My normal every-day desk job is at a place where there are plenty of questions that just can’t be answered easily. In fact, a large amount of time, the questions really come down to, where do I send this issue that needs to be resolved. My current job, in fact, mostly involves just trying to figure out where things go so that the world can continue spinning once again.
This actually should seem rather simple. I mean, honestly, even though we operate a large business, things are actually segmented fairly well, and there’s always a basic idea of the direction things should be sent. In fact, you can usually get things figured out to a basic department, groups of less than one hundred people, where someone within that group should be able to fix the issue as it is their primary responsibility.
In a business that employs over 150,000 people in over 21 countries (according to our corporate website), being able to narrow things down to a group of 100 people within a few seconds should be considered pretty amazing…and it is…but those hundred people, more often than not, are a severe obstacle toward getting the final result.
Within those hundred people, invariably, no matter which department, which country, which problem you have, are 99 people who have easily determined that even being aware of what you’re talking about just simply isn’t their problem. It’s not their every day job, so therefore they just can’t be of any help. In fact, if you send something to them, asking if they might have any direction to provide in how to get things to the appropriate party, the standard response, no matter who this goes to, runs along the lines of, “This doesn’t go here”. END OF MESSAGE.
This “Not-My-Job” mentality is rampant within the corporation I work for, and, although I haven’t worked for very many large organizations such as this, I’ve found, from conversations with people who work for other corporate entities, that it is a standard issue everywhere.
When I worked at small businesses around town, I would work toward finding the answer to anything for the people who would come into that business. People walked in the door looking a taxi, I’d call them up (even though we were a photo lab). People wanted to know where they could go to buy the latest camera equipment, I’d give them a list of store options and locations as well as give them the differences in what they could do. People wanted to have their VHS tapes converted to DVD, I’d say, “Hey man, we don’t do that here, get out of my store!”. No…I’d send them along to a place down the road that did the work and tell them to mention we sent them so they could get a (minor) discount. Heck, people would come in stating they had a flat tire, or a dead battery, and I would go out and help them get their car started and on their way.
I’m not looking for accolades, nor am I showcasing an example of good customer service. This wasn’t standard store policy…it wasn’t even mentioned. It’s just an example of being a person who lives in a world with other people who recognizes the fact that they might be able to offer some assistance to someone, so why not take the rather minimal effort to do so?
But this “Not-My-Job” mentality…it’s so weird to me. Perhaps the size of corporations, tied in with the fact that we sit behind computers and answer e-mails instead of actually talking to people face-to-face…maybe it’s just that we don’t actually see each other as people anymore and therefore don’t see the need to make any form of step out of our way to assist our fellow man…I really don’t know.
But I also don’t understand it.
I mean, I totally understand the every once in a while, I’m just in a terrible mood, type of thing. I get it. Everyone gets to that point at least a few times in their lives. Sometimes you just don’t want to deal with things, and having to deal with things that you don’t need to is just that much worse…but this is the standard for many people (it appears), not the exclusionary circumstance.
I fear we’re losing the society of our culture. Our local arts magazine recently ran a piece about how neighborhoods don’t seem to interact any longer, and I’ll admit that I’m not the greatest at going out and dropping welcome baskets at the front doorstep of a new neighbor. But I do make my attempts to make myself known, chat up the people who live near me, and, even if I don’t know them, I try my hardest to help when I see they could use it. And I see that among many of my neighbors as well. I can’t tell you how happy it makes me see all the people out helping each other push their cars out of the snowbanks after an incredibly terrible snow storm…or how often people go just that extra few feet to shovel off someone else’s walk…or cut their grass…or, you know, just be there for them when they are obviously having a bad day.
In my personal experiences with neighborhoods, I see that they are, in many ways, still quite alive, but knowing that there is even this concern showcases my fears that much greater.
People aren’t interacting with people as people…
For whatever reason, it makes me think of the current situation with the news as well, where instead of there being one news source that attempts to be hard hitting and unbiased and whatever else (of course, you can easily question whether that was truthful then as well, but since they served people of all political standings they obviously didn’t want to lose half their readers), we now have all the news options available, each biased to your own preferences, meaning that you just read what you want to read and don’t learn anything about the other side of the line.
We are becoming more and more separated. We don’t want to talk to new people because we’re afraid of how different they may be. Instead of a melting pot (or a tossed salad as my middle school social studies teacher liked to call America), we’re becoming more like the separated ingredients that are awaiting being tossed into the pot.
And I fear for what they means for us as a nation. But even more than that…I fear for what it means for us as people. If we can’t see others as fellow travelers on this round orb, as opposed to other human laborers to use for our own purposes, things will break down quickly.
Of course…maybe this all really just comes down to poor work ethics and people who should have been fired ages ago…;-)
All the same, corporate employment is awesome…get lost in the crowd, be a jerk, no one really cares.
Have fun out there!