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Recession: Bad for Employees, but great for Managers. Are they trying to screw you out of your job?
It's a great time to be a manager! and a lousy time to be entry level.
In this economy work is hard to come by, and even harder to keep. Managers know that they can push their employees much farther to get results these days because their workers really need the job.
I am currently between jobs myself, but at my last place of employment I managed to make it to management level. I was in charge of hiring and firing of employees that worked my shifts, and I was in charge of 5 shifts a week. I was managing a club in the area and I had this bartender, who was terrible at her job. She had been there since before I had become a manager, and I have no idea how she even got the job, let alone kept it. She was bad at every aspect of the job, and even more so, she annoyed the hell out of me.
The only thing that kept me from firing her was because I knew that she was trying hard to not suck, and that she needed the job to support her family.
It was at that point that I realized, I could fire her simply for not liking her as a person, and there was nothing that anyone could do about it. When I realized this I started talking to some of my friends that held management positions in their places of work and asked if they had ever just fired someone because they didn't like them. They did it all the time!
So after finding that out I thought about it a little harder and realized, I could ask pretty much anything of the employees under me and if they in any way disappointed me I could replace them in less than a day because I had a stack of applications in the office of people who would do anything to have the job.
That's when I came to this realization:
Like it or not, when you're at work the Manager owns you.
In this economy no matter what you do for a living, no matter the industry, there is a stack of applications a foot high in the office of people willing to do your job at half the cost that you will.
Everyone is replaceable. Everyone.
I was replaceable, and apparently so was every other manager at the club I was working at.
They fired every single manager one by one and replaced us a day or two later, with people that took the job for less money.
Managers can do pretty much whatever they want.
Sadly, it's true. When you're the boss you set the rules, so it's easy to forget that the people below you have to follow them exactly to the letter, and you can forget them entirely if you chose.
At the first club I ever worked at I was required to wear a suit and tie to work everyday, and I was just security. Well I noticed that most of the time that my manager would hardly ever wear a suit, except when the owner came around. Whenever the owner was around my manager would always be wearing a suit, then the moment he left he would go back down to just a pair of slacks and an untucked dress shirt. When I asked him about it he said that "Yeah I'm supposed to wear a suit like you guys, but I just don't feel like it usually."
That was just the most basic rule he broke. There were others. When I made management I also happened to forget rules that I didn't care for. The suit one being amongst them.
Pretty much what I am saying is, managers don't always have to follow the same rules you do. When you get to set the rules, and punish the rule breakers, you pretty much get to do what you want.
That leads me to my next point:
Managers can make their employees do pretty much anything they want (within reason)
All too often we find ourselves staying late when we wanted to go home, and coming in early when we wanted to sleep in, all because we were asked to by the manager and we knew if we turned them down than it would cause us to fall from their good graces.
Now I'm not talking about being a lazy employee. Everyone knows that sometimes there is some slack that needs to be picked up for one reason or the other by someone and sometimes it falls to you.
Managers know that they can ask more of you these days because the moment you complain about it they have a stack of applications in the office from people who would be more than willing to come do your job, for longer hours for less pay.
The job market is overcrowd
With an abundance of workers in the market searching for employment and only so many jobs to go around you have to make yourself stand out.
With dozens of people going in and out of your workplace applying for your job every single day it's a little scary to think about the kind of people coming in and out.
You never know if the person that just came in and filled out an application went to a better school than you, have more experience, has experience in a more upscale version of where you work. You just never know.
With this in mind you have to stay on your toes, because one slip up could mean your last because the next person that comes in and applies for a job, could end up getting yours.
Most managers are good people who are just trying to do their jobs, but some of them really don'y give a damn about anything but collecting a paycheck.
So pick and chose your battles at work. Proving that your right might feel good right now, but I will probably feel even better to pay your rent next month.
Are you stuck at a terrible job because there's nothing better available right now?
© 2014 Bruce Stoelzel