What Thomas is saying here is actually pretty important. The kind of workplace integrity that he sees in Carol is actually becoming very rare. It’s something he recognizes as a quality he lacks. On other occasions he’s even argued against it because the world is rarely ever so clean cut as to make any one position constantly correct. In my opinion it’s a systematic failure. As companies begin to value their employees less and less said employees, in turn, begin to value their jobs less and less. Even in our currently crippled job market very few people seem to actually value their employment. Of course that’s based on what I’ve seen. Maybe there are places in the country where things are getting better. I wouldn’t know. The long and short of it all is that if a business does right by its employees they will do right by the business, for the most part. Or it was that way at one point. Since the system has been breaking down people have increasingly been of the mindset that they need to screw over the company they work for before the reverse happens. I can’t say I don’t see the logic in that either, but it’s a cycle of deterioration. Until one side decides to make a stand against the deterioration of that social contract things will keep getting worse. It’s not as simple as all that because you have to take into account a lot of outside factors, but this is the simplified state of things as I see it.
I think a lot of people in the world have little respect for anything anymore, themselves included….
I think it is really that simple, sadly. People used to value their job and their workplace, because they knew it would be there. Then it went full circle and back to the bosses not caring. Layoff the longtime employee to save some money? Sure thing!
Made worse when you work for a union. Value a senior member who doesn’t care versus the less senor member who’s a hard worker. Well, maybe not value less, but treated as such.
It’s become a lose lose situation. Why for instance give a work place a two week notice, when they won’t give you a days notice?
This kinda reminds me of when I first took the job of Door to Door Charity Sales, we had someone explain the rules for D2DCS for about 30 mins, then we had our photo ID taken before we driven to a location, given a map of our idea and told to be back at a certain location by 7pm, four new people including myself were dropped off and only myself and one other showed up at 7pm, the other two quit hours earlier.
Most people who apply for D2DCS will quit either by the first day, the first week or maybe the first month, the small remain percentage will end up working there for years.
I’ve been known for this, at every job I’ve held. But what was really funny about it were the managers who didn’t care, or worse, were actually offended by it. I’ve been forced out of jobs because my manager would literally tell me to stop doing everything on my own, that I needed to go sit and read a book until s/he came and told me what needed doing (and told me to stop slacking by reading). Or when the lazy, unreliable associate starts complaining about you, because you do too much and make the job look too easy, and you are reprimanded for stepping on toes or not respecting coworkers.
I think there are alot of complicated reasons we got this way but one of the big ones is probably size. Due to the way our laws are structured, bigger businesses get even more advantages than they ought to, and they dominate the market, and also train many of the managers that later go to the small businesses (taking their bad habits with them). When you have a half-dozen levels of management between you and corporate, no one making the rules has any clue what they are doing, so the goal is only to do “good enough” to survive day to day, not to seize the opportunity to do well.
As a person I know once said:
“We don’t like excellence anymore. It makes the stupid people who run everything look bad. The modern world prefers someone who half-asses everything and keeps the powers that be happy over an achiever who makes his boss realize that he doesn’t actually know what he’s doing.”
That is the best summation of my work experience. Terrifying…
I know that feeling. Worked in retail for a while and quickly realized they would rather pay for a bunch of half-asses then have consistent people they know will get the job done.
Which is the main reason I was never able to make it in corporate America. Getting used, abused and dumped on was never my favorite thing.
I’ve worked as a grill cook for the same owner/operator for almost 14 years now. All but one of his employees have been with him for over 6 years (make that almost 10 for the kitchen crew.) He treats his people fairly well, pays well over minimum wage, and I get a free lunch every day.Sure, it’s “flipping burgers.” But they’re the best burgers in town, and the people working here are willing to give that little extra because the boss is willing to give.
I could be making more money, but it would cost me too much to do so.
Reggie could learn a thing or two about dedication from Carol.
Reggie doesn’t need dedication, more than he does a reality check. His arrogance blinds him from noticing his greatest performance flaw–absolute clumsiness–and making him a decent employee. The gloating is a mere obnoxious habit which, if chance leads up to this, Nina will ultimately help to break.
As for the greater picture, Reggie Boothe is the most professional employee in the dying retail shop. He comes in slacks, a leather belt, a company polo, and his nametag pin, all whilst managing to arrive on time. His fascist standards for work must impress Carol even under all the bitchy disgust she displays when he kisses her ass. As a matter of fact, I’ve never seen a single frame in which Reggie was either: (A) slow in his tasks; (B) aggravated Carol by poorly completing tasks; or (C) slacking off on the clock. This guy is nothing more than a cocky drone, like I would be if I wasn’t annoyed and sarcastic at my job(s).
