Monday, January 5, 2009

"It certainly does suck!"

I just finished reading "Why Work Sucks and How to Fix It" by Cali Ressler and Jodi Thompson. It explains in depth the R.O.W.E. (results-only work environment), in which employees work literally whenever and however they want as long as the work gets done. So you can come in every day, or practically never, and no one can judge you as long as you are doing your job. You can leave at noon to see a movie and then work from home all night. It basically operates on the premise that most of the time people are just waiting out their 40 to 50 hours per week playing on the internet becasue all the boss cares about is that they are in their chair for the right amount of time, nevermind what they are (or aren't) getting done.

This all sounds like a dream to me, because I can't sit and work for too long without getting bored, and I crash in the afternoon and I am totally worthless to anyone for about 15 minutes, but no job would ever let me take a much-needed nap despite the medical evidence that proves napping doesn't make me a slacker. Besides, I also get the urge to go for a run in the middle of the day when it is impossible at work, never in the cold, dark morning when my schedule allows. Also, the 1.5 to 2 hours (and $7) I spend per day smashed up against strangers on the subway/path make me violently angry, and my life would be much better without it. Call me an elitist snob, but I've been entirely to close to a guy bleeding profusely from his face, have narrowly avoided a six-year-old's geyser of pink vomit, and had many other subway misadventures, usually all before 9:00 AM which I feel justify my hatred of public transportation. But I digress.

Cali and Jodi have successfully implemented R.O.W.E. at Best Buy, and it seems to be working fabulously, increasing productivity and all-around employee satisfaction. The main problem I see is that most managers will be highly reluctant to change their ways if they feel they will be losing any control. The likleyhood of a small company boss (like mine) adopting this are slim to none, despite the evidence to prove that it is beneficial to the bottom line as well as to the poor peons she employs. I've contemplated giving her a copy of the book and suggesting we adopt R.O.W.E., (which would fit our business perfectly if not for her need to treat her employees like idiots who are lucky to have the pennies she throws at us), but I don't think I should get myself fired until I figure out my next move. Unless you work for a larger company and the head honchos are totally on board to keep the managers from sliding back into the old ways, I feel like this will never work.

The other problem is that R.O.W.E. will only work if you don't mind the work you are doing. Presumeably the increased freedom will make you resent miserable work less, and thus motivate you to get it done better and faster so you can enjoy your freedom. However, if you despise the work you do, R.O.W.E. can't prevent it from sucking your will to live.

I highly recommend the book, as it will smack you in the head and make you rethink "work" completely. Sadly, it will make you depressed that you don't work in a R.O.W.E., and unless you start your own business, go work for Best Buy (most likely in Minnesota), or the corporate world suddenly does a 180, you probably never will. Boo.

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