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Discussion in 'The Observation Bar' started by PrettySquareGal, Jun 2, 2017.
That's a twist.
I agree...but a predictable one. In todays society, "everyone is special" "everyone gets an award" predominates, in their mind the workers are every bit as good as the "owners of the shop" as they say. Wonder how they feel when the owers decide to stop signing their checks........perhaps THEY could put in a little more effort and start their own shop.......but what am I thinking...THEN they would have to deal with themselves and others like them.....the buisness would not last long.
As an aside it was pointed out earlier how others with this "all about me" attitude, tend to be the most oppressive managers who keep saying "we are all the same" anyway............and never really get it. They usually end up firing everyone in the end and bringing in cheaper labor (or going out of buisness). So much for being the same.......
What I noticed over the past 30 years in business is that - on the surface - the bosses now try to act like one of the worker bees and the worker bees don't try to pattern themselves after the bosses.
When I started, bosses (today, "managers" or "the leadership team") projected an image of authority in their actions, attitude and attire, as if to say, I'm a leader with skills and talents that has earned this position and will advance this company. Also back then, many workers - those looking to advance - emulated the bosses in attitude (adjusted for their position in the company) and attire (adjusted for their income).
Since that's no longer the prevailing (how would a Millennial say it, oh yes) meme, it is not surprising that the above story with the well-dressed female manager happened. She wasn't playing by the new "rules" / the new norm.
I have observed those things in places where I've worked over the last 50 years. But then, I've always worked in small companies, less than 200 employees and usually smaller. That is, in the location I've worked in. Circumstances and situations have varied a great deal, of course. Those in so-called management positions that I've seen deserve their positions, if not necessarily their income, and they always have more responsibility than others. They're the ones who get called in the middle of the night when the alarm goes off. They're the ones who have to charm the big clients and the bankers. And often as not, they're the ones who are still there at 7:00 PM.
As far as the "everyone is special" and everyone gets an award thing goes, I simply haven't seen it. Don't confuse recognition for achievement with recognition for participation. Simply participating in something is something when most don't make the effort to do much of anything. As far as everyone is special goes, how would you like to be told you're ordinary. There's nothing special about you. Get lost! We're going to have an awards banquet next Thursday and the only ones who'll be there are those who won an award. All three of them.
I've worked for some small private partnerships (back when Wall Street still had those) and several of the world's largest financial companies and, in most cases, those in upper management (the senior people) very, very much belong there based on their talent, intelligence, in-depth knowledge of the company and broader business environment and willingness to work insanely hard. Every once in a rare while, someone will get into a very senior position that is over their head. In large companies, that mistake usually gets corrected reasonably quickly; in smaller ones, they can sometimes survive longer because someone is protecting them or the culture is not to fire unless absolutely necessary.
I've found it impressive to meet these people. You quickly realize they are incredibly smart - they carry a wealth of information around in their head and can analyze complex situations quickly while offering up not-obvious solutions to intricate problems and challenges. I once spent a few days traveling to branch offices with the president of a major brokerage firm. His day was insane as he, basically, was always being called and emailed on pretty complex and critical issues - on many unrelated topics and projects - and he had answers or smart directions for next steps for all of them. I was exhausted just watching him do his job. As noted, there are one-off exceptions, but overall, I've been incredibly impressed with the senior most people in the businesses I've worked in.
You are right, being a business manager is easy if you have the talent for it. As an example, I was running a very busy distribution company within a large conglomerate. The way I did it was always hands on. Get in there with the workers, get to know them, be friendly but take no crap. Unbeknown to me, I had developed a habit akin to my old headmaster. His habit was to stare at you over the top of his glasses if he thought that you were coming out with a load of B/S. So if one of my staff gave me a fictional tale, I would just stare at them over the top of my specs. After they had squirmed for a while I would say: "You ****ing what?"
Using a profanity isn't something that I would ever recommend, but my staff knew that if I swore it was the same as an instant and swift kick in the pants. But I knew every one of my staff and those who were more of a sensitive nature wouldn't get sworn at. They got something like: "From you, I expected something better." I would then turn and walk away before they could respond.
The guy who followed me, when I was promoted to another contract elsewhere, was my former salesman. He was convinced that the manager's job was a breeze. He had worked with me for almost three years, saw how I operated, no problem. He lasted about eighteen months, by which time he was almost a candidate for the funny farm. The staff intimidated him, he lost their respect, in truth he was out of his depth. Fortunately his regional manager saw the problem and moved him back to sales where he shone once more.
Heaven forbid managers lower themselves down to the level of the plebs. Tsk, tsk.
(That is said tongue in cheek.)