What his character really needs to do is to stop being clumsy, stop gloating, have enough humility to ask questions, and seek full time employment (period). He has a long way to go if he’s ever going to redeem himself in his father’s eyes, and he’ll need to ask the field experts when he becomes clueless, no matter how painfully stupid you’ll appear to them. However, cockiness is a part of his being, and he could use that to combat Carol and the Megatainment Crew whenever they gang up on him (given he finds a little more wit and insults to use). In the end, I don’t think Reginald is a wholly bad person; just a flawed person with an idiotic mouth.
Yes — I think you’ve pretty much nailed Reggie’s personality. Very insightful.
I’ve worked over half a decade as a cashier now. Not quite sure how I got this way or what happened to me, except a lack of clear goals and direction I suppose. My first real job was working at a smallish bookstore chain in the Bay area. It was a good place to start. Most everyone was friendly and for some reason I felt like my opinion was both needed and valued by the customers and the people I worked for. Since then?
I’ve worked for Fred Meyer…which was incredibly demeaning in a corporate, uncaring fashion. I quit after five months and a severe repetitive motion injury. After that I worked for a small marketplace convenience type store for a while and after that I worked for Home Depot.
The corporate attitude towards lower level employees is sickening. You are a replaceable cog in a machine that only cares if you are well oiled and functioning to their designs. I have never EVER felt so small as when I worked for them. In fact, their standard MO is to hire part time people for the temporary period and let them go after, just to save money on wages. If you can get past the seasonal stage you become part time, which nets you less then thirty hours a week.
Did I value my job there? Hell no. They didn’t care about me and they showed it by how they treat their employees, so I sure as hell didn’t care about them. How are you supposed to care about a corporation as big as that anyway? Especially if you are at the bottom rung of a very tall ladder? They care only about the bottom line and people are nothing more then a means to that end.
Life is a funny thing sometimes. I work for the state government now and I’ll take the inefficiency of a bureaucracy over the slimy corporate mindset any day of the week. At least now I’ve got job security….
I fall under the “too afraid to try” catagory. Something I’m bumbling through trying to rectify, namely, by finally getting into college after five years out of high school, and trying to improve my situation some. I’ve never had a lot of courage or “balls” as some would put it, and that’s not changed here. My brother and I are both going into college at the same time at the same school, we’ve done the whole process together (with our parents’ assistance of course) and he seems to be getting it. Understanding what is going on, and all that… but… I’m utterly lost! Completely lost! I’m kinda… going with the flow of things. There is a pattern everyone seems to have when they get into college, a pattern teachers and student aid folks have when they assist students into college… and I’m just kinda floating along it. I’m in. I’m going to college first thing in January, but I have no idea how, why, for what purpose, and one could say “well ask your teachers” “ask the student aid folks” but I have absolutely no idea what to ask, what I’m gunning for, what I will be doing in college other than “oh hey, going to college”. I love games, and since I was 10 wanted to be a game designer, and over the years thought it’d be great to be part of the graphics team, the guys that shape the world, place the rocks and trees and chest-high walls, but over time it seemed to me that while I love gaming, making my career out of it would make it FAST lose its luster, makes it a chore. Not to mention the sheer numbers of folks I’d be up against. I like to cook (and eat), but I have my own PERSONAL tastes that seem to match NO ONE (I don’t know anyone else who likes peanut butter and cheese sandwiches). Cooking is fun, and I’m ever-so-slowly learning more and more recipes, but that fast loses its appeal when I think about my skills being used to cook for people who don’t like food the way I do, don’t share my weird, often spicy, tastes (Vanilla black-pepper ice cream, try it). The only redeeming skill I feel I have is my love of numbers, and my friend suggested a College Professor in mathamatics or maybe a mathmatician, and I could easily work with that, but the volume of work I’d have to do to get there, just feels hopeless, and I get all defeated before even trying.
Anyway, you lot can just ignore this, really, just a nutter trying to collect himself by leaving a permanent reminder to himself of his insecurities.
“afraid to try” is a common link for a lot of folks, I think. Sounds like you were nurtured in the same environment as me. Nothing technically bad…people are supportive, and it’s not like you don’t have interests in things that could be marketable. It’s just so…risky to try any of it. Plus that, and who ever has ONE thing they love so much that they focus on that and only that? If they do, they’re LUCKY! I’ve never known what to focus on, honestly. I love writing, I could have at least TRIED to draw (too afraid to focus on just that), and anything else involving creating, designing, or just getting ideas out of my head. BUT…since I was too afraid to try to focus on any one thing, I’m not particularly good at ANY of those things, and so I’ve honed no skills.
I’m already through with the same college situation you’re getting into now, actually. I’m not even sure what to tell you – I had the same problem. I was going because…because. I tried focusing on a few things, one of them being teaching, first. That scared the hell out of me, because I didn’t want an unfocused mess like myself teaching students. I also didn’t want to get into it unless I was really going to try to change something, which is a stupid thing to promise yourself…I just don’t have that drive. I was afraid to get into teaching and become one of those asshats that didn’t care ’cause they were so wrecked by our education system. I can’t blame them, I guess, but it’s not like there wasn’t ample evidence of REAL teachers that did care.
