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Ears in the night...

November 9, 2008 3:05 PM 11/9/08

So last night we went to a fundraiser dinner for my wife’s autism center and something very strange happened to me.

People listened to me last night. Two or three people in particular listened to me talk about different things like autism and society and computers and emerging intelligence and a number of other things. One of them was a wonderful intelligent lady that gave me some intelligent thoughts to think about and even a book reference. (It’s not my policy to post names on this blog so she shall remain nameless.)

It’s oddly been a long time since that happened to me and it felt quite strange.

The night consisted of a dinner, a silent auction, and a 50:50 raffle. The dinner was quite good and had properly cooked rare meat among other things and thankfully my wife didn’t win anything from the silent auction. As for the 50:50 auction we didn’t win despite the aforementioned lady kindly giving me her tickets as she was leaving.

Frankly I’m of the opinion that neither my wife nor i should have had an entry in the raffle or the auction. It raises to many questions if a member of the group throwing the event wins a contest even if they give the money right back. People think “Well that’s damn convenient...” and it makes them question the integrity of the organization in question. I’ve always been of the opinion that it is better to be “squeaky clean” about such things.

Winter is upon us once again. I saw multiple snow flurries while driving to work today. I’m fervently hoping that it doesn’t decide to formally dump snow until later tomorrow or something as I’m going to be at work late this evening doing some network organization that needs to be done before tomorrow morning.

Being stuck at the office would suck quite badly but it wouldn’t be the first time I’ve had to spend the night in an office. Such is the life of an I/T person.

If I get home at any reasonable time tonight I’ll pull the deck off the lawnmower and put the plow on it.

Winters are always bittersweet for me but I think I’ve mentioned that before. Something about the cold and snow trapping people inside places.

I’ve noticed that fewer people these days go out into the snow during winter these days. I’m not sure why that is but some theories include things like fear of being sick, fear of chemicals in the snow (yes I’ve actually heard that one from someone), fear of being stranded out in the cold, etc.

The first theory, combined with other things in society, seems more likely than the others. It’s very simple as to why it exists at this time as well.

The average person can not afford to get sick.

I mean it. Many people, myself included, come to work as long as they can get out of bed into the transportation of their choice. Why? Well there are several reasons.

1) If you’re an hourly employee you don’t want to reduce your income.

2) If you’re a salaried employee you don’t want to appear weak or “unreliable” to the management above you.

3) The task load of one employee in today’s society (at least here in the US) is often twice of what it should be. That means you go to work because otherwise you end up behind. Too far behind and...well...you know...

4) Some companies force you to take vacation time as sick days.

This is a shame. No one should have to go to work when they should stay home.

And quite a bit of the above list comes from one thing - companies thinking of their personnel as discardable objects.

Here’s some things they _should_ be thinking about:

1) I don’t care what they person’s position is they had to have some experience to get that job OR you had to train them. Either way repeatedly training people or hiring new people likely costs more money than letting the person miss a few days.

2) If you’re concerned about people missing time and causing a production problem then it needs to be considered what happens if the whole office is out sick with something nasty. That’s what will happen eventually if you push people to come to work when they are ill.

3) The more you treat them as replaceable the less they will value their jobs. Want to reduce turnover? Encourage people to stay. It’s that simple. And forcing people to use their vacation time when sick certainly does the opposite.

4) Want more efficiency out of your organization? Make sure that people have the right load for their position. I know times are tough but maybe you could let a project slide because there isn’t someone to cover it and it would overload an existing person.

5) Remember that people are human. It’s not a crime to get sick. Not unless you’re name is Ebenezer that is. So treating people like they are ruining your stock options if they miss a day or treating them as if they are “useless” if they get sick does nothing but increase turnover and remove a good portion of any potential loyalty your employees might have for the company.

I’m taking a chance posting these things here but quite honestly they are all general things that most companies already have figured out by now so I see no reason for anyone to get irritated by them. Least of all my employers.

Which reminds me...I need to get back to work...




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