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April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review May 13, 2008 / 8 Iyar 5768 5768

Take this job and love it

By Malcolm Fleschner


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Every so often I'll read a newspaper story about a recent employee satisfaction survey conducted by a large human resources consulting firm revealing that — get ready for a shocker - American workers aren't particularly happy with their jobs. Generally speaking, I believe these results can be ascribed to one of two factors:


1. The HR firms that tend to conduct these sorts of surveys also happen to sell services promising to improve companies' employee satisfaction. The results may therefore be ever so slightly skewed by survey questions such as, "On a scale of one to ten, how would you rate your workplace satisfaction, taking into account any time you've been passed over for promotion, belittled by your boss, stabbed in the back by a coworker taking credit for your work or had your egg salad sandwich stolen from the break room fridge by a certain coworker who continues to denies it even though just last Thursday he clearly had a suspicious-looking dollop of mayonnaise on his tie and then you found your lunch bag, clearly marked with the words "DO NOT TOUCH!!! THIS MEANS YOU!!!" in big letters, right there crumpled up in the jerk's garbage can?"


2. Leading survey questions notwithstanding, the fact is that many American workers are miserable at their jobs. Why, just ask one of them, particularly if his or her job involves contact with the public, and you'll hear all kind of complaints. Or don't even ask — frequently today's disaffected worker will thoughtfully share the details of his or her work-related gripes with anyone lucky enough to come within shouting distance.


The exception to this downward trend in workplace satisfaction is found at "forward-thinking" companies like Google, where employees receive a range of perks, including generous medical benefits, free meals, access to exercise equipment, laundry services, child care, massages, ski vacations and free use of company wheelbarrows for carting all their money home. Plus every week certain favored employees are invited to join Google co-founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page at the company's secret underground volcano hideaway for a banquet dinner and to participate in further planning for world domination.


Asked the source of their unhappiness, surveyed workers typically place the blame at the feet of bosses who are frequently described as "insensitive," "incompetent" "overbearing" or "much too uptight about monitoring which adult websites employees may or may not be visiting." When confronted with these criticisms, bosses typically defend their management practices, pointing to, for example, recently adopted worker-friendly policies like offering employees the choice of kneeling or merely bowing deferentially when begging for a bathroom break.


There are, of course, countless business books devoted to helping bosses improve their relationships with the employees they manage. Some of the suggestions in these management guides often strike me as remarkably similar to the advice I've seen in guidebooks for parents of small children, such as, "Reward the employee behaviors you want to encourage," "Be very clear about what your expectations are," "Give them the room to succeed or fail on their own," and "Always make sure their immunizations are up-to-date."


Frankly, I find the comparison of employees to small children a little insulting. To the children, that is. Say what you will about this nation's out-of-control toddlers, but one very rarely hears about three-year-olds pilfering office supplies, playing computer solitaire all day or skipping out with hundreds of thousands of dollars in funds embezzled from mom and dad (not until they go to college, that is).


Still, I have to admit there's some merit to the idea of treating children like miniature employees. For example, when our first child was a toddler, my wife and I were the quintessential "helicopter" parents, constantly hovering out of a fear of a range of potential hazards such as small items that could induce choking, electrical outlets, strangers, the hot stove or rabid raccoons that might somehow gain entrance to our house. But now that we have three kids, my wife and I have come to realize that much like employees, small children need the freedom to explore and learn on their own, even if that means occasionally tripping and falling or mistakenly forwarding a photocopy of their rear ends to everyone on their email list.


Unfortunately, much like new parents, many bosses are wary of giving employees too much freedom. One concern is that, without adequate supervision, employees might turn the workplace into a wild, undisciplined, free-for-all of sex, drugs and non-stop debauchery. Most companies, however, prefer to save that sort of thing for the office Christmas party.


Perhaps worse, bosses fear, employees might start genuinely enjoying their work and wind up doing such a good job and improving performance that, as a society, we begin wondering whether all those bosses are really necessary. And no one wants that. No one in charge, that is.

JWR contributor Malcolm Fleschner is a humor columnist for The DC Examiner. Let him know what you think by clicking here.


Previously:

04/17/08: News you can (re)use
04/02/08: Commercial (over)load
02/20/08: An overdose of reality
02/14/08: A developing situation
01/30/08: I can tech it or leave it
01/02/08: Confessions of a coke addict
01/02/08: Our bills are due
12/13/07: Going (to lunch) once, going twice…
11/28/07: Out with the old
11/06/07: My latest pet project
11/06/07: Can't tune it out
10/23/07: Something special in the hair
09/12/07: Can I have your attention, please?
09/12/07: Houston, we have an image problem
08/21/07: In the heat of fashion
08/09/07: Let's get in the game
06/13/07: You gonna eat that?
05/08/07: That's disinter-tainment
05/02/07:You Are (not) Getting Sleepy...
04/18/07: No time like Father Time
03/15/07: Deface the Nation
03/08/07: More gifts? You shouldn't have
02/22/07: Relationships can be such a chore
12/05/06: Who's calling the shots?
11/09/06: I'm taking selling to a whole new level
10/27/06: Some skills are beyond repair
10/18/06: You can't tech it with you
10/04/06: Award to the wise
08/24/06: Phrased and Confused
08/09/06: We're Gonna Party Like it's $19.99
07/19/06: Just Singing in the Brain
05/24/06: Who says you can't go home again?
05/11/06: When nightly news stories go off script
04/26/06: Cents and sensibility: A thought for your pennies
03/16/06: The day the Muzak died
02/23/06: Checkbook diplomacy begins at home
02/15/06: Today's toys: Where learning means earning



© 2006, Malcolm Fleschner

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