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Fish On Fridays

Note: Today, on 12/23/11, I’m delighted to present to you the first guest blog entry ever posted on bulldozer00.com. Woot! The following delicious blarticle comes to you from a frequent BD00 blog commenter who logs on using a myriad of creative names with the word “fish” in  them. Could it be Abe Vigoda in disguise?

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Seasons Greetings to the followers of BD00’s blog—Welcome to a not-so-periodic, occasional feature we’re going to call “Fish on Fridays“.

Everyone knows the Bulldozer here puts in a great deal of effort spinning his wheels and blogging about the world as he sees it.  And like everyone, he deserves a break–a vacation if you will.  So here I am pinch-hitting every once in a while so BD00 can enjoy that extra dirty martini over the holidays.

Yesterday’s blog about glorifying the Salesmen and the Accountants spelling the demise of a company got me thinking about the perceptions of the people that “Do” versus the people that “Don’t“.

I’m a creative–not a code jockey like the ‘dozer. I take blank sheets of paper (white-screen on a monitor these days) and I draw up conceptual design solutions to merchandise consumer products in appealing ways and dress up retail environments that will convince consumers to part with their hard-earned cash for that next great thing in the store.

This time of year, there’s always a huge battle that goes on at just about every company, where the people that “Do” decide to take time off from their work and take a well-deserved vacation; a break from the daily grind.  This leaves the people who “Don’t” holding the reigns while those that “Do” are away.  In my company, two things happen.  The people that “Do” (salesmen) all rush in with a whole list of new projects that require the people that “Don’t” to generate a great deal of output while those that “Do” are away.  Generally, this output has a well-defined deadline–the “First of the Year” or “Right after the Holiday“, or “As soon as we get back“.  This allows them to set up a huge flurry of new customer visits and get a ‘fresh start‘ on the year, while they take their break and kick up their feet in the sand with a cooler of Corona’s beside them.

As a result, the people that “Do” go away for a week or two, and the people that “Don’t” have a mad rush of activity that must all be completed right at the time when EVERYONE wants to take a break and enjoy the season.  Usually, this also means short-time frames as there are at least 2 and sometimes 3 or 4 workdays that have been turned into corporate days off, so the actual work-week is truncated and those that “Don’t” actually have much less time to complete their tasks than they normally would. This is compounded by the fact that at least a portion of the people that “Don’t” are also taking time off, leaving a skeleton crew around to cover and handle the work that comes in.

Quite often, particularly when your business activities rely on the support of other businesses  (suppliers, contractors, agencies, etc), everything at this time of year slows down or becomes impossible because everyone is short-handed. You can’t get answers from your customer, the salesperson is unavailable to help, you can’t find stuff, and the outside groups you depend on are unable to respond in the same timely manner as you are used to. As a result, the things you need to do can’t get finished until everyone else gets back and you get to start the year with a whole bunch of extra time in the office, sweating out the details while those who “Do” are off relaxing.

The perception is that there is this great holiday season and everyone should enjoy it, but in the great corporate world of BOZOs the reality is that there is usually one class of workers where the holiday time is one of the busiest and most stressful times of the year. I found this quote from an Apple employee that just about sums it all up…

You can expect that your needs will always come second to “the needs of the business”. In fact, anytime you hear that phrase, be prepared for the next sentence to describe how you’re going to be screwed. For example, “I’m sorry, Joe, but the needs of the business dictate that you can’t take a vacation between October and February, or June through September”.

I am reminded of the movie Ants, where the worker Ants–those that ‘Don’t‘ bust their little exoskeletons to feed the Grasshoppers who ‘Do‘.  There is a quote in this blog attributed to Tom Sutcliffe where he is looking at the recent uprisings in Egypt and comparing them to business. Sutcliffe mentions that:

It seems odd that people will endure, within the framework of a firm or an institution, a degree of subjection and speechlessness that would strike them as insufferable at the level of citizenship and that “office tyrannies” might end up becoming the target of mass uprisings not unlike those that we have been witnessing in the Middle East.

At a forward thinking company, the entire place shuts down for the holidays–no one is left holding the bag.  But with the glorification of those that ‘Do‘ as BD00 discussed, we are creating an internal separation between groups, which is part of the process of demise.  Look at your company and the people around you. Are you someone that “does” or someone that “doesn’t“?  What are you doing for the people on the other side of that equation?

Happy Holidays?

  1. leftovers-fish
    December 26, 2011 at 8:32 am

    somewhat narcissistic to comment on one’s own post, but this graph is PERFECT!

    • December 26, 2011 at 9:41 am

      Your words inspired its manifestation from out of the unknown and into the known 🙂

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