4 Reasons Your Employer Doesn't Care If You're Happy Or Not
Do you have a good job, one that makes you feel happy and fulfilled? Congratulations! You're probably not real. Or maybe you are, but for the vast majority of people, that's not the case. Most people hate their jobs. Seventy percent of people hate their jobs, in fact, and that number probably isn't going down any time soon. But knowing you and most others hate work as you do, have you ever wondered why? Why does the company you work for suck so hard? Why does it keep sucking like a great, puckered suckhole out in the sucky vacuum of the suckiest part of space?
It's entirely possible that you work for the best company on Earth and love your job, and just as likely that you work for the best company on Earth but hate your job because you're an entitled douche who is never happy. But it's most likely that you work for a company, maybe a massive chain of some kind with a huge infrastructure, that is so large and so inept that, through negligence or plain stupidity, it has actually grown a culture of dickery that ruins work for most of its employees on a regular basis. And it has no plans to stop, because the machine still works. And why does it work? This is why!
Who Works Here, Anyway?
I have worked a lot of really douche jobs in my day, including a few at some of your more well-known stores of international infamy. Basically, the Fortune-500-style chain stores exist and sell shit in every major city in North America and abroad because they have the resources to simply force competition out and the name recognition to get customers in.
At one particular place of employment that sold various electronics and computers, I couldn't help but notice that my manager was a complete and total asshole. He was verbally abusive and degrading at different points to employees, he was extremely sexist, he played favorites with "the boys" -- those few employees who kissed his ass and acted like his best friend -- and he was happy to keep people for extended hours without proper pay by threatening firings. Total dickfaced shit weasel he was. And on the day I quit and told him as much, I wondered how it was I was the only person who had done such a thing. He reacted with absolute shock, and I was disgusted to discover that his surprise was sincere. He had no idea he was a dickhead who was hated by his employees.
"Seriously!?! You're a cunt, a dick, and an asshole. You're a hat trick of fuckery."
Thinking back, we had two kinds of employees at this store, and at most of my early jobs, things were the same. You can really see this in fast food, in fact. One kind of employee is your younger kid who just doesn't give a shit. The job puts money in their pocket, they don't have a lot of experience in the working world, they don't have any personal investment in the business, and the job means nothing. It means so little that they actually don't quit because they can't muster up the care to hate it that much. It's a thing to do and it's a paycheck, so who gives a shit if the boss is an asshole? Aren't all bosses supposed to be assholes?
The other kind of employee is on the opposite end of the spectrum from your no-shit-giving kid, and that's the lifer. This is a single mom, an older person without the skill set to do a lot of modern computer or technological work, a disabled person, a guy with a pregnant wife and three kids at home and a mortgage. These are people who needed work, who need to support themselves and a family. And this job might not be ideal, it might not be a dream fulfilled, but it keeps them and the people they care about alive, so they need it. They need it so badly that they will eat their bosses' shit with a big ol' grin on their face because pride takes a backseat to necessity.
You can't pay rent in dignity-dollars.
And this is how your Walmarts thrive. This is how a massive company can treat its employees like garbage and never see a reason to change. Because most people never complain. Most employees can't or won't risk it, out of fear or apathy.
What About Everyone Else?
Not everyone is a shiftless teen or a desperate parent in need of a job. But of the small number of employees left over who get stuck in a job that's a 9-5 unrequested buttfucking with a rusty hammer day in and day out, you mostly get people who eat their dissatisfaction the way a bodybuilder eats protein powder. You just power that shit down, because who are you to rock the boat?
Any given situation has a status quo -- a kind of homeostasis that exists when we walk into it -- and few of us ever want to be the standout person who takes a shit on that. If you get a job and discover that your boss likes to call everyone "dick smoker" as a pet name, you're going to be more apt to tolerate it when you discover the 40 other people at work all tolerate it. Maybe some even laugh, and one asshole made himself a personalized "dick smoker" T-shirt to celebrate how great he thinks it is.
"Are you sure about the full sleeves?"
"I need this raise."
The only upside to being in a position like this is knowing you're right. But you're going to doubt your feelings constantly when you see everyone else toeing the company line or accepting whatever bullshit that management tosses their way. So you'll probably keep quiet. And maybe you are the person who stands up and says "fuck this," but most other people won't. Don't believe me? Walmart saw $476 billion in revenue last year, and by all accounts in the news, working there is like working for Satan's asshole cousin. Clearly, most employees take it and shut up, no matter what it is.
What About People Like Me?
So say you're in a position where you're not going to let your boss crap on you. What then? First, know that you're not alone. Bad managers are the number one reason for people quitting jobs. When you work for a dick, that's going to be the thing that kills it for you. Any shitty, mundane job is tolerable if the environment is one that supports and nurtures you. If you glued dongs onto garden gnomes on a factory line all day, you'd be thrilled if you did it with all your buddies and your manager was the kind of person who high fives you, gives you time off when you need it, and brings in donuts for snacks just because.
