Big Business exhaust, in terms of people, appears to be on a dramatic rise, in my opinion. That thing that factories use to do; taking the finest resources, changing them, stripping from them whatever the factory determined was valuable, and then spewing out the waste. That is what Big Business is doing to its “Human Resources” today. The problem is, once they have over used or devalued a human being, broken down a person’s spirit until this particular business or team no longer finds this specific person useful, they then label this person as useless or defective. This is often so far from the truth it doesn’t even resemble the truth. It’s just that team’s or company’s pride and puffery.
Layoffs have occurred for years and people, even good people would get cut. Teams would get eliminated and excellent workers would find themselves pounding the pavement looking for employment. They would find work, occasionally they would end up in a job that was a better match because they had not been as good a fit in their previous job. Perhaps they had been reluctant to leave and look elsewhere before the layoff. Looking for new employment can be a scary endeavor. Some people find even looking for new employment disloyal. This is a good quality in an employee!
Turn the clock to current times, post housing bubble, post flooding the market with work immigration visas, post world wide web infrastructure, outsourcing and off shoring, and the job market is very small. Suddenly a reality that actually always was true is now right up in your face. We are all replaceable, like removing a branch that was sticking straight up out of a pond. The water fills back in immediately, instantly, as if the branch never existed. There may be ripples but overall there will be no difference. We should not think too highly of ourselves, because we are like that branch, all of us! It may take hiring someone new, or even two new people. Perhaps someone who never would have stepped up while a rock star employee existed will finally find the courage to make their move. Make no mistake, you are not different. Your skills are not unique. Someone out there will learn them. It may be painful for a season but like a ripple, you will be gone. Pride has sharp edges. Big Business is an organism and it will move on without you.
At one point in my life Big Business invested in their people. They ensured they were trained and built good teams. They had teams of professionals, “human resources managers” to work through problems. These individuals were not primarily used to hire and fire people as they are in many businesses today. Once you were hired, if you ended up a square peg, they worked to find a square hole for you. They didn’t want human exhaust. They invested in people and their well being. This has not completely gone away. In some cases unions have preserved this. In some cases smaller businesses work themselves to preserve this way of life. But by in large, the tides have changed.
In today’s society if you aren’t a good fit, not only will we kick you to the curb, but we will label you as a bad fit causing it to be more difficult for you to find employment next time. Never for a second thinking possibly, you might be a great match for a different business or another team. Never for a second do we stop and think that our team might be unique in some manner, or have unique methods or processes, or even be difficult to get along with.
This human exhaust process is creating a workplace PTSD nightmare. Employees who at one point were excellent workers, who ended up in a job that didn’t match their best skills, or on a team with a person who lacked good leadership skills are being crushed by Big Business in droves. Employees, who took a chance on a team or a project that was later cut, are being caught in this exhaust system as well. They took a risk and then found themselves in a job that wasn’t a match. Some of them go on to find a safe workplace environment and bounce back. Then there are others who hit a second or third mismatch and their workplace PTSD spirals out of control. The market is tighter now. The search is harder. Now they have multiple mismatches to either hide on their resume or explain in an interview. The process gets harder and harder. They could have years of successful service to a single employer previously but that won’t matter in the interview. The recent bouncing around will look suspicious. No one will take the time to bring the resource back to health. It’s just business to Big Business. It’s just a simple Big Business by product at this point. A person is now a by product!
Who picks up that tab? We do! The American people! Health care costs, welfare and services costs, or worse yet, if they get desperate enough, crime costs! It all stems from a lack of concern. It all stems from an attitude that it can’t happen to me! But it could happen to you! The wrong boss and the right situation and we are all replaceable. You say you are stronger than that, but for how long? How many rejections that lack merit will it take? What if there was no merit to why you were laid off in the first place? Perhaps your boss had a best friend that wanted your job, so your boss piled the work onto your plate. You complain but your boss manages to keep your workload too high and then sites that your quality is slipping. Layoffs roll around and your record shows that your quality is slipping and out you go. Like a stick in the water, we are all replaceable. Months later your boss is out on her can too. We are all replaceable. Pride has sharp edges.
The issue is, do you care that Big Business is creating human exhaust? That Big Business sometimes promotes people who lack leadership skills. Bosses who believe that people are resources to be managed and not persons to be lead. They are demoralizing and crushing good workers in droves. Do you care that these workers who were contributing members of society are now crumbling? They are becoming a drain instead? Do you care? Or are you just going to watch it happen to your next coworker, leader, subordinate? Could an investment into the resources that are the most precious in this country have made a difference? Perhaps a different team or a different job or some assistance working through a conflict would set this employee back to their previous rock star status. Wouldn’t that be worth the effort? Is it really that easy to give up? Maybe they just needed to be appreciated.
That Big Business resource exhaust group with workplace PTSD are growing in numbers. What is scarier is they are growing in dependence on our countries services. They are getting angrier and Big Business has made them unstable! We need to care. We need to invest in the only resource that ever mattered, the human resource. Selfishness and narcissism will ruin our country as it has all other great nations of the past. Big Business has broken free from country boundaries, in case that missed your notice. It’s eating up people for lunch! When it does that in your country, then your country pays to pick up the pieces.
It’s time to start seeing Big Business for what it is. It’s time to care about the kind of exhaust it puts out. We reined in factories in the last century. We can rein in Big Business in this one. We just have to care.
By Vicki L. Pugliese