Jul 28, 2010

The reality of open doors

You work at some company you tolerate simply because it pays you twice a month. In this company, dozens, hundreds or even thousands of people can work. It’s a complicated beehive layout because there are grunt worker bees, supposed worker bees, supervisor bees, and a handful of queen bees thrown in the mix. Oh and even though the concept of a queen bee states it should be a singular entity, we know better.

Thing is, from a grunt worker bee’s perspective, things are a little less rose colored as you’re led to believe if you’re just visiting. You get lectures on benefits, advantages, professional growth and a variety of proverbial carrots intended to make you feel as if you really shouldn’t mind carrying a load. People marvel at employee satisfaction levels and everyone is super duper happy.

The reality is that Kool-Aid drinking isn’t as widespread as higher up queen and king bees would like it to be. People resist because there’s only so much hypocritical saccharine we can tolerate before we start to gag. It’s not an adventure, it’s not an odyssey… it’s a job. True, it might sometimes feel like dreary torture, but a thrilling ride it isn’t. I just don’t think I’ll ever get people who are that enthused with most jobs because eventually, I think most people grow tired of their day to day jobs.

But corporate aristocracy is willful and cunning… it knows the sweet taste of control and doesn’t want to be overrun by unruly, intolerant peons with dreams of change and aspirations to make a difference. So that’s when they implemented the open door policy. This policy comes from war discussions and didn’t work much… especially between the US and Russia. In business it’s much sillier: you have a manager, a CEO, a president or even your supervisor reading off some hackneyed script that insists their doors are open to encourage communication among the peasants. The term implies that an employee can stop by President So N. So’s office whenever they feel the need to speak their mind.

This quirky morale booster might be good to run up the bullshit wagon, but in practice, it pretty much doesn’t work because it was never intended to work that way. It’s a figure of speech. It’s something nice to tell people so they shut the hell up. The actual way it plays out runs more on the lines of redirecting complaints, comments and even general conversation to lower echelons so they can sort things out themselves. Just in case, I’m not shunning said practice. I would also tell a subordinate to fuck off if they wanted to discuss some stupid problem that should be dealt with among the lower ranks. I get that. It’s cool. I just think it’s a bit cute to insist that things don’t operate that way, just for the sake of seeming more humane.

But let’s throw a curve ball in the mix. What happens if a person has a problem with another person. Supposedly they’re parallel in terms of responsibilities and whatnot, but the reality is much more imbalanced. Now let’s say the person that benefits from potential favoritism just happens to be an occasional bitch/asshole. This potential favoritism could be real or supposed but the lower bee has a swollen stinger because of this person, but it doesn’t say anything because it perceives that saying anything will be detrimental to his future within the hive. But then the bee decides to stop snorting pollen and say something about it… What response do you think it will receive?

Here are a few options:

A.) Have you spoken with this bee directly? I think you should speak to this bee directly because this is an exceptional bee and you need to give it the benefit of the doubt.

B.) I had perceived there was a problem amongst you bees, but I decided to step back and let you two figure things out.

C.) There’s no favoritism here. Thanks for bringing this up. I’ll definitely bring it up in a meeting some time in the never foreseeable future. Good job, thanks for all your work and did you have that thing we talked about ready?

Just in case, I won’t humor you by writing some fictitious D option where you are asked to give all the information possible and are quizzed to try and see what solutions can be found. I’m also not going to think you gullible enough to believe the supervisor bee actually cares. I’m just going to look in a mirror, smile that wicked joker smile I have and tell myself… “You didn’t really think anything else was going to happen right? You foooool!!!” Then I’m going to laugh til it hurts every time I catch myself in a mirror with that look as if any of what I do matters.

Fun times. Most definitely fun times.



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