Friday, January 23, 2009

Options

I was talking to this guy I used to work with back in the day. He's since left the company and apparently so have most guys who were there when I was. Actually, like he said, everyone with options has left.

Which was a sad indictment of the place, and workplaces in general. I had this idea that a guy should work at a place where he wants to work. So when I left campus, I only applied to one place. Foolish huh. I didn't buy a tonne of brown envelops, dropping my CV anywhere the receptionist would take them. I didn't want to work anywhere. My ideas of what I wanted as work were pretty narrow so I didn't have many options actually. I did get to work there, eventually, and it was a lot of fun pretty much. My ideal job. So much for that.

I've come some way since then, and have accepted some realities. But I still find myself asking people what their ideal job would be. Mostly people out of campus. That kind of thing still intrigues me. Where would someone work, or what would someone do if they didn't have a mortgage to pay and such. And I find it really unfortunate that a lot of people would be doing different things in such circumstances. Given, for most people [more] money is the bottom line so they would go anywhere and do pretty much anything as long as it paid a certain amount of money X. Or more than their current employ at least.

Further I had this idea that employers would want guys to want to work for them. Guys who want to work for them. Rather than guys who are there because they don't have options. Rather than guys who show up at 8 because of the threat that comes with not signing the register at that time, and lament about all their time there at every opportunity. Rather than guys who do only what they must to ensure they continue getting a salary. So much for my ideas. The real world is much less idealistic.

Apparently there are many labourers and not enough places to labour at. Like one guy said, if everyone could do IT stuff we would be paid the same as guys who flip burgers. Or whatever local equivalent that would translate to. It's a good thing then that software is hard. Another guy was talking about how the concept of a fair wage is really subjective. I went to a department once to set up some system and was quite bemused to find a manager there, swivelling in his seat, looking around, nothing on his desk, basically twiddling his thumbs. The sight was one to behold for sure. I didn't know what to make of it. This can't be how things are normally, surely not. It must be a slow day or something. The business analyst type guy I was doing the tour with assured me these types had no clue what goes on. Wasn't so sure about that but I thought they probably got paid a load of cash. And slept pretty soundly at night. I didn't get it. But who is to say what a fair wage is. We had a watchie killed some time back by thieves. And for what. 5K? Puts things into perspective such.

So in the real world people are driven by options. Employers will only give significant pay rises or generally better conditions when guys threaten to strike. Or start leaving in droves. If they are critical and hard to replace that is. If you flip burgers, it was nice knowing you. Guys will only stay at an employer because none of those interviews they've gone for have panned out. Or they haven't got an opportunity to interview yet. Sad.

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