The Office Space Gambit
If I had to pick ten of my favorite movies of all time, no doubt the juggernaut known as Office Space would make the cut. For some strange reason it didn’t enjoy critical or commercial success during its theater run, but since then, it has developed the proverbial “cult” following and status.
Jeepers I love that movie!
In one famous scene, the boss (Bill Lumbergh) has an impromptu office “meeting” out on the floor to introduce a consultant (Bob Slidell) who has been hired to “streamline” the company. The message is clear: Fear for your jobs.
After introducing Bob, the manager, who wants to end things on a positive note, famously says, “Oh, and remember: next Friday… is Hawaiian shirt day. So, you know, if you want to, go ahead and wear a Hawaiian shirt and jeans.”
Hilarious! Like that is some great concession or something? Wow! Jeans?? Really. Are you fucking shitting me? You’d really go that far?
As they say, sometimes life imitates art. So it goes for my wife at her shithole. They’ve been busy lately, laying off employees and working on the employee handbook. It’s a potent one-two punch of fun and goodness.
Phase one was to make everyone burn their vacation days early, by the end of last year. Vacation days that were earned and saved in accordance with company policy. The strange idea behind this is that employees can make plans to, you know, take vacations and shit. Because of the crackdown, employees who had already made plans in 2012 had to cancel them. Suddenly they didn’t have enough vacation days saved. Go figure.
Of course speculation ran rampant that this was in preparation for a second round of layoffs so employee morale went in the shitter.
Then came the “no Christmas bonuses” announcement. Always a surefire gutbuster during hard economic times.
Last, but not least, came the “addendums” to the employee handbook. Office supplies were suddenly put inside a locked cage. It was described as a cost-cutting move. No doubt employees doing their jobs with less stuff will save the company a ton of money. The cage prompted me to wonder, of course, “Wouldn’t it be more efficient to put employees in the cage instead?” Missed opportunity suckas!
The first page all employees were required to sign: A policy that requires all employees to be subject to random drug and alcohol testing. That sure came out of the blue. After all these years. Has a single employee in the last decade had a drug or alcohol incident? Nope. But this is management doing what management does best: finding “solutions” to “problems” that don’t even exist.
Another new page for the handbook explains that employees have no expectation of privacy at work, including phones, computers, email, desk drawers and, whatever this means, even their “personal effects.” They may be observed and/or recorded at any time. I’m not a lawyer so I don’t know if that means they are going after things like purses, cell phones, and electronic handheld devices, too. At this point I’d believe they are capable of anything. Perhaps that explains why all managers recently attended TSA training.
I used to be able to send short emails back and forth with my wife during the day. No more. I’ve been told those emails aren’t allowed any more.
Here’s the good part. After all this shit goes down, suddenly the woman affectionately known as “The H.R. Bitch” was out roaming the halls, spending her official time with a grid in hand, collecting money for the company’s Super Bowl pool. You know, an illegal gambling activity. “Oh, the dollar amounts are too small to count,” she said. “It’s worth doing for employee morale.”
I shit you not. They actually had the balls to say that. They had the balls.
You want to improve morale? I can help. It’s a simple strategy. I call it, “Don’t be assholes.”
As I heard about all this fun stuff, I came to a realization. My wife’s company is utilizing the exact same tactics from the Office Space movie. Give ’em the one-two punch of bad shit, then follow up with the world’s lamest concession. Management might find it odd, but being offered a cupcake after someone shits on your face doesn’t suddenly make the cupcake worth eating. That’s a peculiar aspect of reality that eludes their grasp.
I understand a small cabal of employees is considering reporting the company for sponsoring gambling. You know, the Super Bowl pool may just end up being a big boost to employee morale after all…