The Institution called Work

Today is sort of a milestone in some respects because when I left at the end of my shift, the big and inevitable change had finely come to past, and the end of an era and the dawn of a new age had begun. So much has happen in the last six months, from the economic meltdown caused by the US mortgage industry through much of 2008, then to the Bank and corporate collapses that started off 2009 that seemed like 1929 all over again, as no one escaped with their  money untouched, to where we are now, with downsizing, conservative spending and tight-ass Bank lending. My work has gone through so much to where we sit today that you would not recognize it now.

I am a bit of an anomaly because I have always being sort of that “behind the scenes” employee who works the odd hours and have kept my part time status through out. Prior to the US led economic meltdown, labour was in high demand and I had always faced the threat of moving into positions with full-time hours, or more, as the faux economy roared on. Remember that my goal was going through University at a full time level, and work was only secondary to support just the minimum requirements to get me through my degree program.

As the economy turned South, my value as a part-time employee took on a different turn as my labour was more desirable because the money to keep full-time labour was not in the budget. So, again, like the beginning of 2008, this year meant that I was valuable, but for different reasons. For the first time my skills were looked at more closely and seen as important with this same employer who took me on almost two years ago.

Anyone can work in a office, warehouse, or supervise. Most people today have the basic skills to do these tasks, but most could not do them professionally and willingly and do so with the integrity that is needed to work with other people. Now employees are being asked to do so much more to cover cost, work with less and multi-task like never before. This is where skills come in, because now everything is running against the clock.

The other issue is worth. Now that labour is no longer a hot commodity, people now need to work harder to keep their employment, and they must make sure that what they are doing will benefit the bottom line, or they and the company they work for will go down the tubes.

So this brings me to my point: some people can adapt to change while others cannot. My first example is purely based on adaptivity. The willingness to change your position in the workplace is crucial in economic downturns. One minute you are a “desk-jockey” then the next you are humping boxes from off of a Purolator truck. If you are not willing to adapt, then you go the way of the Dodo bird. Adaptation also means your wiliness to have skill-sets that you have, that have never being used before in the workplace, such as a degree in the Liberal Arts, and have it at the ready. These are untapped resources that employers are now keen on having from their employees.

And the critical aspect of adaptivity in the work place is wages. Are you willing to take a cut in pay, taking on reduced hours, have your perks and bonuses stopped? Most people are not, or they will not, or could not do it because of their lifestyle. This mostly stems from so many people having debt. The Mortgage is the killer one, followed by personal financing and credit debt. For the employer, cutting the fat is so common now that the unemployment rate in British Columbia is almost at six to seven percent, and welfare rates are doubling.

My workplace, come next Thursday, is going to be like working in a air-traffic control tower with just 5 people running it, guiding less than 15 people around with hopefully near precision accuracy.

From being just the “Part Timer” person, or, the lowest rung on the ladder, it is almost amusing in a sick and twisted way that because of this, along with my skill-sets, I am still a hot commodity in the work place. And there are some who are very “peeved” a this arrangement I must add. The bitterness is there because some see this as unjustified and backwards. I am still employed, albeit part-time, and I have being given somewhat of a promotion. How weird is that?

3 Thoughts on “The Institution called Work

  1. I’m glad your worth is seen and valued Tom.
    I’m glad that you can continue on your path, your goal in education, and continue to support yourself.
    I’d say the universe is supporting you.
    Best wishes, diane.

  2. Thanks Diane, for your words.

    I wish the universe would make up its mind, instead of taking on these ups and downs, starts and stops, etc., because talk about anxiety.

  3. Pingback: Thomasso’s weblog » Blog Archive » Walking a Tightrope without a Contract: Smart or Dumb?

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