Disclaimer: Some people might find some views and words to be too harsh and critical but what I have written is the absolutely true, pitiful state of affairs that exists today. I have not minced any words. I am least bothered about being politically correct.
Government jobs have always been the most sought after career choice in India. These are considered to be well-paying, secure, permanent, and considerate. There is a very tough competition among the aspirants to secure a job. Candidates who find themselves fascinated by lots of stuff, often find it even more challenging, to get ahead of the crowd; because unlike the hardcore enthusiasts, these people’s attention is diverted and spread in multiple matters. People who are unable to secure a government job or people who reject it, by their free will, often find themselves in the other alternative – the private sector.
Life in the private sector has always been subject to harsh criticism. Private employers are considered to be unreasonable, cruel, and capitalistic in nature, who are only interested in the output, with the least regard and respect for their employees and their lives and welfare. Nothing can be generalised anywhere but this is a general perception.
Now the question is, to what extent is this perception true? The answer is that, in my opinion, every word of it is true, though the severity may vary from organisation to organisation, from department to department, and from officer to officer. The fact is that corporate culture is a reality. It is a swamp, making an exit from which is a difficult task, once you find yourself there for a bit too long. And the bigger problem is that it transforms you, it makes you like itself. Because you are being dominated by your superior, you assert your authority over your juniors. The dominance, many a time, takes the form of torment, bullying, and harassment.
If you are someone who doesn’t care about being politically correct, then you are in for a ride. Till the time you are submissive, you are fine; the moment you raise your opinion, as soon as you question something, you get into the bad books. Problems start to arise when you stay out of dirty marsh of politics and don’t concern yourself with being diplomatically shrewd. All of this vindictive ‘tamasha’ is justified in the name of the corporate culture.
In essence, if you are an a**-kisser, you are the embodiment of an ideal employee. If you are a boot-licker you are the epitome of a company person. Some people may find these words to be extremely harsh, but deep down inside, they know that it is the harsh reality, the bitter truth.
A lot of is to do with the current social and political scenario. With skyrocketing population and educated unemployment being at a record high, private organisations are aware that if one employee goes, two more are ready to join. These people with capitalistic mindsets, use it to their advantage, and exploit staff, by making them work for remarkably long hours, and pay them peanuts, in the name of salaries.
Employees are being beleaguered. Offices have been turned into jails. Staff is not allowed to leave premises, even if they wish to have a glass of juice, from a vendor standing adjacent to the gate. They are asked to report details of every minute of the day. If you are suffering from constipation and you spent 15 minutes in the toilet, you may be asked to justify your absence for those 15 minutes, because the company probably lost 15 lakhs during the time when you were taking a dump. The employers need to learn that confining the staff won’t give better results.
What employers fail to understand is that efficiency comes with independence and freedom. Quality comes with a tension-free, cool, and calm mind. The biggest misconception that these self-proclaimed, extraordinarily, smart people have, is the belief that sticking on to a chair all day is the biggest trait of an excellent employee. What they fail to realise, is that the number of hours within a premise or on a chair does not really reflect the quality or efficiency.
Moreover, for a person to work efficiently, a 5-minute break in an hour or two eases the nerves, refreshes the brain, relaxes the eyes, and gives the body the necessary physical movements to stay fit. The number of hours spent sitting on a desk should not be a measuring scale for productivity.
If an employee is given some authority, it will automatically reflect in their quality, which will also consequentially increase the quantity because a fresh mind works faster. The employer should not be a jackass to monitor the movements of the staff. The employers tend to assert their power and while doing so they tend to micro-manage. They must just manage.
Furthermore, these organisations lack a systematic approach, they lack planning, they lack the right work ethic. Every employee should be assigned tasks with reasonable respective time frames. How the employee wishes to carry out the allotted tasks should be left to their wise sense of judgment. The employer should be concerned with the outcome. If an employee wants to have 5 cups of tea and 2 sandwiches while doing their work, the employers should be least bothered about it. If the employee provides satisfactory work in the predefined time frame, the employer should not be worried if the employee takes a 5-minute stroll after every 45 minutes, or if he gulps a cup of coffee every 2 hours. If someone feels that their concentration is better when they hear a song, let them listen to it, (unless of course, they want to play songs on a loudspeaker). You want work, you get work. Don’t try to impose your style of working, what suits you might be problematic for the other, and vice versa. Stay away. Let the employees work in a way that they deem best for them.
Besides, employers need to be humane. A job is a part of life, it is not life. There are many other things in life that are to be looked after. The employers need to be considerate and reasonable. They ought not to be stone-cold-hearted, disrespectful creatures. They must remember that they are availing the services of their employees, they have not bought them. Employees are not bonded labour, they are not slaves. And the employers are not some noble prize-winning, world-renowned personalities; they are a product of this bloody muddy mess.
Cases of hurling abuses have also not remained uncommon these days. Professional integrity, morality, ethics, and etiquette, seem to be fading away in this corporate world. All nuisance is justified here.
The biggest issue with this matter is that people have started to accept this style of working. People fear to take a stand for themselves. People are happy being subjugated. This mindset troubles the handful of those who are brave enough to keep away from being trodden under the foot. If 9 out of 10 employees in a department are submissive, the 10th who refuses to accept this persecution, and wants to work with his self-respect intact, would be termed as egotistic, hard to work with, a rebel, unsuitable, problematic, recalcitrant, etc. He would be troubled intentionally.
The employers must realise, that irrespective of how much fabricated, untrue, self-appreciation they shove in their LinkedIn biographies, they are a part of this terrible work culture which lacks ethic and reason, and one day they themselves can be a victim of it.