December 05, 2005

I’ve been promoted; so where is my laptop?

Consider this: he’s been promoted recently, they modestly fixed his salary, pumped-up his title with a resonating Chief, Senior, supervisor, executive, Team-leader or plain-old Manager, in a choice of pre or post fix to whatever dull job title he previously held, with pressurizing loads of new responsibilities and deliverables, and… that’s about it!

No company mobile-phone, vehicle or fuel-vouchers, no closed office with an indoor window shaded by a tilting shatter that intrigues voyeuristic tendencies, and there’ll be no upgrades to a “privilege” laptop. He starts anticipating the next business cards printing cycle to condole himself and reinforce the fact that he’s been promoted, but for months, he’ll be stuck with either no cards in the first place or a scarce of old ones that basically belittles his new self -or position depending on how personal he perceives his career!

It is unfortunate really, to find employees identifying progress and growth during their career with such mediocre measures that usually have little to do with the job they’re paid for!

This starts from the moment the employee is inaugurated by receiving the branded neck-band or Yo-Yo like retractable attachment-bit that ends with a company idea-card; the latter usually comes in either cheap glossed carton or RFiD plastic in case the company has invested in some useless access control & attendance monitoring system.

He’ll be embracing this token of belonging at all times; during lunch breaks, after hours hangout and sometimes until late hours, priding himself for the mere thought of being part of an organization! A climax may be reached if the company happens to be a teleco, a high profile IT firm, or a medium-size regional office of an international company with an in-your-face foriegn name!

The new employee goes about his business, wither he was an oven-hot fresh graduate or just a second or third timer, in both cases, the first 6 months usually sustains the propelling motivation to prove oneself as a worthy employee despite how he managed to get aboard the company: family business, Aunt happens to be the HR manager, or a just-a-three-month training post that ends up to be a permanent position in utter mystery.

Then, the employee unwillingly start noticing the benefits that the big guys get or fight for if they lack, he’ll see his supervisor fighting for privileges their peers might have, and his section manager fighting to elevate himself into a closed cubical instead of being exposed to the general public and vulnerable to interruptions, and the department manager (or DIE REC TOR) fiercely and competitively battling others for more authoritarian grip over ambiguous inter-departmental affairs …

Gradually, the innocent employee finds himself engaged in a reorientation trip in which his focus on his job lessen in favor of how to climb up the hierarchy, and instead of meeting his career objectives that he ripped of from some career-clinic website, he gradually becomes obsessed with how to leach onto the organization and benefit from the same bounties his superiors are reaping while he’s being paid peanuts.

Much to be said still; about email wars, protocols & To, CC & BCC skirmishes, the mid-management dilemmas of who’s got the steadiest authoritarian fist around, and the disrupting competition over who’s got the strongest promotion indications… all but too much of an electrified and sickening environment!

These are few excerpts from a reality many Jordanian and Middle Eastern companies live by! I wouldn’t be surprised if it was a worldwide phenomenon, but I can imagine that in developed economies, the effects of corporate immaturity is remedied by advance management techniques and optimal utilization of a well planned human-resource requirements and the development of organizational-behavior scholarly that disciplines the overall interactions among employees.

A proper culture must evolve to complement the huge professional and capable work force in Jordan, a culture that does not identify its work with company idea cards, hyped and hallow job titles, lunch breaks at Mecca mall, discussions about email heroines and unnecessary attention to privileges and office politics. A culture that prides itself for being an efficient, dedicated and quality-centric in essence, and view this as the mean to excel personal career profiles and success stories.


Ahmad Humeid said...

Thanks for this. A good diagnosis of many sick corporate nevironments. I particularily liked you description of the tag bearing telecom employees syndrome (although this is by no means a jordanian thing). The way you descibed it is almost identical to the way i talk about it.

I call the tags neckalaces the symbols of a New Tribalism :). When you go to lunch you keep carrying your tag to show that your from 3asheeret al Fastlinkj or Qabilet Al Mobilecom :)

I particularily like the way the guys yank their RFID tags away from themselves, neccesitating a bulging of the chest forward, to get the tag nearer to the receiver that opens the slding door.

The way some of these employees are full of themselves is pathetic. Although I am noticing this phenomenon is on the decrease, as more and more companies come to the scene and their novelty wears off.

Khalidah said...

I second Ahmad's opinion ... sometimes I think these companies are all a part of a soap opra or something where everyone must be movie star gorgeous and they all come from wealthy families ... etc. etc. it's just all fake

The reality is that these people are lost in their self actualization process .. they have reached just underneath the tip of Maslow's Pyramid ( and are trying hard to overcome this last obstacle .. it might be a laptop like x or a company mobile like y or even a parking space with their name like z.
ID cards are just a mockery ... I never saw the point of posting my personal info for the world to see .. I mean what is so great about being stamped of one tribe other than the other (quoting Ahmad on the tribal issue :))?

I think we need more leaders to show people how they can achieve self actualization without putting all these fake shows or getting marked with a multinational stamp .. LOL