Re: The Sub Shop Guy

Subject: Re: The Sub Shop Guy
From: "Jeanne A. E. DeVoto" <jaed -at- jaedworks -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Sat, 3 Feb 2001 18:31:02 -0800

At 5:00 PM -0800 2/3/2001, Bruce Byfield wrote:
>Hard work and dedication aren't just something you find in a cereal
>box. Often, they aren't even something that one person has and
>another person hasn't. They exist in environments that make them

I'd go further than that. I think they exist in environments that don't
actively stamp them out. In my experience, most people like to work hard
and be dedicated to the success and quality of their work; when I've seen
general disaffection and slacking, it's been because management has let the
need for control take priority over the need for good work.

A case in point is the story - we've heard variations of this over and over
- of a writer who needs to get a manual out on schedule, and works until
three in the morning one night to make sure it's done. The writer comes in
at ten the next morning and is promptly bawled out by a corporate higher-up
for "not coming in on time", followed by a company-wide memo bemoaning the
"laziness" of certain staffers and reiterating the policy that everyone
must be in by eight. You ask that writer whether she'll be willing to pull
an all-nighter next time someone else's mistake puts her schedule in
jeopardy. I can tell you what she'll say.

There's no faster way to de-motivate people than by letting them know that
you don't want their best; you don't care about their best; what counts is
not whether their work is plentiful and of good quality, but how well they
follow rules that have little or nothing to do with quality and everything
to do with maintenance of control.

(The application to telecommuting is left as an exercise for the reader. ;-)

jeanne a. e. devoto ~ jaed -at- jaedworks -dot- com

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