Sunday, 7 June 2009

It makes me so angry...

...and confused.

We have all felt frustrated with a large (or small) company before, after an experience with a sales person, a service person, a help desk or even website. Why does this happen? Why do large groups of people (a business) cooperating (somewhat) on a common goal (to provide a service or product for a fee) but then fail so miserably so consistently in achieving that goal? Are they all incompetent? Well, some people plainly are, whether aware of it or not, but I'm not sure that's the reason in most cases. Are they evil? Perhaps we'd like to think so... that we're running into the BOFH every single time, but alas there is only so many and they can't have taken over civilization yet.

I think, for the most part, it's a matter of a lack of respect for one's own work, our preoccupation on money, and, often, simple miscommunication.

Too many people in too many jobs are there because they simply need a job. They may or may not have been well-trained for their position but, however they go there, they're there now and they're not moving. It's almost as if, in today's Western society (at least in the USA and Canada), no one can actually LIKE their job. I enjoy being a librarian but I feel almost guilty telling anyone other than a librarian that. If you don't like your job, or at least keep saying you don't, you will certainly limit your motivation for doing it well. You can only say TGIF so many times before you start calling in sick on Monday.

Along with our lack of preoccupation with our work is our preoccupation with the reason why we're there: Money. We are constantly needing things and therefore needing money. Again, I'm made to feel awkward (which I don't mind, because I'm just weird like that) when I say my family doesn't have cable TV (and therefore any TV at all). We "need" all these standard "trappings" of society. They may be different around the world but we all have them and the West has them in spades. I think it's getting better but it's not reached "good" yet. This preoccupation with money keeps ours eyes on the prize instead of where we're running and the people we trip over on the way.

In the end though, miscommunication is to blame for much of these problems we have with businesses. Face it, we are none of us experts at communication. Even between two people who speak the same language, come from the same culture and have the same expectations can get tripped up on the words we use to collaborate and transfer data. As a librarian, I know full well how difficult people find it to simply explain what they need help with. Many people are too busy trying to convince me that they don't need help to get their question out in a understandable way. We have a hard time seeing things from another persons perspective, especially when those "things" are the words flying out of our mouths.

So the moral of the story is:
  1. Find a job you like, or like the one you have (as much as you can);
  2. Chill out about money... you don't need as much as you think; and
  3. Think about your communication a little more - you may be surprised at the difference between what you're saying and what you think you're saying.
Of course, sometimes, it is their fault. Give 'em hell! lol
[ Inspired by an article from Mon Jul 30 2007 entitled "Dell Tries To Repair $10 Battery, Hoses $150 Video Card" from "The Consumerist" ]


Jenn B said...

It's rare that you would get a job that you like. I know for me, personally, it's not the actual work that I don't enjoy most's the other people and work place. When I was coding, I could lose hours...check thousands of lines for one small typo. I felt like I was drawing with code...creating. I love programming.

The co-workers, the BS when you're working and the politics that you have to deal with. All the "extra" at work is why work feels like work. That makes many people hate what it is they're doing.

You should write a piece about why anxiety and depression mood disorders are on the rise in the work place and that more and more people are off on long-term like myself.

Anyways, I rambled. Once upon a time I had a point to this I can't remember it.

Matthew said...

You're absolutely right that too many times other things interfere with our enjoyment of our work but it's also true that too many of us think that it's just not possible or somehow not right that we should like the work we do. This is caused by all sorts of things: the education system not preparing us fully, too few people with enough financial security to take the time to figure out what they want to do, parents giving their children less and less freedom to try things out, and a society that devalues intelligence and creativity while at the same time views mistakes as unforgivable.

That's a good idea for a paper though. I am certainly not the person to write it but I can search around (with my super-duper librariany powers) to see if someone else already has.