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Archive for business ethics
People-who-are-so-dumb-they-need-a-keeper dept.: Consumerist reports “Hundreds Of Thousands Of People Are Still Renting Home Phones”
Would you pay a company a monthly rental fee for the remote control on your television set? No? How about the MP3 player you carry around with you? Still no?
Of course you wouldn’t, because such items are relatively inexpensive to purchase, and you’d be a fool to pay several dollars a month to rent something that you could buy for only a few dollars more.
But there must be a lot of fools out there…
And proving the saying that “there’s no fool like an old fool”, many of the people still renting these phones are elderly, and a high percentage of them aren’t even using the phones they are supposedly renting anymore!
Please, if you have any elderly people that you care about in your life, make sure they aren’t falling for this scam!
- 3 On Your Side: Elderly Still Renting Home Phones (philadelphia.cbslocal.com)
“If I want to make my employees feel happier/more rewarded/valuable/part of the team, all I need to do is give them a raise.”
Now, especially in these hard economic times, I’m certainly NOT saying that employers should be stingy with raises and rewards. What I am saying, though, is that those are not always sufficient to motivate employees to do better, or to change a surly employee into a happy one.
“I give you a paycheck! Isn’t that enough motivation?”
If any employee were honest, they tell you that no, it isn’t. A paycheck alone just about guarantees they will put in the minimum effort to avoid being fired, sometimes less. Your employees would never tell you that, of course, but if they thought they could be honest and not be fired for insubordination or bad attitude, that’s what many of them would say.
The thing is that even if you start out loving your job, getting a paycheck to do what you love does NOT guarantee you’ll be happier – in fact, just the opposite. I refer you to this article:
The Overjustification Effect (You Are Not So Smart)
The point of the article is that if you can find employment doing what you love, chances are you won’t love it anymore, especially if you see the paycheck as your new primary motivation.
I have found this so true in my own life. When I got my first computer (a Radio Shack TRS-80 Model I), I used to enjoy trying to write programs in BASIC. Then I got a job as a computer operator at a small business. While most of my job was mundane stuff like feeding the correct paper into a printer, starting and stopping jobs, and doing backups, there were times I was called upon to write an occasional program — and yes, it was in BASIC, though a variation of BASIC not all that similar to the one used on the TRS-80. This was actually before the days of most commercial software.
What I discovered was that my employer would ask if I could write a program that would automate some small task he’d been doing by hand, using pencil and calculator. The first few times it was easy. But each time he realized what the computer could do, he’d want to add on more functionality, and about half the time his new request would require almost a complete rewrite of the program. And, he had essentially purchased an “orphan” minicomputer (translation: A computer as large as a home furnace, with far less processing power than any handheld device available today), which meant there was virtually ZERO commercial software available — otherwise he could have bought any off the shelf spreadsheet program (in other words, Visicalc) and accomplished most or all of what he wanted.
Life circumstances intervened and I had to leave that job sooner than either of us would have preferred, but by the time I was through I had really started to hate programming. When I could do it on my own time and no one was pressuring me to get it done in a certain amount of time, it was sort of fun. When I was getting paid to do it and my employer wanted it a week from now, and I would spend hours chasing down one or two bugs and losing sleep trying to figure out why the dumb program was producing the wrong result (sometimes it was my fault, other times it was buggy floating-point math in the underlying system), it was definitely NOT fun — in fact, to say I began to hate it would be an understatement.
The ONE thing that made the job bearable was that my employer frequently expressed how much time and effort my small programs were saving him. I never made big money there (it was a really small firm, and he had paid WAAAAY too much for that minicomputer to start with, so I think he was already in hock to his eyebrows for that thing) but the fact that I knew that my efforts were appreciated was more of a factor than my paycheck in my willingness to spend those extra hours (often working until dawn, then coming back at 5 PM for another all-nighter) chasing down bugs and rewriting the program.
At this time of the year, we are bombarded with variations on Dickens, basically implying that the tightwads of the world will get theirs in the end. And that may be true, but many people often miss the other point of such stories, which is that the Scrooge-like character is often a foul-tempered, mean-spirited beast that couldn’t pay anyone a sincere complement if their life depended on it. And after their “conversion”, their whole nature changes (sort of like what happens to many people who’ve had near-death experiences in the real world). If your takeaway from some stories is that the “Scrooge” turned into a more generous person, you’re only getting about half the point. The old saying “money isn’t everything” is true – it’s definitely one component to happiness for many people, but it’s NOT the only one. You can be very well off and very unhappy, if the people in your life do nothing but tear you down and constantly demand more.