Monday, February 18, 2008

informal blog

I wanted to share my thoughts on the reading ‘scientific management’. I had a personal experience of sort, when I worked in the insurance field. It was in the summer of 2005, I was off school for summer break. I was searching for a summer job and I got a call from a company that asked if I would be interested in working for them selling insurance products. I went for an interview, was hired on the spot, I believed this was a great opportunity..At the interview I remember every well my conversation with my manger, he said “with this job you make your own schedule, and we'll provide you any assistance you'll need to be successful. But here’s the catch, the harder you work, the more money you'll make. If you work very hard you can make up to $150,000 within a year." I thought to myself there’s nothing stopping me from working, I have always had 2-3 jobs in the summer, if that was the only requirement I was sure I was bound for a windfall. I might not make the 150, but I was sure I would make more than half, which for me, would be more than enough.

I left the interview elated. I hurriedly took the insurance licensing exam at my expense once and passed. Soon enough I got a reality check when I found things very different.
It took a while to crush my hopes of having this outstanding bank account. The "make your schedule" deal was the first to go, and then I found myself working day and night. I was up by 6.30am and worked til 11-12 at night only to do it again the next day, then gradually I started to lose my weekends. During this time I would make appointments with hopeful insurance buyers, only to be turned down or stood-up. I drove everywhere in PA, Somerset, New Brighton and Aliquippa to name a few. All the while, my boss is at the office, having a cold thirst quenching drink in the heat of the day, calling every 30mins to see if I made a sale. That was all the hands on he had to do, bug us all day. When I made a sale he called and was quick to praise me and tell me how much he believed I could do it, but he always ended with" you’re having a good day making money, keep it up, don’t quit even if you have to work till late. It feels good to make money doesn’t it?" and like a sucker I’d say Yes, then off I’d go working. You might think this is was some sort of encouragement but in reality it was a sham to line his pocket since he got a percentage of our sales, a percentage bigger than ours and we make the company more money too.

Many people quit while I was there. He always said they lacked ambition. I was one of the top sellers in the office and by midsummer I was ready to quit too. Then he pulled the big one on me, knowing that I love cars, from our various conversations, he printed a picture of a Range Rover from the internet, posted it on my desk, and said “whenever you thing of quitting think of yourself in that range rover, and then quit your dreams!”. All of a sudden that became my dream; he drove home the fact that quitting for me shouldn’t be an option since I was doing so well. Soon I became engulfed in the illusion that I, Felix, could in fact work harder and make dreams for myself come true. When I asked he for ideas to get better he told me to drink less coffee so I didn’t have to go to the bathroom so often, and never to hang up the phone, he’ll say “its all about the call Felix, just keep dialing”. Soon this idea spread to my school, my family, soon enough I had all those pictures up as my source of motivation.

That summer I made a mere $1850 after I deducted gas expenses and eating on the road. HOWEVER, I made the company a
whopping $11,525. I had no life and didn’t achieve anything tangible at all. It was a wasted summer for me. I would have been better off just throwing stones all summer! And oh! I gave up the dream; yes I don’t own a Range Rover, I don’t write Pitt a check on due dates, and my family is not living in a mansion, but am fine!

I guess you can tell how upset I was when I read the scientific management; I could swear my boss read it too. My life and the lives of my fellow employees were micromanaged, we were made to work like machines without regards for our human lives, and our lives became the story of the horse and the carrot. Although I made money, I worked hard to make the company more money just like Schmidt the pig iron handler. It was simply more work with menial pay wrapped in the cage of deception, luring and entrapping.

If you ask me if working men could be more efficient,I will say Yes!, agreeably i believe working men could do better, which will enrich productivity, but I will not agree that scientific micromanagement suggested her by Taylor is the appropriate solution. There has to be an equal yet fair balance between labor and compensation and the most important part of this equation is the human collateral.

Felix (Aj)


Adam Johns said...

That's quite a post! Thanks for sharing.

One Last Caress said...

Amazing post. I really enjoyed it. -Christopher Walker