Ah well…in any case, I understand you. Perhaps I’m not exactly the same as you, but I believe we’re coming from a similar situation under the banner of “too afraid to try.”
I had been thinking about something I could say for a few hours after I saw your post, and I think the shortest, sweetest thing I can say is something someone else told me.
For the next couple of months before you start school, consider two questions:
“If money were no object, what would you do?”
Don’t look farther down yet. Just let this one stew for a minute.
Okay, now look at the next question.
“How can you make your first million dollars doing it?”
I haven’t even started making money with my idea yet, but it has set me on a path that I know I will be satisfied with. Since I want to do it, and have considered how to be successful with it, I’m not as afraid to go down that path.
Yawnitz…. great advice.
CSD, you can always skip college.
Or postpone it.
Some argue that college is a waste unless you go into Science/Tech/Engineering/etc. which in some ways makes it a vocational school.
In other senses, college is less about what you learn in the classes versus what you learn outside and about yourself. So it can be valuable even if what you do in the class may not seem immediately valuable.
Just be warned that it is definitely quite expensive and you could surely take that same pile of cash and read many many books. Most people (myself included) paid for and didn’t get the most of what I paid for. After all, a college education is one of the most expensive things that we pay for and don’t get.
I went through engineering school then graduate school then have been working for eighteen years. A lot of it has felt like floating along and I recognize how much of the time I let my fears stop me from trying. I too have interests like you describe and I recognize the fear of doing that which seems interesting becoming ucky when you do it for a living.
My wake up call is being just past forty and having my wife leave. It’s made me have to face my fears and deal with them. I may not change jobs or where I live or anything, but at least I’ll become the master of my fears.
Coming back to you, you’re young and have time.
If you like cooking, do it. Make up a menu and invite everyone you know and charge them a cover charge to for your materials cost. You could make people an inventive meal for $5-10 a person. Do this weekly — have a dinner party for $5-10 a head. Or, seek out like minded mad culinary chefs and do a three or four course meal where each of you does a meal course and brings their SO. Make up a culinary jam session. Maybe it’ll be a career. Maybe it’s something you do in your free time for fun.
If you are interested in making games, do it. You don’t need EA; you can make them yourself. Tools are often free. Money to be made can be epic.
We live in an amazing time for the entrepreneur and it’s a good time to get through those fears.
There are tons of people writing out there about this kind of stuff; I’ve been enjoying James Altoucher. He has written a book about alternatives to college. Another of his i just started was “choose yourself”. His books are mainly self published, if you need another example of the DIY today makes possible.
Whatever you do, you’re young once and so don’t do anything that has permanent or long lasting consequences. Live cheaply. Don’t acquire a lot of junk. Develop your body. Develop your mind. Make good friendships. Fail often and frequently.
And I promise I’ll try to do the same.
I thought of a few somethings I meant to write and forgot to.
I tend to be afraid to try also because I didn’t know that the destination was somewhere I’d want to be.
But what’s most important to start moving in *some* direction. Planes, boats and cars can’t change direction unless they are moving.
And, the journey and destination aren’t always quite what you think they’ll be. As long as you are moving towards some goal, possibly very near term and small, possibly huge, you can course correct, you can change it.
Most of us don’t end up where we think we might. There are winds and waves and other people to steer around. And happy and unhappy accidents do happen.
But if nothing else, you build character and build confidence by making yourself take those steps. You meet people on the journey. And if you’re headed in a direction, people often show up to help you get there, especially if they think it’s cool.
Of course, big changes may scare the people around you. They may be afraid to lose you or whatever. Or your demonstrated courage may make them feel bad about their own inaction.
Do something amazing.
Corporate retail is BUILT on the idea of value-less employees.
Simple jobs are dumbed down to the point where anybody could do it, so that the management can find any excuse to fire people and keep turnover high. High turnover prevents employees from climbing too high on the pay scale; if someone does start getting decent money, they’re given a salaried position and then forced to work 50-60 hours a week.
I guess that’s what happens when most jobs anymore aren’t producing anything; most jobs are just selling things. Your work doesn’t matter that much when advertising stands in for reputation.
I work in automation and cybernetics… and yeah, people are being valued less. Working in most places is a pile of shit, because corporatism doesn’t really work when people aren’t needed… it doesn’t sustain people. Solutions for post-scarcity-transition are thin on the ground, and fascinating.
I have worked in several places where one individual helped tie the team together. When I worked Security at a nuke plant, my friend John, a low-level supervisor, helped keep the gang on the construction side of the house sane and functional for two years. He got mad and quit one night, and half the Second Shift followed him out the door within ten days.
