Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

`Help Wanted' Management Puts the `I' in `Team'

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

`Help Wanted' Management Puts the `I' in `Team'

Article excerpt

A young woman I know was drawn in by one of those "No Experience Necessary" job ads. Turns out it was telephone collections work. But she was between careers and she needed the money and you know the rest.

It is the sort of job that dries up the spirit. In her case, the work was made darker still by authoritarian management. She said the staff had made an office joke of a banner that hung on the wall: "There's No `I' in Team."

Still, this young woman was skilled at getting people to send in payment s, and - did I mention this? - she needed the money. Then, one evening she got a call that her father was gravely ill. She spent the night crying and making arrangements to travel to visit him. The next morning she dutifully dragged herself to the office. The first thing she did was to slip into the ladies' room, then she went to her "work station." As she did, her boss appeared. She was supposed to be logged onto the computer by 8 a.m. sharp, and here it was, four minutes past. Then, standing beneath the "Team" banner, he decided to make an example of her, denouncing her before her co-workers. She quit on the spot. You are, I trust, thinking that this sounds like another case of a manager being heartless and foolish. Sounds that way to me, too. But, while most managers are more civilized than this fellow, most are fighting the same heartless, foolish battles. Ask yourself this: When managers pay an employee, what is it they are buying? The employee's loyalty? Mind? Heart? Soul? Or is it purchase of something more tangible? The employee's time? Presence? Body? The Wise Manager buys none of these. The Wise Manager buys help. Classified advertising sections in newspapers have mostly dropped the "Help Wanted" label. Too bad. There is a fundamental truth contained in the words "Help Wanted," an entire philosophy of working. …

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