One of the important opportunities in a job interview is to see what the potential culture of a job is. I always look at dress, and I dress as (the upper end for the culture) of myself. I always check out what others are wearing and I take note about the culture, etc. If I don't like the culture (and I'm not desperate for work) I don't take the job.
Honestly, if you like to wear three piece suits everyday and your interviewers are dressed in jeans and polos, you have the answer as what you are "expected" to wear... is it honestly that hard to notice?
We can moan about the "destruction" of formal dress all we want, but unless we all think we're some special case, we need to reasonably reflect the culture of our workplaces.
I've spent my whole working life avoiding hierarchical workplaces because I fundamentally don't believe in them. Don't come around and tell me you're entitled to my respect because of the suit you're wearing or the nameplate on your door, because that's not how you get it. The only "bosses" I've respected in my life, and there haven't been many of them, are the ones who muck right in with everyone else when there's dirty work to be done. I'll work with you, I'll work alongside you, but I sure as spit won't work "for" you.
It's also been my experience, especially in radio, that the higher you go the emptier the head. Most high-level broadcasting executives got there thru the sales department, and may very well have silver tongues when it comes to closing the deal -- but they are, at least the ones I've known, generally shallow-minded, venal, and rather stupid when it comes to anything else. I never met a radio executive, at any level, that I genuinely respected. That I finally couldn't stand to be around their kind any longer is a major reason why I got out of that racket.
But they did have nice suits, except for the spray-tanned coke-sniffer in the aqua sport coat.
How interesting! Some of the things described here are the Peter Principle personified. I've had the good fortune to work for a few bosses who were absolutely wonderful to work for. None were perfect and you shouldn't expect that. I worked for my previous boss for eighteen years, with both of us doing the same job the whole time without a different title or anything. But that's fine. I've pretty much done the same thing everywhere I've worked and I'm still doing it (at 71). My boss retired and I didn't. I have expectations of retiring but no plans. A good boss will both praise and criticize but the criticism shouldn't belittle or occur in front of others. He never lost his temper and I sometimes gave him reason to. I have lost mine a few times over the years, though. He could sure talk and would start repeating himself sooner or later. He was not a good listener, however, and there was a communication problem--in person. He was also not very good at showing someone how to do something and you might have to figure something out on your own. His understanding of new technology was very good (he was an electrical engineer) and his managing of the financial aspect of the business was invaluable, too (he had his MBA), but he still deferred to me in many ways and did not micromanage. He put as much effort into managing his boss, the owner, as he did in managing his staff. Now he gone and I've lost my best helper.
The most personable boss I ever had, who was a CPA, was married to a local politician. I found that interesting. Overall, the best qualities in people I've worked with was the ability to simply get along with the other employees. A few were difficult and they never lasted long, no matter what their other qualities. How people dressed and stuff like that never entered into matters but I can see how it could under certain circumstances. I have noticed that people tend to dress differently according to their ages, though, but not much. A few employees had problems with showing up on time, which was apparently a sign of other problems. They didn't last long either.
Finally, today I got a card from a sister of someone I worked with for nearly fifteen years and with whom I kept in touch with ever since, which has been about 25 years. This person, who lived just a few miles from me, passed away at 81. I have moved up one place in the line.
Every boss has to earn my respect as he/she should expect - just like I have to earn their's. Businesses are structured hierarchal - they are, effectively circumscribed-by-law dictatorships / they are not democracies or communes.
Today, many businesses present themselves as "flat" or "not political," and to a degree that can be true, but in the end, they are hierarchal legal constructs that have bosses. In our society, the freedom you have is to choose where to work, but once you join a company - you either play by its rules or, eventually, you'll be out.
I'm have no familiarity with the radio business, but - and I'm just going to say it - it has been in decline for fifty-plus years, which means it attracts certain types of bosses and people versus say tech today which is still in ascent. I wonder if you haven't, unfortunately, had exposure to only one type of business - one in decline with those bosses who choose to stay in that type of environment. It can color one's opinion. I've worked in finance in up waves and down ones and for growing and shrinking businesses - the experience and the people you work for are very different in those situations.
I think, just from my experience in the movie exhibition/stage entertainment business since leaving radio, that it might be that show business itself tends to attract a certain type of cheesy narcissist in high-level positions. Nothing I've heard from people who've worked in music or television would lead me to think those aspects of the business are any different. I respect the rank-and-file performers, and the IATSE people who make the shows happen, but the agents and the promoters and the money types are not the kind of people I'd have in my house.
