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September 29, 2007

Comments

Paul

Good article.
If I may add, since I have some personal experience of that condition, the feeling of not being valued compounds with a feeling of powerlessness that leads to a longing for death, "jokingly" expressed as for example "one has got to die from something, anyway". This is particularly striking among the males in the workplace.
Life is a struggle and a fight, isn't it ?

Fiona

Thank-you.

I'm female and I work for a retail chain, HBC (Zeller's) in Canada. In the past 3 months which I have worked there, 2 of my fellow employees have been put on anti-depressants, one has developed a bleeding ulcer and the rest just plod along like dairy cattle. The lifer's as I refer to them (10+ years) are the most miserable lot of women (and 3 men) I've ever met.

We are forced to push instant credit applications for store credit cards or Master Cards down the throats of every customer who crosses our paths, and have a set number per day which we must sign up. If you fail to do so, you are called into the office to discuss the matter with your supervisor and manager, and as we are not so subtly reminded constantly, it could mean your job.

We are paid barely above minimum wage. Last year, an employee who's no longer with the company attempted to encourage unionization. She was shunned by the rest of the employees.

Conditioned sheep, the lot of us, and too afraid to do anything about it, for fear of losing our lousy, thankless, horrible jobs. By the way, most of us are single mothers struggling to make ends meet from paycheck to paycheck.

Your article doesn't make me feel any better about my job, but it at least puts how I do feel into perspective.

Collar Is Blue

Fiona's workplace differs from mine in that we make good money for our industry. We also have good benefits and substantial dividends on investments we have in the company. You wouldn't think we have anything to complain about; unless you were on the inside and were privy to the spheres of managerial influence that keep us in our place.

I don't doubt that Fiona's workplace is much more stressful than mine due to the disparity of incomes. However, the corruption of the principles that are supposed to govern the company and the treatment of workers creates a deprivation of spirit that haunts our workplace too.

Workers cannot aspire to their highest selves. Management does not want us thinking about better ways to do things. Management does not want us to point out when other workers are being treated unfairly.

We keep our well-paid mouths shut when another worker's life is thrown into turmoil and they lose their job because they wouldn't keep their head down and their mouth shut.

The company's literature touts its vision statement of a democratic workplace, but the company's policies, which are there to address any failing in the purported democratic workplace, all end in the sphere of managerial influence.

Environmentally-concerned citizens' groups have sprung up with amazing diversity; people who recognize a common need to address environmental issues are getting together to decide what they can do in their community. People and groups with common goals are connecting through the internet, and posting links to each other.

I think workers can use this model. The deprivation of spirit that Paul, Fiona, and I are experiencing can be addressed by us. I'm game for any worker that wants to connect and think about the issues and what we can do.

I went to a climate-action-group meeting in my community last night. They are doing really positive things. And they are doing it all by themselves.

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