Thursday, March 05, 2009

Thoughts on work, value and growth

Yes, it's a pretty depressing time. Everyone knows it -- even those who profess to have "hope" in the government. Even they can feel it. Only problem is, they can't tell you why.

That's not the only problem, mind you. Many others who have no faith or hope in the government (like me and hopefully you), can't articulate what the problem is either.

Why is it wrong to give money to automakers? No one knows, of course, because they don't know why they are failing. Many of them don't realize that you and I are the objective reason why this economy can't recover. Never before in our nation's history has a good work ethic been so closely connected with the nation's well being.

Allow me to illustrate it with some personal experience:

I was talking recently to a veteran of the company I work for (which I won't disclose). He shared with me a time in the past when his manager purposefully backed up jobs in the plant and took longer with each one, much to the chagrin of those who had a life and wanted to get home to their wife and kids. As was evident to everyone under him, he did this so he could rack up as much overtime hours as he could.
*End of personal experience*

What is you're reaction to this kind of man? In a good economy, a lazy plant manager like this can often get away with it -- since he is often able to establish the long hours as status quo and the company, which has no shortage of business, can still make money.

In a bad economy, because of this man's actions, the company will be unable to lower prices because it costs so much to produce goods that other companies can produce cheaper. If the business is smart, it feels free to take a hard look at the plant's operation and search for ways to become more efficient. If they discover the manager's dishonesty, they will either correct his actions or replace him. Either way, the plant will become more efficient in order to produce goods at the prices consumers can afford.

Simple?

Unless...

...someone tells you that the business has no right to make an arbitrary decision regarding the manager who has worked for decades at the company -- someone like a union boss who is looking out for the thief and the lazy man. So the business is unable to fire the person who is costing them money. The high costs keep getting passed to consumers, who look for competitors, or find ways to live without the product. Company sells or goes bankrupt, costing everyone their job.

Do people know that one man's bad work ethic can cost dozens of jobs if he is not justly fired? It's a simple but profoundly ignored truth that man will take as much as he can get with as little work as possible. If you tell a business owner that he has no authority to demand and reward high productivity and efficiency, you essentially give him no ability to provide any job in the first place because no one will advance based on merit.

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