Wednesday, June 18, 2014

The Panda Bear on Unengaged Workers, Capitalistic Socialism, and Job Interviews

The Panda Bear has found an article from a learned professor and former CEO called Fixing the 'I Hate Work Blues' on the Harvard Business School website.   It describes how most first level workers feel overworked and underappreciated.     They feel micromanaged and are disengaged from their jobs.    The article says poor worker morale hurts the organization.   Managers need to learn how to lead rather than nitpick at their workers.

The Panda Bear Blog is a blog by a humble first level employee who agrees with the article as she experiences these problems in her work day first hand.   She feels that all her energies are going to a job that is stressful and has gotten stale.   She feels more workers need to come out and express their dissatisfaction for there to be a change for the better in the nature of employment.

 Many social critics have complained that the US has gotten somewhat socialistic in that there is an alliance between business and the government.   The Panda Bear thinks the US has gone socialist with a certain lower level segment of the workforce.   We aren't supposed to be working for our own advancement and welfare but for the "good of society".   Growing up the Panda Bear always heard the idea of working for the social good while sounded nice in theory did not work in practice; workers did their best when they felt they profited from own efforts.

 However many workers the Panda Bear talks to nowadays feel that projects that may improve things for the organization are nothing but more work for and pressure for them.   The Panda Bear might accept some idea of working for the good of the society.   However, the Panda Bear feels that the rewards that she is not getting in terms of money and respect are not going to the disadvantaged but to higher ups who make a lot of money and coworkers who don't treat her very well.

The Panda Bear got this joke on Facebook from the Occupy movement.    The question is how many capitalists (the joke also works if you use the term manager) does it take to change a light bulb.   The answer is none-it takes workers.    (Another statement she got from Facebook from the AFL-CIO she liked was "If you can read a book thank a teacher, if you can read a book at night thank an electrician."). 

 Of course the problems of the employed are made worse by the high unemployment rate.   Employers feel little incentive to change because turnover is low.  Employees are supposed to be happily (happy that they have jobs) unhappy (they don't like their job and don't want to be there).   In a previous post, the Panda Bear stated that a high unemployment rate benefited the military in that military gets a steady supply of recruits because they can't find other employers.   A high unemployment rate also benefits employers.  Labor costs are kept low.   Managers don't have to constantly be recruiting and replacing employees.   Salaries are kept down.   In the Panda Bear's experience, employers are much nicer to employees when there is a high turnover.

As readers of the Panda Bear Blog know, the Panda Bear herself embarked on a job search when the office forbade the workers to have plants (micromanagement).   The Panda Bear has not yet found a job but she has been getting interviews which she has heard some people cannot get.  The Panda Bear has been in her job for nine years.   In a good economy she thinks the shelf life of her job would be four to six years. 

 The Panda Bear has found some elements of the interviewing process have change in the past nine years.   It has improved in that there is an initial phone interview where in the past first interviews were always done in person which required the Panda Bear to take time off from work. 

 In the beginning of the post, the Panda Bear said employees felt unappreciated for the hard work they do.  When going for interviews, the Panda Bear has heard from managers of other organizations that the Panda Bear has a heavier than average workload for the industry.   However, the Panda Bear hears no praise for this when she is at work.   The managers somehow make one feel stupid for working so hard.   Instead of thanking the employees for their hard work, the managers say they will automate the process to make it easier making the Panda Bear feel like she is stupid for doing so much.

 Since it a tight job market, the Panda Bear is trying to interview with as many organizations as possible to get practice interviewing so she would seem more smooth(in the past when the Panda Bear had a job she could be somewhat selective about interviews).   This strategy appears to be working as last week the Panda Bear went on an interview where the manager said she seemed very relaxed for the interview.  

 The Panda Bear has heard that it is a terrible mistake to seem nervous at an interview.   In general the Panda Bear has heard that at work one is supposed to exude confidence.   However, the Panda Bear thinks she has discovered a major problem in US industry.   It is overly concerned with "approach" not with results.   The Panda Bear has seem extremely incompetent people say they know everything; they get jobs and fail.   Some highly qualified people appreciate the risks and know their limits but don't get jobs because they seem apprehensive.   To paraphrase Alexander Pope-fools can rush in where wise people fear to tread.










  1. Good luck in your job search, PB. I hope you find something real soon!

  2. I love this post. Some key points: employers treat you better witg a high turnover---yes! AND No! Some employers want to increase turnover to get rid of "dead wood" and replace them with lower paid younger workers.

    Traditionally in Japan hard work is often returned by company loyalty and generosity, not so here. As you say, a hard worker is given more work and criticized for not doing it right while others are left alone.

  3. I agree with you-companies often want to get rid of older workers and replace them with cheaper and younger ones.

    What you said about Japan used to be more true for the US. When I started working in the 1980s I saw the end of the nice corporation-people were promoted from the inside and loyalty was reward. Indeed I was a company person-this is the subject for the next blog post.