Monday, February 09, 2009

I wish I could tell you that Andy fought the good fight, and the Sisters let him be. I wish I could tell you that - but prison is no fairy-tale world.

Tales from private industry...

Boiled down to it's essence the debate over the stimulus is between those that subscribe to the tired religion of the "free market" vs. those who realistically recognize that there are occasions when it's necessary for the government to take action to keep the economic waterwheel that is the economy from seizing up and grinding to a stop.

There are more than a few people who continue to look at government as evil and for them the debate begins and ends with that concept. They cannot fathom that private industry ain't all that and a bag of chips. As someone who actually has spent his whole life in private industry I find this idea pretty absurd. Every criticism you can level at government can be turned around and thrown and private companies. Every single one.

I value my bloggy anonymity, mainly because I'm often reading, writing and commenting on other's blogs from work. They say that's frowned upon. So this may be somewhat vague, but all of it is true.

I'm a middle manager at a Fortune 500 company in real life. I like the company I work for quite a bit. I consider them well run, their reporting to Wall Street is pretty above board and they're not likely to wind up on the nightly news because of any corporate shenanigans. But they are a company like any other, which means we've continued to increase productivity for years without rewarding employees and they do things that I would consider unfair if they weren't standard corporate practice.

Just one example of how employees suffer the death of a thousand cuts behind the scenes. For years annual merit raises have been held to 3% average, 5% for our best performing employees. It's a sort of grading curve where as a manager I'm expected to identify poorly performing staff and exclude them from an annual raise. The thing is - I have no poorly performing employees. If I did they wouldn't be working for me.

So the net result is that my experienced, tenured staff wind up getting 3% raises annually. Well below the cost of health care inflation alone, not to mention the cost of living. The longer they work for me here the worse off they are going to be financially.

I've been terribly worried that this year this would be even worse and that the percentages for non-exempts would be lowered or raises frozen altogether. They've done that with managers like myself already so I won't be getting a raise this year. Truth be told- I'm just happy to have a job in this economy so I'm not terribly upset.

Tomorrow I'll tell you about how the company recently started sticking me with incentives I'm eligible for. They've really become quite ingenious in how they screw you. Under other circumstances I might admire their creativity.

10 comments:

Lisa said...

It's going to make me want to scream, isn't it?

Lisa said...

I'm sorry I'm mostly a lurker, BTW.

Liberality said...

At the library where I work we went three years without a raise. Then we got a 1% raise. Last year we got a 3% raise and felt happy for it.

Now the library hires only part time staff except for branch and department heads which are full time. At part time status you don't get benefits or paid vacations and such. The library just cannot afford to offer these benefits anymore.

ThoughtCriminal said...

The nation is paying a huge price from a nearly three-decade glorification of free-market rule, run by know-nothing imbeciles that make Dilbert's boss look like Captain Picard. We find them in government too, largely because we kept electing "Successful Businessmen" (who know how to lose somebody else's money) and appointing CEOs to head things like the Treasury Department.

The claim that Private Industry jobs are "permanent", while government jobs are "temporary" is a Costco-Size drum of stupid. Look at the layoff numbers and tell me those jobs are permanent. In my home state, government jobs are temporary too, because our GOP controlled state legislature has decided that firing teachers and university professors is preferable to holding off on even MORE top-income-heavy tax cuts. Yes, they think the way to kick-start our state's economy is put people out of work, and cut education.

Don Snabulus said...

I work for a struggling small company. My gross pay hasn't changed since early 2000.

Since they couldn't give raises, I fought for 4 extra weeks of vacation after about 4 years (in lieu of a raise). 1.5 yrs ago I had to fight again to get a puny bonus system in place. It gets tiring. On the plus side, the bonuses put me over half way to cost of living raises.

But you are right. We are lucky to be employed so I will have wait a while to complain again.

Sadly, it appears the Democratic supermajority is about to allow a federal bank of worthless loans to be created allowing the banks to do it all again. We're gonna get robbed again.

Lockwood said...

Cost of living goes up 7 percent. Complanies act like they're being impossibly magnanimous giving a 3 percent raise. Employees scream thay can't make ends meet on less than five percent and threaten to strike for that. Company sagely nods head, "No idea how the 'real world' works, kiddo. Forget it." Employees suck it up and decide that four percent less than they've been getting is better than nothing. And that's the way the "real world" works. Slavery was never abolished. Just legal ownership of other people.

Übermilf said...

I have two comments loosely related to, but not directly addressing, what you've written here. Not that I didn't read it, 'cuz I did.

1. I am frequently enraged at how workers are portrayed as a "liability" on the balance sheet, as if their salaries and benefits are somehow a charitable contribution a corporation makes to the community.

In addition to being flat-out wrong, it's psychological warfare.

2. The people at the top, who have caused this financial mess through their selfishness and "buddy system" of assured, grossly disproportionate monetary awards, have yet to feel the negative affects of it.

I keep reading about people "choosing" not to indulge themselves because it would "feel wrong" in these times.

Not normal working people, mind you. Not one of the more than 1.2 MILLION people who have lost jobs since November of last year.

Thanks for pissing me off, Dean.

Randal Graves said...

Um, übermilf, who exactly takes on the EXTREME SPORT OF RISK in doing business? Not you fully and completely expendable workers but those upper management/CEO types who merely wish to sustain the warped Manichean high school dynamic through to the grave.

You're all communists, especially liberality with her librarianness and bookery.

The unwashed masses must remain undumacated!

I think I'm gonna run for Congress. I want that cost o' the living adjustification.

Dean Wormer said...

Lisa-

Welcome. It pretty much does make me want to scream, yep.

Liberality-

What's sick is that you would still have knuckleheads who would argue that public employees are overpaid. My father worked for the Corps of Engineers and from Reagan onward all they took was hits and pay freezes.

That part-time thing is big in private industry as well. I just had to watch a training video where they let us know we would be judged on how much part time labor we use. Jerks.

Thoughtcriminal-

The claim that Private Industry jobs are "permanent", while government jobs are "temporary" is a Costco-Size drum of stupid.

Spot on. The way some people talk about companies it's as if they're some sort of benign entity that keep employees on the payroll just for shits and giggles. There may have been a time when that was true but American business is cuthroat these days about employees.

don-

It absolutely sucks that you have to fight for what used to be considered basic business practices.

Sadly, it appears the Democratic supermajority is about to allow a federal bank of worthless loans to be created allowing the banks to do it all again. We're gonna get robbed again.

Nationalize those fuckers.

Lockwood-

That's a pretty good summary of how stuff works. The way the market is right now employees don't have much recourse so employers can treat them like crap.

That didn't happen overnight, either. Our merit raise structure has been the same for at least five years.

ubermilf--

1. I am frequently enraged at how workers are portrayed as a "liability" on the balance sheet, as if their salaries and benefits are somehow a charitable contribution a corporation makes to the community.

It's kind of funny because most corporations will have a variation on the same mission statement that goes: "we value employees, customers and shareholders" when the first one is a lie, the second increasingly rare and the third the only truism. But by screwing the first two you will eventually hurt the third.

2. The people at the top, who have caused this financial mess through their selfishness and "buddy system" of assured, grossly disproportionate monetary awards, have yet to feel the negative affects of it.

They do need to feel that pain.

randal-

When I start hearing about millionaires losing it all and having to live like paupers then I'll feel better because we'll no there's some risk back in the system.

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