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A Fetish for Fetters

 

Back when Lincoln was president, it was odd and a stigma if a person was an employee. Everyone learned how to make their own way and had their own business. The Industrial Revolution changed that, which brought about the assembly line worker. Everyone in their place, doing the same thing over and over, which made them an expert, of sorts, in their function. Efficiencies gained came about in the means by which they might increase their speed, but their job was to stand in place and do their function.

A few generations later, corporate America expects exactly that from its people. Everything has become a McJob, where management doesn't really need your expertise or out-of-the-box thinking - just perform within your function. Read the manual. Stand in place. Screw in the damn bolt, if you please. That's your job.

Screw that.

Here's a quote that I think is apt:

"I am often asked by would-be entrepreneurs seeking escape from life within huge corporate structures, 'How do I build a small firm for myself?' The answer seems obvious: Buy a very large one and just wait."- Paul Ormerod, Why Most Things Fail: Evolution, Extinction and Economics
Historically, that's true. It was Drucker who said that most of today's management consists of making it difficult for people to get things done.

And here's a nice graphic that I've lifted from Tom Peters:



The Matrix of corporate America wants us to believe that we can't function outside of our McJobs. So not true. There's a better world, one without the constraints of a job description. Thankfully, there are many small and even mid-sized companies that pull the best from their people by allowing them elbow room. But I can't name a large company that fits this bill. Which of course means that, as Ormerod found, these large will be small companies soon enough.

Bummer for the employees.

 


by Brett Rogers, 10/18/2006 5:56:06 PM
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