it. Over time our motto was relegated to the graveyard of bad slogans and replaced by its ugly cousin. My real issue is having to work for people who think that making up slogans will drive how I behave. I choose not to participate, thanks. I absolutely won't wear a tee-shirt with some corporate baloney on it, but that's just me. I will show up, I will do my job, I won't cause (too much) trouble, but my pom-poms are retired. Join in the crusade? I'm out. The reason that I can make this brash assertion is that I don't burden myself with debt that forces me to participate. Neither should you. When you are working today to pay for stuff you bought in the past, it limits your options. It makes you the man's hostage (a little hip lingo). So please, I implore you to clear out your excess stuff and take back your life. We all have to work to live, but we don't need to be slaves. There are few things worse than having to endure corporate minds games so that you can drive that new car. Jobs are everywhere, you only have one life.

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