Smarmy Tricks by Businesses During Hard Economic Times| Dirty Business Tricks In Bad Economic Times
Raise? You Are Lucky to Have a Job!
When I went back to college (the first time), I had to take a business ethics course. I consider business ethics an oxymoron, and I define business ethics as lie, cheat, and steal for the company, not from the company. One of the first things that the instructor said was business no longer treats their employees badly as they did in the eighties. Really? I sincerely believe that if you are a democrat or a republican, one has had a business treat one badly. Now, imagine how some businesses would act during an economic down turn this country has had in the past few years (thankfully, the economy seems to be getting better).
1. That magical thing called great customer service. Customer service is very important for a business; however, customer service is the magical bullet that will save the company from the monster of declining sales or business. The reason improving customer service appeals to companies is that improving customer service is cheap. You just have to tell your employees to give better customer service and repeatedly state how committed the company is to customer service. I have worked for some companies, where that is where commitment to customer service ends. One time, I went to an employee meeting after the employee’s with highest wages were fired or transferred, and we were told that there would be no raises that year. Furthermore, we were informed that our insurance was changed so that we had to pay higher premiums, and the vacation policy was altered where people actually lost vacation time, and to top it all off, we were all threatened that we could lose our jobs at any time.Soon after announcing these draconian measures, management proceeded to give us a speech on how we need to love our jobs in order to give better customer service. They were actually patting themselves on the back after their “rousing” speech. The result was, that even in tough economic times, people started to quit and some of the managers were later fired.
2. What is a Virtual Raise? Someone very close to me was once given a Virtual Raise. What is a Virtual Raise one may ask? A Virtual Raise is a raise given this year, but the raise does not actually show up on your paycheck until next year. Oh, and you still have to work for the company in a year’s time, and you do not get to collect the raise as back pay.
3. Often when a company cannot or will not give raises or better benefits or cut down your workload to non-herculean tasks, businesses pull out the we are like a family here mantra(maybe a dysfunctional family).
4. You are so lucky to have a job. When all else fails or if a business really does not care, they pull out the you are so lucky to have a job club to beat you into submission with. True, in a bad economy, it is good to be employed. However, one wishes to be treated with dignity and respect during good economies and bad economies.
5. More and more companies are using cameras to watch their employees, and I am not just talking about retail businesses either. I have actually worked at a job where the management would review the tapes daily and question you if you left your desk too frequently. Big Brother may not have invaded our homes, but with monitoring our phone calls, reading our emails, and always having us on camera, he sure is in our workplace.
6.Break, what break? In bad economic times, breaks for employees are “optional.” It is not optional for the employee to take one, but optional if the boss is going to give one a break.
7. Enjoy doing the work of three people or more. I was once yelled at for working over my allotted hours as a private contractor. The president of the organization came in to help (show me how it is done?), with another member of the board, and they got to see all the work I am blessed with doing all bymyself (there were four subcontractors when I started). We worked even more hours than I was lectured for and still did not get all the work done.
8. You are sick? You cannot be sick! In many jobs they are running with such a skeleton crew, one can never call in sick. A close friend of mine works with children and employees are always getting sick, but an employee never can call in. The result is that everybody gets to get sick. My advice to my friend was to go to the boss’s desk and throw up on it. The boss will have to send you home and would be hard pressed to fire you.
In closing, I know that I have only scratched the surface on this subject, and we all have our own stories of dirty tricks done to us by our workplace. Please feel free to share your stories, and I am interested in seeing if anyone can top Virtual Raises.