The problem with a craptastic manager, like the terrible store manager I had, is twofold. For one, my manager was a great "store" manager, and what I mean by that is the company loved him. His store posted higher profits than any location for miles around. He must have been doing something right! Damn right he was; he was forcing people to stay maybe an extra hour, giving prime shifts to his buddies, cutting corners, and firing people for silly reasons just before they got enough seniority to get mandated wage increases.
"It'd be a crime to keep you working for such a shitty boss. Run! Run, and be free!"
The second problem is that when you leave, you're heading out a revolving door and someone else is itching to get into your old spot. A shitty manager doesn't have to change, because he isn't running out of people to manage. The sad fact is that we live in a world where someone always needs a job, and they're always going to be willing to debase themselves, even if only for a little while, to earn the pay they need. So a douche boss can keep on douching because the system lets him. He's never inconvenienced by his douchery -- only you are, and no one gives a shit about you, because you're replaceable.
Why Is This Guy A Douche In The First Place?
If you work for a nice big company, think of how that structure works. Do you have a shift manager? Probably something like that. Then above that person is your store or location manager. Then above them is the regional manager. Then maybe a divisional manager. Then perhaps a Vice President. Then a Senior Vice President. Then the CEO. The CEO probably thinks he's an awesome guy doing an awesome job. He probably signs checks for charities and institutes programs to sponsor kids with club feet to go to camp. All he wants to hear from his Senior VP is that profits are up this quarter. His Senior VP wants to hear that from the VP. And so on and so forth down the chain to your store manager, who is going to tell your shift manager that we need to cut hours, or increase sales, or cut losses, or whatever else may save a few cents, and that's going to fall on your shoulders.
Like a nesting doll, except the center is a middle finger
In order for your CEO to install a new basement in his yacht's garage, he needs more money. He gets that money from you. All those people in that chain from you to your CEO mean nothing. It's a game between the two of you. He wants more money, and you're going to make it for him. You're going to make it by working harder and selling more chestnut ice cream or whatever it is you sell. Or you're going to give it back to him by working fewer hours and therefore getting paid less. Or maybe you're going to just use a rickety ladder by yourself to put up a new sign instead of having the company buy a new one and schedule a second employee to ensure your safety, because it's way cheaper to risk your life than it is to make sure you can do your job properly and safely.
Now, the reason your direct boss is a douche is because he does figure into this financial tree somewhere, in that he gets more money if you produce more money. You never get more money. But your boss probably gets a performance bonus of some kind if your location does better this fiscal year than it did last year. And if the whole region does better, then the regional manager gets a bonus. And so on. So that means pressure goes downhill like a waterfall all onto your poor, drowning carcass.
Or a piss and flush on you, the urinal cake.
So have you ever gone into McDonald's, only to be faced with an employee who's practically drooling and can't figure out if he sells fries or not? It's because that location couldn't keep anyone there long enough to master the full menu. This is the same reason that when you go to Walmart, no one can tell you where anything is: They don't know. Because the company didn't bother to train enough people or even staff enough people day to day to make the experience of shopping there convenient for any customers. Because at ground level, they don't care. Walmart management knows you're going to shop there because they sell everything cheaper than everywhere else, and that's all that ever matters in the long run. Most of us can't afford to shop with our principles, so we'll go to the cheapest, easiest option, even if we hate going there because the employees are either never around or completely untrained buffoons. And the CEO gets his yacht basement.
In a fair and just world, you as an employee would be treated as a valuable individual. In fact, you'd be treated the way the company pretends it treats its employees. We've all had to sit through an employee meeting or read an employee handbook that talks about corporate culture and accountability and how it values its employees as resources. And after working there, you know it's total bullshit. No company will readily admit they're a corporate butthole festering above the squalid toilet of minimum-wage-paying idiocy, but the fact is that many of them are precisely that. So they hire HR and marketing people to paint themselves as responsible corporate citizens who make the world a better place while selling reasonably-priced goods and blah blah get fucked, you 9-5 chucklehead, no one cares about you here.
"What we've lost in Steve, we've gained in a new coffeemaker for the break room. Now let's hit some quotas!"
Is there a way to escape? Yes and no. Like I said, I quit one day by simply telling my boss I thought he was an asshole and that I didn't need to put up with the never-ending string of dumb shit I was being subjected to. But as I've said, not everyone can do that. You may desperately want to, but can't, and that's how they screw you. That's how your next job will screw you. Because en masse, we let them. We can't do anything but. So until the CEOs become responsible and intelligent and aware, the workforce is probably just going to stay on their hands and knees, praying for a little lube now and then.