Thursday, February 20, 2014

Long-Term Thinking

One of the most harmful aspects of human beings is the lack of long-term thinking. This deficit causes so much wide-spread misery. It is the cause of so many of the most important issues facing our world today: food insecurity, global warming / climate change, dependency on nonrenewable resources, etc.

Perhaps even more unfortunate is the fact that long-term thinkers do exist but most of them use that thinking to take advantage of unfortunate situations and other people for the benefit of themselves and their family. There are a few long-term thinkers who care about others and want to use that thinking to help but they tend not to have power and no one listens to them.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Money is a Bad Incentive

That's the conclusion that I've come to after holding a cubicle-sitting job for a little over six months. I'm also basing this on discussions my husband and I have held about his workplace and my own. He works for a huge highly profitable corporation while I work in the public sector. We see the same issues in both areas. The same inefficiencies, wastes of time, never-ending meetings and projects, etc. They don't particularly bother me (I believe the vast majority of the jobs held by people, especially in the West, are utterly useless) but it tends to drive my husband crazy.

Finally, I've come to the conclusion that money is the problem. The problem is that people are working to make money. They are not working to make the organizations that employ them more profitable, more efficient, cleaner, safer, etc. Those are just after-thoughts (if people are really thinking about them at all).

People really work for the following reasons:
  • to house themselves
  • to feed themselves
  • to send their kids to summer camp
  • to get a (new) car
  • to see their favorite performer in concert
  • for new clothes
  • etc.
You get the idea.

They don't work for the following reasons:
  • to increase company profitability
  • to become a better manager
  • to gain new skills
  • to become a better asset to the company
  • etc.
Now there are a few people who work for the second set of reasons but from my experience and those I've read about, these people are rare. I'll call them 'hard workaholics'. These are the people who believe in hard work for its own sake (needless to say that these are a lot fewer people in this group than those who say they believe in the importance of hard work). These are the people who just need something to do. They will work hard at whatever you put in front of them. They can't help but to work hard and find it painful to sit still.

Another group of people is those truly driven by passion. As long as they are doing what they are passionate about, they are happy to work long hours and give their all to the company. The fact that they get paid for their services is really just icing on the cake. They would really do it for free. I refer to them as 'passion workaholics'.

Employers would love for all of us to fit happily into one of those two categories. Needless to say that most of us don't. And many people notice that for all the talk about working hard, getting better at what you do, gaining more skills, etc the people who often get ahead are not necessarily the ones who are best able to leave. The ones who are promoted are usually the ones who know how to play the office political games the best.