Meddling with forces of nature: working in America

I am typing this with the old tingling feeling down my left arm. No, it’s not the tick-tock man in my chest, it’s nerve damage, although the ticker could be in better shape, too.
Damage from performing data entry hunched over a less than ergonomic keyboard-desk-chair combos, like well, so many of us “working wounded” today.

EEEEEEEEYYYAAAAAAAGH!!!

No, no, it’s true, well…. Truer, that it is better to work than not. I mean, the media’s not turning the spotlight on suicides/murder suicides/tent cities around the country, a word which certain politicians pronounce as though the letter ‘o’ was not part of it.
No, I’m happy to be working. It’s just that the nature of work in America sucks and blows at the same time, something Bart Simpson thought a physical impossibility.


One problem: the layer cake nature of business.
Reliance on third parties, who in turn rely on fourth parties, sometimes unbeknownst to their clients, and more worrisome, in violation of contracts and at times even the law.
The use of independent contractors, who are not employees, but have their own tools to perform jobs. Seems cheaper in terms of overhead, but nothing prevents them to use tertiary parties (other contractors) to do a job you pay and entrust them to perform.
What we’re still failing to do collectively in America, is to actually have a break down.
A stoppage. Just like Howard Beale (Peter Finch) in “Network”.
Although Beale did run out of B.S. himself, he still was primed to be mesmerized by the likes of Arthur Jensen (Ned Beatty), a professional salesman, pitcher, corporate hitman, B.S. artist who twists the whole issue around, telling Beale he has meddled with primal forces of nature, thundering his schpiel like an evangelist, appropriately enough.
So much talk of change management, yet another buzzword. Companies, like people, don’t handle change easily.
Problem numero dos: there no longer is transition, training, hand overs. It’s sink or swim, they put you in the suit like those early space program chimpanzees and light the candle.
Like the Bishop in a game of chess, one must acquire and develop the ability to move diagonally, from one industry to the next.
This isn’t smooth, though, mistakes are made, and well, you have to make your peace with that. Because I see more and more companies just shrugging them off.
What kills me, little by little, is the multitude of extra steps I have to take as I work around bugs I found in the system we use. Because it’s more than just data entry, really, it takes planning, and just when you save your confirmation, data disappears, certain fields reset, and you have to leave the page on screen, return to it and add manually. All that damn typing’s doing me in…
One thing about management is you have to balance managing people and mind-body-numbing tasks like the above, so keep in mind the saying they have in the Paras: “do one thing, do it really well and let everyone know.”
It’s not a cure but it’ll serve you well.


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