Tuesday, July 15, 2014

The Panda Bear on July 4th, the Office and Out-of-Touch Psychologists

Before the Panda Bear gets into her post she would like to offer prayers for world peace.   War is a terrible thing.   She can understand that countries need to defend themselves but she thinks war should always be a last resort.

 The Panda Bear would like to share this Op Ed piece by Mortimer Zuckerman in the Wall Street about how more and more people are only able to get part time jobs.  Janet Yellen of the Federal Reserve also states that unemployment is very high.   The Panda Bear has heard political conservatives state the economy is bad and complain that there are not enough jobs for people.   The Panda Bear things that if these people think the economy is bad (usually conservatives blame the unemployed for their problems), the unemployment rates must by sky high.   The Panda Bear has always felt that it was terrible that the look term unemployed don't get counted in unemployment statistics.   Also the Panda Bear has always felt that government economists (since they are hired by the government) have something vested in making the current regime's economy look good whether it is a Republican or Democrat in charge.

 Meanwhile the people who have jobs (such as the Panda Bear are not happy with them.   Employers take advantage of the bad job market.   The Panda Bear has recently heard a psychologist state that if people feel negatively about their jobs should get new jobs.   Where has this psychologist been?  Jobs are hard to get now.  The Panda Bear has believes that the "market rate" of some jobs has actually declined.   It is hard to take a pay cut and one really has no guarantees about the new job.

 A more realistic idea nowadays is to have interests outside of work.   However, this can be hard to do as many people feel compelled to work long hours.   Where the Panda Bear works they hardly ever close early for the holidays anymore and that included this this 4th of July.   The lack of early closing makes people less like to celebrate the holiday.

 The Panda Bear sees the American Revolution as being a victory against economic exploitation of the British.   The Panda Bear heard a biographer of George Washington state that George Washington was getting tired of sucking up to the colonial rulers.   The Panda Bear can understand the feeling of being tired of trying to butter people up.

The Panda Bear has an American Flag at her desk.   The reasons are in part patriotic and in part to contrast the freedom of the US with the lack of freedom in the office.   The Lowell Mills Girls in the 1830's wrote many statements to point; the workplace is no democracy.

Whenever the Panda Bear feels upset at having to work she thinks of a strike song the Lowell factory girls used to sing:

 Oh! Isn’t it a pity, such a pretty girl as I
should be sent to the factory to pine away and die?
Oh! I cannot be a slave, I will not be a slave,
For I'm so fond of liberty,
That I cannot be a slave.

 More directly contrasting the freedom of the US with the restrictions of work here are some of other quotes:

Let oppression shrug her shoulders,
And a haughty tyrant frown,
And little upstart Ignorance,
In mockery look down.
Yet I value not the feeble threats
Of Tories[British] in disguise,
While the flag of Independence
O'er our noble nation flies

 Those who work in the mills[or offices]...ought not have the status of machines ruled by private despots who are entrenching monarchic principles on democratic soil as they drive downwards freedom and rights, civilization, health, morals and intellectuality in the new commercial feudalism.

 The Panda Bear fully believes that the principal of feudal hierarchy is alive and well in US Business and industry.  

 In the Panda Bear's office, not only is there no right to free speech but there is little opportunity to speak at all.   People have gotten reprimanded for talking to their coworkers too much.   Headphones are ok but not talking to each other.   Nowadays even if one works in an office (as opposed to working at home) there can be very little social interaction.   The Panda Bear herself got a reprimand in March 2014 for speaking too loudly which has intensified her job hunt.

The Panda Bear feels that the US economy is heading in the direction of no one being able to:

  1. Find a job
  2. Find a job at a living wage
  3. Find a job where one is decently treated.

The US has had a reputation for being hard workers.  However, we are heading in a direction of people being unable to work or people being overworked at disliking their jobs.   This can’t be a good thing for the future of the US.



Wednesday, July 2, 2014

The Panda Bear on the Emperors Clothes and The Light in the Managers Office

The Panda Bear Blog seeks to expose the social truths that people experience but like the people in the Han Christian Anderson's fairy tale The Emperor's New Clothes are afraid to express for fear of seeming to be unfit.  The Panda Bear is a humble office worker who is unafraid of telling the truth as she experiences it.   Most of the time the Panda Bear thinks she has a valid point of view.  If the Panda Bear is wrong she hopes her readers will pity her and help her see the world in a clear fashion.

The offices where the Panda Bear works are full of falsehoods that the organizations' leaders create.   The untruth that the Panda Bear wishes to explore in this post is the light in the manager's office.   The Panda Bear has experienced this phenomenon in several organizations she was worked in with different supervisors so she thinks this is the way mangers are told to deal with their employees.

What the supervisor does, when he/she is out of the office for part of the day, the supervisor leaves the light on in the office so their employees think the manager is still around.   The Panda Bear admits she has been fooled by this maneuver more than one time.   However, usually another employee will blurt out to the Panda Bear that the manager does this when he/she is out.    Sometimes the Panda Bear herself has caught on that the light is on the manager's office when he/she is out.   Often supervisors will answer e-mails from home and not admit that he/she is not in the office.

The Panda Bear and her coworkers chuckle with each other.   Doesn't the management realize that we are on to them and know they are not in the office?  Do they think we are that stupid?  (The Panda Bear suspects the answer to the last question is yes). There are differing opinions on why our supervisors want to create the illusion that they are in the office when they are not in the office.  One of the Panda Bear's coworkers thinks it shows they don't trust us.   Another coworker thinks that the managers think the workers will fall apart if they are not there.

The Panda Bear privately rejects both theories on the grounds that it seems to take the management along while to go after supervisors who really do have problems being at work when they are supposed to be there; if was really that necessary for the supervisor to physically be there these problem supervisors should have been sooner told to leave.     Also many supervisors now can supervise remotely and from long distances with modern technology.  Thus, Panda Bear rejects the notion that upper management feels that workers need a supervisor to be physically present.

Instead, the Panda Bear thinks the management is on a different kind of schedule then the workers who are on some version of nine to five.   The Panda Bear is aware that many of her supervisors have worked nights and weekends and they may get some additional time off as compensation for the additional hours worked.    She also thinks the management has a much greater flexibility then the workers in terms of hours worked.   The Panda Bear thinks the managers don't want disclose that they are on a totally different type of work week then the workers they supervise.

However, the joke is often on the management.  Many workers are convinced when the managers aren't there during the day they are being delinquent in the job duties which they may not be.   To the Panda Bear it shows that supervisors can lie about small matters when they could be telling the truth.   Supervisors aren't to be trusted.

Of course this longstanding illusion that when the supervisors aren't at work, the workers don't realize it persists because workers are afraid to bring to the management's attention that they can see through this manipulation.   The management would discipline the workers.

However, outside the workplace in the presumably free United States, the Panda Bear thinks we should not be afraid of speaking out against untruths as we perceive them.