With all the kerfuffle on Big Labour in the wake of the Wisconsin recall election, this piece is germane (and, IMHO, a must-read):
The world is a different place from the Ida Tarbell days.
There’s more transparency. If you choose to be blinded by class division, perhaps the lure of unionisation appeals to you. (Did I mention the Koch Brothers?)
I’ve worked in large companies, and I’ve worked in small companies. Those times when I was required to join a union was simply money out of my paycheck. Had I not been required to pay those dues I wouldn’t have been at risk, since in every instance, I was one of the best performing employees for that particular work unit. It wasn’t that I sought adulation, but that I performed better than my peers who depended upon their membership in the union for their job. It was like the one day I showed up for at the unemployment office and looked around. Those were not my people.
There is a myth about capitalism, that managers conspire to reduce the worker to the lowest possible level of social denigration. Poor wages, poor work conditions, poor benefits, poor opportunities for advancement. In my experience, these designations of wage, condition, benefits and opportunities are penned by writers who themselves have never worked. I’ve never had an employer who wanted to keep me down. Quite the opposite. They were all thrilled when I demonstrated early adoption of what they were attempting to teach me to do, thrilled at my performance meeting or exceeding their expectations, and rewarded, in most cases, with early promotions and wage increases. I didn’t receive these because I was a member of a secret cabal of earnest young labourers. There was no key club for selected entry level job employees who will succeed. Look at Thomas Sowell’s essay at the end of last month on “meaningfull work.” It wasn’t the work that mattered. It was how I worked that mattered. Working as a lobby man for the Hilton Hotel chain meant cleaning toilets. It wasn’t that I cleaned toilets that mattered to my employer, it was that I did it better than any other employee in a house with more than 250 employees. And I was just an evening employee, since during the day I was attending university.
No employer or manager worthy of the name would restrict any employees ability to rise within the organisation. Again, the Ida Tarbell days are over. Sure, the myth still clings to our political conversations, but why? Wilfull ignorance? Adherence to a view of polity that is driven by special interests?
Yes, from time to time, you’ll encounter a manager who is full of bs. Self-aggrandizing, asking for an encounter for mutual masturbation, sucking up, and, by the way, aren’t I brilliant? But these are the short-timers that occur spottily from time to time. Any guy worth his salt, with an understanding of the tasks he’s charged with performing, will always allow the cream to rise. It’s in his own self-interest. No serious manager or owner would ever work to subborn the efforts and talents, the insights or creativity of anyone in their employ. If you are working in conditions that you find are significantly different from the conditions I’ve described, there’s a single alternative; either you’re a wanker and don’t know it, or you boss is a wanker, and you do know it. In the first case, you’re lucky to have a job. In the second, go look for a better position.
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