Sunday, December 1, 2013

The Dehumanization of the American Worker

I would like to preface this by saying that being a part of the workforce and having a successful career have been of utmost importance in my life. I have always worked hard and been conscientious in an effort to succeed. I have enjoyed the challenges and opportunities afforded to me and have basked in the feeling of satisfaction coming home after a challenging day of work knowing that I have made a difference and accomplished my goals and duties.

It is my belief that at the onset of the Great Recession things started to change dramatically in the workplace. Millions of people lost their jobs and their livelihood was threatened. The aim of this blog is to write about the people who have managed to keep their jobs, with myself being a part of this group.

Now there is no doubt that losing a job is a worse predicament than the fate of those who have managed to remain employed. However, a huge price has been paid and continues to be paid by members in the workplace today.

As I see it, today the dominating factor in the workplace is fear. But this is not your typical everyday fear - This is a permeating, deep seated fear that oozes out into the atmosphere and is palpable. This fear has penetrated our thoughts, actions and emotions. This fear is thick and heavy and debilitating. The causes of this fear comes from multiple thoughts:

Fear of losing one's job

Fear of not being able to perform under the burden of the additional workload

The results of fear in people's behavior and moods then becomes irrational and rightly so. I am not condoning irrational behavior however I can understand how this can happen. Companies are cutting back on personnel which means that each person is now expected and required to do more. But it's not just more, its the work of 3 people. In the short term this is doable but unfortunately it is not sustainable in the long run. Today is the long run. For over 2 years employees have been expected to perform at this level. What has this caused? Exhaustion, insecurity, a sense of not being able to do what is being demanded. Because most people take pride in their work and want to do a good job this situation has caused them to feel a constant overwhelm and even mild depression. At a micro level employees blame managers, managers blame subordinates, and human resources has no viable answers or solutions.

Is this the new normal? For a while everyone felt this was just temporary but as the days go by and the economic recovery is slow in coming the grim reality feels like maybe this is not gonna change any time soon.

How do we keep a sense of sanity in what feels like uncontrollable circumstances? We need to look within for answers-one of my favorite quotes is: "All the answers are inside of us"... Perhaps we just need to quiet the chaos of the mind. Easier said than done. I also keep a gratitude journal which brings my thoughts out of their constant swirl into a more peaceful place. I hold the thought that whatever is happening is for my greater good and that this experience is preparing me for the next phase in my life.

So my dear readers, please tell me how you cope in this environment? What are the things you do to try to maintain balance?

Wishing you purpose filled work in the new and unrelenting workplace...

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