I worked siderially in the tech sector for a few years when I was supporting myself as a freelance writer -- I wasn't exactly an employee of a tech company, but I did do work for some of them, and went to the occasional trade show/conference to gather material. I found a great many waxen-faced smile-and-a-shoeshine Boys From Marketing clowns in the business then -- then being the late 1990s -- and I don't imagine it's much different now, except that the clowns are wearing sneakers and ironic moustaches as they babble about their "startups." Some of the stuff coming out recently about the workplace culture in some of these types of companies will curdle your breakfast.
Seems to me there are only two types of boss: the one you obey because they sign the cheques and you need the money, and the one to whom you are loyal because they have earned your respect. I've been veyr lucky to have had more of the latter than the former.
"Charmed existence" is a mild way of describing what I had to deal with regarding bosses (supervisors and division chiefs): in over three decades there were a grand total of two- both division chiefs- who were unmitigated jerks. All supervisory positions for attorneys in the office were, of course, held by other attorneys. The first of the two was essentially a favor currier who was of no help to his subordinates in any professional sense whatsoever: after an early retirement he developed some serious health issues that he really didn't deserve to face. I regard him in the grand scheme to be less of a problem and more of a minor nuisance.
The second guy was a different story. He was both a rotten individual and rotten excuse for a lawyer: the general consensus was that he couldn't litigate his way out of a used condom. and his management style consisted mainly of treating favorites with kid gloves while using everyone else as a public lavatory. He was a bully, a thug, and in dealing with his higher ups, he was aptly described by someone else in management as, ".. an obsequious, sycophantic punk." I put up with his nonsense for nearly ten years in one form or another. Finally, I had enough, transferred out, and although he tried to whine to the higher ups as to his personnel shortage needs, the approval was given by the office director pursuant to the provisions of our collective bargaining agreement.
About nine years later he ended up taking his life while awaiting trial on 26 felony counts including several each counts of aggravated criminal sexual assault (rape), aggravated kidnaping, armed violence, and aggravated domestic violence... and facing a minimum of six years in prison. His wife of over 30 years had also left him for a younger guy. I'm leaving out a lot of the gory details here, but what's funny is that even until the very end, when all of the sordid facts came to light, there were still those in the office who felt that he the victim of false accusations. I was asked, "Well, would you wish any of this on him?" All I could really say in response is that I am not imaginative enough to have dreamed up what transpired. He and I went back to the first day of night law school classes, and I likely knew him better than anyone. All I can say is that if an individual is a bully and a coward, you can learn about it really quickly... and that karma really is a bitch.
I've worked for great bosses and poor ones. (The worse boss I ever worked for had slept with a number of his assistants and assumed I'd be, well, next. Not my best job.)
Having taught in IT, I'm not surprised by anything coming out of Silicone valley. The culture is toxic.
Not so long ago, yewts aspired to be adults. No longer the case. Where did all the adults go?
Part of it, IMHO, is technology - technology prowess - replaced experience as the most valuable surface commodity at work. When I started, the technology was simple and everyone could work it - so those with experience were the most valuable and they, obviously, were older. Now, you'll see fifty year old men and women waiting next to a 20 year old's cubicle for help with their computer. It turned the age / experience / valuable employee dynamic upside down (obviously, to an extent only).
Also, the "youth culture" etc., undid the cultural meme that, in general, respected age. As those of the "pre-youth-is-great" culture retired, the next generation didn't have the same view and didn't "enforce" or advocate for an age-respectful view. Nor were the kids now in their 20s (and even 30s) raised the way older generations were - with a strong and enforced respect for their elders. The older generation carried a default setting of respect for "age / experience" into the workplace in a way today's younger workers don't
But aren't most people "ordinary" by virtue of the definition of "ordinary?" In fact, there's nothing special about them. Why pretend otherwise? Try to learn from the extraordinary rather than smolder with envy and resentment.
Regarding attitudes toward execs, business culture, and so forth, I suppose that we all have our own opinions about how things should be.
But a little self-reflection can be apropos. For someone whose life is going well, then perhaps stay on course. For someone who is an embittered, impoverished curmudgeon, who has minimal success in the workplace, who lets 'em have it with a tell-em-off attitude, perhaps an adjustment could be helpful. Some attitudes are self-defeating -- especially in the workplace -- as they contravene a flourishing life (Aristotle's eudaimonia).
Fair enough but no one likes to be called common. Are you like everyone else and in no unique?
I realize that this thread is about work but the other day I was on the local college campus and was more than a little appalled at the state of dress. When I was in school it was nice slacks and button up shirts with likely as not a sport coat thrown in...not shorts , mukluk boots and raggedy t shirt. Pride in oneself has seemingly moved to greener pastures.