We get deluded by prizes. After a bruising year at a job where management doesn’t “give a dead rats ass” about you, we are mollified by a good review and a tiny raise. Then, six months later, we were ejected because the business environment had changed.
After being told for three years, we were all part of the big Stodgy Enterprises family, the family turned dysfunctional, and we are scrambling to put a healthcare package together for the family. What we had saved for retirement was now part of calculating our grocery bill until we found another job.
Damn! And employers wonder why people walk off, ghost them, spend time on the job searching for the next good deal, steal pens, and generally behave as though there is no loyalty to the job. That’s because there isn’t.
I believe in reciprocity as a necessary feature of an equitable society. Moreover, reciprocity is essential since most organizations like to see themselves as societies or families in miniature. The general rule in reciprocal relationships is that what one gives is balanced by what the other gets. Don’t expect loyalty where none is given.
I once worked for a large organization where we, as workers, assumed that management’s job was to treat us like mushrooms- keep us in the dark and cover us with bullshit. Management always suspected the worst of labor. So you might say that everyone had low expectations, and we observed each other. Surprisingly this situation worked well. Better than my prior employment, where a prize always dangled enticingly, only to be snatched away.
I am wary of prizes and warm and fuzzy assurances of friendship and kinship. After all, prizes are not always what they seem, and families can be the cruelest of environments.