Not long ago We received the following message from our Operations office: The facility will remain closed today. By direction of the Uberboss, no one will report to work. Personnel can work from home. Please check Facebook in the morning to find out if we will be open tomorrow.
This is fine, except for two issues. The first and easiest to address is that I’m pretty sure 60% of the people in this office don’t know Facebook from Foosball. It works fine for those of us who aren’t horrified by the very thought of the internet, but for the rest, well, I guess they’ll figure it out when they show up and the lights are off.
The second issue is more telling. Feeling cheeky (imagine that), I asked simply, if “personnel can work from home” means we are authorized to telework. No, came the response from the Uberboss, it means you’re authorized to work from “an alternate workplace. We don’t telework. I don’t believe in telework.” So, yeah, we’re authorized to work from home – as long as we don’t call it telework, apparently. This would be more reassuring if it wasn’t coming from the guy who thinks you need to have paper on your desk to actually qualify as doing work.
Why on earth someone would think that an information age employee needs to be physically located in an office during pre-determined hours is simply beyond me. We don’t create physical products. Our office isn’t open to customers – We’re behind a locked door, behind a security guard, behind a fence toped with razor wire for God’s sake. It’s not like a customer is going to accidentally wander in and discover that none of the project managers were actually there. The fact is we don’t telework because then the Uberboss can’t see us and would actually have to rely on managerial skill to make sure projects were being finished well and on time. Easier to just wander by, ask why there isn’t paperwork on your desk, tell you do do something random and unrelated to your primary function, and wander off to annoy the next employee.
At least I’ll never have to wonder what it’s like living in the 19th century. From where I’m sitting it seems to be filled with a whole bunch of stupid.
Editorial Note: This part of a continuing series of previously de-published blogs appearing on http://www.jeffreytharp.com for the first time. This post has been time stamped to correspond to its original publication date.