Sunday, September 02, 2012


American Worker:

Are you currently employed? Good for you. Is your job in a large corporation? My sympathies. Anyway, if you answered yes to both of those questions, here’s an important bit of advice for you.

Do your job. Just don’t work so hard.

Sure, you have certain levels of job requirements that you must maintain in order to keep your gig. You just don’t need to exceed those requirements. You may be one of those folks who think that you need to push full speed ahead in order to advance in the company. I will tell you now, in no uncertain terms that you will simply be wasting your time and effort.

Your added effort will only serve to fatten stock prices and CEO bonuses. In the end, when the company decides that you are no longer an asset, too expensive for their payroll, or interfering with the profit margin, they will simply dispose of you, with no fear of repercussion and no remorse on their part. You are cannon fodder for the next fiscal quarter’s flash report stats. Nothing more, nothing less.

Do yourself a big favor. Just do your job. Perform the job abilities that are asked of you, and fergoshsakes, do not volunteer for anything extra. Overtime pay is very tempting and can be useful for extra cash when available. If you do get stuck with extra duties, and need to work some overtime to do so, don’t feel guilty about taking it. They want to get the work done, and since they are not volunteering to keep the business operating, neither should you.

If you are not feeling the company line, don’t go along with it. If your higher-ups are trying to get you to go along with the corporation’s pet charity du jour or feel-good community PR stunt, and you don’t feel like getting involved, simply refuse to do it. Sure, there are plenty of charitable organizations that are worth donating and volunteering for, but that should be reserved to your personal choices and your own free time as an individual. By all means I encourage that level of participation, but on your own time and judgment. You will feel even better with your efforts in the end if you keep them personally in your own realm instead of “like the hypocrites”.

If you have paid vacation available, take it. Make sure that you are unavailable to be contacted on your days off, even if you are not leaving town. If you have a health insurance plan, scrutinize the coverage and take full advantage of it. Don’t feel guilty about any company-related awards or prizes given to you, and don't end up feeling like you owe them anything. That’s all simply intermittent reinforcement that gets handed out at random to practically the entire workforce eventually. That’s why you shouldn’t feel concerned about that type of recognition not coming to you, because it will get to you eventually if you stick around long enough.

You may actually desire advancement to a management or supervisory position. Consider, then, to pursue an advanced position at another company, most especially a small business, nonprofit or even in the government, where in the latter, you can at least feel like you are working in some level of public service. You may not be hired for an upper level job right away, but your experience will ensure consideration much more strongly in most cases. Plus, you may have made some friends in your current job that you don’t want to ruin by suddenly supervising or managing them, or make you subject to accusations of favoritism from those you are not close to.

Don’t fall into the fear trap about high unemployment, lack of available jobs, or any of that typa crap. As long as you are doing your job satisfactorily, they won’t consider you any more or less for layoffs or termination than any of your co-workers. It takes a great deal of time, resources and expense for a corporation to hire and train new people from the outside, and besides, if you do get laid off or have had enough and hand in your two weeks notice, your chances of getting hired for a new position are actually higher than someone who has been unemployed over an extended period of time. 

Most importantly, do whatever you can to save every extra penny you earn and, at least, try your best to avoid living paycheck to paycheck. The one truly effective survival tool for the worker in the capitalist world is capital. Keep your expenses down to a bare minimum and try not to fall into the trap of usury. When you own a home instead of renting, you are actually allowing the lender to “own” the home for the  up to 30 years or so that you are paying off the mortgage. In many cases, renting and saving the money that you would otherwise blow on house payments can pay off for the better in the long run. Ideally, you want to maintain an emergency fund that will ensure security in case the company cuts you loose and you need to depend on only a severance package or unemployment checks for a while. That way, during the hard times you will stress less over not only the future, but the present as well.

This all requires a considerable amount of self-discipline, but it can be done. Your sanity and self esteem is more important than their shareholder obligations or quarterly conference calls. Begin to live for you, not for them. You are earning a paycheck, not selling your soul.