The trap of a secure and boring job
by Resume Digest on 14 Jan 2013 permalink
What once happened to blue collar jobs is now happening to white collar jobs: The Commodification of the labour market.
By hiring drones who follow instructions factory owners can drive their labour costs to a bare minimum. We have seen so many manufacturing jobs fly overseas and we are delighted to import from these people what we used to produce ourselves. Some people call it progress. Progress for who?
Here comes the call-centre. An entire office floor of cubicles with in each a computer screen to read the script to the customer, a telephone headset to yap all day to strangers you never get to see and a mirror to remind you to keep smiling...
Yes - wake-up to it office jobs are now a commodity. There will always be someone else to take your place and undercut your pay.
By providing a script, a rule book, a procedures manual (whatever you want to call it) bosses are declaring that you are not allowed to think for yourself. You are not expected to show initiative or demonstrate problem solving skills - all you are expected to do is turn up on time and stay there for the duration of a day's work.
You have become a cog in somebody else's marketing machine. Everything that could be tried has been tried. Outbound automated telemarketing messages were the ire of homeowners who got interrupted at meal time by obnoxious appeals.
Failing that, we had the craze of calls from India to induce us to take up a new credit card or swap our telephone plan.
In the face of all this, it seems that average jobs are disappearing fast. You can either get undercut by a plethora of cheap labour eager to take your place. Or you can make yourself indispensable by providing initiative in a workplace where they didn't get around putting everything in the rule book yet. (They might actually ask you to pour all your knowledge into the rule book and then turn around and make you redundant...)
You think this is too far fetched? I worked in the IT industry as a contractor and the Indian effect was astounding in cutting down our hourly rates. The permanent staffers had a unique technique to hang on to their jobs: procrastination by obstruction. Under the cover of security of information they erected barrier after barrier of passwords and network access so that newcomers could waste an entire day's work by simply being unable to get to the data they needed to perform their task.
Paul Mendham says:
This is all 'well-&-good' Bruno, but whilst true is a tad depressing! What would be the positive ways out of this downward spiral? Go out on a limb, take a huge risk, and set up by yourself (thence introducing your own systems!)? Or maybe look at the changing business landscape and get ahead of the curve? Or move to India?
Face-to-face roles seem more free from systematisation, where can these be found outside sales? I look forward to the next instalment, including a solution, with interest.
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