The Dwindling Power of the Employee
Does this sound familiar?
You interview for a job. The hiring manager tells you how much you will work, how much you will get paid, and what your responsibilities are. Then, you show up for work, and you are suddenly doing more than you agreed to, working more hours or different days than you expected, and there seems to be no alternative.
It just happened to me. I was told upon starting a new job that I would be working one Sunday a month. They have put me on the schedule every single Sunday since I started. When I asked about the schedule, I was told weekend availability is mandatory. I even caught a stern talking to for requesting a Sunday off five weeks in advance.
Needless to say, I’m searching for new employment.
But, all of this begs the question, why is it so easy for businesses to abuse employees?
Desperation-driven Grind Mentality
One reason is financial desperation, which has spawned an overwhelming “grind mentality” that has pervaded the minds of every individual in the USA. This idea that if you aren’t making money or working at every waking moment, you are virtually useless.
Employers love this shit. It means businesses can get you to do whatever they want, because grinders value themselves on their money. This mentality comes from the fact that most people simply do not make enough money to live comfortably, and a deep-seated insecurity from that lack of financial well-being.
The fear of sinking into absolute poverty is real for many of us. More than half of all Americans could not afford a $1,000 emergency expense with what they have saved up. One thousand dollars is hardly enough to cover most car repairs, medical bills, are home repairs.
$1,000 is also only a week or two of work for most Americans. If one were to be unceremoniously fired from a job for doing something as harmless as sticking up for themselves, taking a sick day, or any number of perfectly reasonable “offenses”, they would likely be completely out of money before they could find a new job. You are probably closer to homelessness than you are to being financially healthy.
How can you stand up for yourself if the repercussions might mean hunger and homelessness for you and your family? Is being an abused employee worse than being an unemployed vagrant?
As difficult as it is to stand up for yourself as an abused employee, the fact that there is nobody for you to stand up to makes it even harder.
Most people work for a manager. That manager reports to some regional director who the employees never see or speak to. That regional director reports to “Mr. Corporation” or whatever.
So, whenever there is a confrontation with a manager, they can just pass the buck along. Mr Manager gives you a schedule which states that you have to work another god damn Sunday. Then you ask “What the hell is this” and they say, “Sorry, not my rules. I’m an employee of ‘Go Fuck Yourself Inc.’ just like you are.”
In this fucked up management model, there is a person with power over you who can enforce the desires of the corporation. But, there is nobody to whom you can speak about your own grievances or desires. The one-way discussion makes this extremely convenient for corporations, who can just exploit and abuse employees endlessly without any repercussion or even a response from the employees they are exploiting.
What’s the Solution?
To solve the problem; to lessen the abuse of employees and the maniacal power of big business, the entire culture around work in the country needs to change. A massive shift in the economic inequality that has been building for decades would help, too.
On an individual level, all you can really do is keep applying to better jobs and leaving shit jobs until eventually you find yourself in a rare company that treats you well.
Or, you could try to be self sufficient by starting your own business.
Until you achieve one of those goals, however, just keep working towards improvement, work hard for yourself, and know your value.