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2003-06-04 - 1:52 p.m.
"I generally show up about 15 minutes late. I use the side door, that way Lumburgh doesn't see me, after that I just sort of space out for about an hour...I space out for about an hour after lunch too. I'd say in a given week I do about 15 minutes of real, actual work." - Office Space
Today's rant is somewhat tangentially related to life in Officeville. This promises to be a loftier entry than usual. We all know companies suck -- they suck to work for, they suck if you have to deal with them as a client, they're pretty much all around bad news. I already know how much I hate working for companies, that's what spawned this blog, and I was vaguely aware of my hatred for the customer experience but the crux of the problem became clearer than usual today.
For over a month now we've had non-stop rain around here and my beloved house has become infested with ants. I am sure the rain did it, my house is immaculate (which I'll be getting to in a minute). I called Terminix to resolve the problem (there is a point with this story and I promise). They were a model of things not to do in customer service. They missed appointments, they didn't get rid of the ants, they were rude, they were unresponsive, they were unsympathetic to my situation. Why, you ask, would I have such a rotten experience in service and customer relations -- because Terminix is a company. The employees are going to get their checks whether my ants go away or not, they are going to get their checks whether they are rude to me or not. They care as little about their jobs as I do about mine. They are not really given a reason to be nice to me, provide quality service, or do their jobs properly. This isn't a problem just in the white collar world, this is a problem in every type of work, any time someone works for a company.
I'd like to contrast my experience with Terminix with my experience with my fabulous housekeeper. Yes, I admit it, I'm lazy and don't enjoy doing my own housework -- I pay someone else to do it. Because I'm opposed to all things corporate and evil, especially the more exploitative types of employers, I hired an independent contractor to do my housework. I like this situation because I think cleaning is hard work and she deserves every penny of the hefty fee I pay out. She likes the situation, no doubt, because there is no middle man profiting from her hard work, no doughy white middle aged manager sitting in a climate controlled office sipping lattes sees a dime from her cleaning my house. She does all the work, she gets all the money, everyone wins. Not only do I win because I have the satisfaction of knowing the person who is doing the work is getting fair pay, I win because she is directly benefiting from doing her job well so she does a superior job. My housekeeper knows if she makes me happy she gets repeat business and referrals and that all means more money into her pocket, see the incentive there. My housekeeper shows up when she says she will show up, she's always polite and friendly, she never damages any of my property, she takes pride in her work and above all leaves my house completely spotless -- seriously, you could eat off the tub when she leaves. Whenever my friends ask for a recommendation on housekeeping services I always give them her name.
The problem with Terminix employees is the same problem I have with my job -- "It's not that I'm lazy, it's that I just don't care. If I work my ass off... I don't see another dime, so where's the motivation?" (Office Space). I used to have ethics, I used to care about working hard all day and filling out a complete and honest timesheet, working in Officeville has demoralized me. The only way I'll ever get my soul back is by getting out of here. I long for the day when I can receive fair pay for work I actually do and satisfied, justly-treated clients. I'm in the process of making that dream a reality, I've put plans in motion to escape Officeville and move out to Geeksville, soon I'll be trading stories of sadistic co-workers and corrupt corporations for crazy clients and pulling all nighters. I think it'll be a trade worth making.
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