After a round of Information Technology layoffs, morale at my previous employer started to get pretty bad, particularly in IT. Management told us we were ungrateful (!), and when a number of programers and analysts quit for greener pastures, Management said we “Had no loyalty.” Say what? When the opportunity arose, I jumped ship myself (for a $10K raise). Folks still working there a half-dozen years later say it isn’t much happier.
Summed up in two words:
I’ve worked in the service industry (retail mostly) for over ten years. I’ve seen my fair share of corporatism at every job. This is especially true from the last two jobs I’ve worked.
The latter of the two last less than three weeks. Having trouble finding work so I’m going to try starting a business.
I wish all of you the best of everything going forward.
Hope rings eternal.
Or as we call it at my work “Corporate Resources” because they don’t care about the employees. :p
Agreeing with everyone on this.
I worked at a grocery store as a cashier, they promised me a good amount of hours.
First two weeks were good, then I was only getting the minimum of ten hours. They also had this thing where higher ups could take the hours of people below them (Someone whose worked there a year can take all my hours until they hit fourty even if that leaves me with ten.) so if I got any hours they were taken. I ended up begging for hours only to get told there were none. A phone call happened every off day telling me to come in and when I’d refuse I always got a speech on how lazy I was. (I usually has plans on days off.)
Then they had a rush of hiring new people after me, hours were good until holiday season stopped and people started dropping like flies. I switched to night shifts hoping to get more hours and would even stay later in the night to get everything done. Well. Bad mistake. Tried getting off hours those hours and they threatened me saying they would be the only hours I could get.
That place was a joke. Managers would leave in busy moments telling their employees handle it cause I’m going home thirty minutes early, hours were always fucked up, and if you had worked there for so many months and did atleast twenty hours straight for some time you’d become full time. A privilege that made you sign saying you can work any hours on any day, meaning if they found out you were going to college or such they could drop your pay and take hours away..
I worked at a warehouse for a national niche company a couple summers in college. When I graduated, I started there again for lack of anything better. I ended up working there about 3 years total before leaving a few weeks ago. The entire time I worked there, I was considered a “seasonal” employee, despite working year-round. When we were busy, I got 40 hours and sometimes overtime, but never benefits of any kind. When we weren’t busy, I could be let go if work slacked off enough (and I was, once, only to be called and asked to return the next day). I applied for full-time (i.e., benefited) positions at least three times and was passed over each time. I stayed on when they filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy and closed down a warehouse on the East Coast. I stayed when they said they’d be closing down two more in other parts of the country. But when they said they’d be laying off nearly a dozen full-time workers…that was my cue to pack up and leave.
I’m now at a job where people enjoy working there. The company works hard to make sure its employees succeed, and as a result, the company succeeds. It’s not my dream job, but it’s one where I think I can be comfortable for a few years.
The employers/owners/investors and managers have the ultimate power and responsibility in this downward spiral between company and employee.
A lot of them don’t seem to realize that “you get what you pay for”, and this applies no more fully than when it comes to employees. Offer them barely sufficient living wages; and they will offer you barely sufficient effort. Offer them barely sufficient respect, and they will offer barely sufficient loyalty. Etc, etc.
Offer better, and the company still retains the power to terminate employment if the employee does not live up to their end of the social contract. Simple as that.
I think you hit the nail on the head there.
I suppose I was lucky: I found a job I loved in High School, and managed to earn enough money doing it for the next 30 years. I was a programmer working for both big companies and little ones until I retired at 47. I also had to turn down raises and ‘promotions’ to management, often enough that I have become difficult to employ – but what has always been necessary to my work (and to pleasing the people I worked with) was that I enjoyed what I was doing.
No, the big companies rarely appreciate it, but the little ones (who can’t pay as much) really do like having someone who loves their job and wants to do it well.
I think that ultimately a big part of the problem is lack of feedback. The people making the decisions – even if you assume they want to do the right thing – usually have no idea what is really going on … and often work very hard at insulating themselves from finding out (I’m guessing they think of it as necessary security). Couple that with institutional inertia and most people being some catastrophic combination of overworked (surprisingly, this often includes top management) and constantly distracted …
My pessimistic side says we’re doomed as a culture and possibly on the verge of extinction, but he’s never between failures – maybe we’re on the verge of evolving or growing-up … things like the US “tea-party” movement (though I disagree with most of what they appear to believe) and the “occupy” movement (though it didn’t appear that they had any chance of accomplishing anything, or even that I would have liked it if they had) could be interpreted as signs that people in the US are waking up … if pessimist would stop muttering about the terrible things that could lead to, I’d sleep a lot better …
Time to terminate tonights tangential text torrent :-)
US “tea-party” movement (though I disagree with most of what they appear to believe) So you don’t believe the average American is “Taxed Enough Already”?