16 September 2007

Playing the "bullshit" game

I’ve never been able to play “the game” as it where. In that, I mean, when it comes to work and other general things of life, I say things that are truthful, and don’t bullshit just to get ahead. My philosophy when it came to my work ethic was that I would be promoted based on my ability to do the job, and not by licking someone’s boot (or stepping on ones shoulder) to get the promotion.

Sometimes, I think Star Trek: Deep Space Nine hit a bulls eye with the Ferengi and their Rules of Acquisitions. One of them was “Employees are the rungs on the ladder of success. Don't hesitate to step on them.”

My work ethic, especially, comes from what I was taught in High School. In my C.W.T class back at Conant High School, my teacher, Mr. Bill Severino instilled in me something that has never left me: pride. I was taught to go to work, do the best you can, always. Even if you hate it. And, until you moved on, even if you did hate it, you still worked your ass off. He taught me the cause and effect of workers who called off, thus I’m one of the few employees who hardly miss a day of work. In the 10 years I’ve been with Borders, I think I’ve called off no more than 5 (if that many) times and in the last 5 years, I don’t think I’ve had one call off -though I had one sick day earlier this year and that was after still going in. I guess, some of it is outdated, after 27 years. But, I hold these values close to me. Some would say that being the sort of proto-typical liberal (able to see both sides of an argument, but unsure which to choose) that I am comes from 1960's ideals of flower power and everyone working to help everyone.

I take, as I mentioned, a lot of pride in my work. I strive very hard to make everyone’s job easier. As an example, keeping the sections I maintain at my Borders in alphabetical order in each of its sub-sections. To my view, this means on the weekends and evenings I’m not there, an employee (or for that matter, any customer) should have no problem finding a book, because I make sure the sections are maintained.

But that is in my job description, so I should not be surprised when my DM comes in and does an alpha check, in say the Business section, and discovers it to be nearly 100% alphabetical. She asks my GM who maintains the section, and he says David. And she says, it figures. To me, in someway, this should make me a better candidate for promotion. I mean, I am doing my job.

But that won’t get me a promotion, because that is my job. Nope, licking some customer’s boot or actually believing that old chestnut “the customer is always right” is the only way it will happen. Thus, my inability to play “the game” and “office politics.”

I’m not a guy who says I hate this, just because my RM hates its. Again, an example. Floor stacks at our store. Our current RM hates them, thus our DM is forced to say she hates them, thus my GM is forced to say he hates them, and he has to convince me that I should hate them. The thing is, I don’t and won’t be forced into saying that I do, just to please the RM.

I can cite example are example why floor stacks work -especially in this current business model where the company wants no backstock; basically everything is on the floor. But during the holiday season, this idea does not work. And I’ll tell that to my GM, to DM and even my RM when and if I meet him. But see, I’m told I should not do that. Things like this can hurt my career, because I’m infringing on these people’s shallow ego.

Plus, I have a finely tuned bullshit detector. And I know when some one is bull-shitting me and I will call people on it, which they hate. And there is the rub, because I usually call people who are in the position to help promote me.

Playing the “game” is hard, and one that I find very hard to live with. Should I not get the job based on my ability to do it, and not how much false praise I can give to the boss, or the bosses boss?

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