Thursday, August 30, 2012

Do Managers Merit Admiration?

"Look at me, you fools!"
As I settle into a retired, more gratifying lifestyle, I am in a perpetual state of disbelief. I've never been in a situation where I am not working and not looking for a job. The fact that I never have to return to my workplace of nearly eighteen years seems totally unbelievable.

In my last year at work, the environment deteriorated completely. The element of forced scheduling and overwork certainly  were contributing factors but these alone do not explain how the relationships between my own immediate superiors and myself eroded so rapidly and thoroughly.

I have come to realize that when the iron fists emerges from the velvet glove all the veneer of civility falls away. As a worker, I lost my subtlety as well. No longer could I go through the motions of a devoted employee when we were under such blatant attack. The glue that held the precarious employer/employee relationship together in the past was gone. A huge component of that glue consists of the qualities of admiration and emulation which management types rely onto do their dirty work. No matter how bitter the pills are, that underlings are expected to swallow, many swallow them readily because, someday they would like to be the ones distributing them. When it is clear that a worker holds no desire to climb that ladder they are on, management has no more carrot. They are left only with the stick.

 I admire and wish to emulate many people. Among them are writers, artists, musicians and political activists. I admire all kinds of scientists, doctors, professors and intellectuals putting forth interesting hypotheses and theories. You know, people who actually accomplish something. They do not have to achieve mainstream "success" to earn my admiration, only to be engaged in worthwhile pursuits.

I have zero admiration for people whose main goal is to get others to perform tasks for them. Managers are no more than puppeteers who reap the rewards of manipulation and deception while profiting off the labor of others, an inherently repellent idea whose time has come and gone.