Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Getting Meaning from Classes

I got my first real job as a computer programmer at a bank in Spokane. Before that I had temp jobs. One of the nice things the bank did was send us to workshops. We learned about time management, stress management, goal setting, Banking 101, and other topics I've forgotten since then.

The goal-setting class is the one that gave me what I needed to fulfill my dream since junior high of seeing the châteaux of the Loire Valley in France. The instructor told us to think of a goal, give ourselves five years from the day of the class, write it down, and post it where we could see it every day. I wrote, "I will visit the Loire Valley of France by November 19, 1985." Then I pinned it to the front wall of my cubicle at work.

We (my then-husband and I) got there in May, 1983.

At another class I took, I think it was the stress management class, the instructor was talking about morale in the workplace (in general, not ours in specific). He said the progression goes from good morale, where the workplace is pretty quiet. There's no grumbling or sabotage. People are happy.

Next comes discontentedness, and that's when the grumbling starts. And that's when management notices a problem and tries to fix it. They might bring the staff together and hope someone will tell them what's bothering everyone, but it doesn't usually work too well, because unhappy people don't have much desire to help the source of their unhappiness. So management tries something to fix what they think the problem is.

Unfortunately (and this comes from observation and discussion with my peers, not from the instructors), upper management is not made of the same cloth as the peons who populate the ranks of the workers. Peons are normal people. Upper management is full of defective types who believe that achieving power within the organization will make them feel fulfilled. They are not normal people. So, what upper management thinks is the problem is never the problem, and the things they try tend to make things worse not better.

Back to the instructor: When the managers implement their solution (or do nothing, hoping things will improve), they tend to notice that things get quiet again, and they're self-satisfied with what they've accomplished. But what they don't know is what the instructor told us: On the downhill slide of morale, after the grumbling comes the silence of discouragement and defeatism. What would be the point of saying anything when you have no hope that things will get any better? There's no point to complaining. All you can do is just bide your time with your nose to the grindstone while you look for a better job to come along, and when it does you bail. Fast. And management doesn't have a clue.

I hadn't thought about those classes in a long time, and they don't apply to my job at all--it's a happy place to work. What it applies to is my blogging. The light went on for me that the morale slide into the silence abyss is the reason I haven't been motivated to comment on what's happening in our country lately.

Once upon a time I grumbled. Issues that made my blood boil also made me hit the computer keyboard to give the world a piece of my mind. When President Bush and his RINO friends in Congress (Senator McCain, you know who you are) tried to open the borders under the guise of "comprehensive immigration reform," I had plenty to say. When Robert Mugabe made new inroads into the total destruction of Zimbabwe, I had plenty to say.

The outcry about Bush's immigration reform scuttled that monstrosity of a piece of legislation. And while nothing has been done about Mugabe and what he continues to do, World Vision still offers hope in Zimbabwe one child at a time.

Lately, though, I haven't had as much to say. Oh, my blood still boils, but I don't have much hope anymore that if I say something there might be a chance someone would listen. Michelle Malkin speaks to this in her conclusion to her latest column:

As always, however, this administration’s problem is that it hears but doesn’t listen. It makes lavishly funded gestures toward engagement while remaining divorced from economic and political reality. The core failure of Team Obama is not a failure to communicate, but a failure to comprehend.

The people running our country right now are like corporate upper management. They're defective types who want power over other people's lives, while the rest of us are just normal people who want to be left alone to live in peace. Not the ideal combination, for us regular folks anyway.

But this all reminds me not just of my old bank-funded classes but also of something we talked about in Bible study at church: God did not give us discouragement, so any discouragement I feel is not from Him.

I'll do my best in the future to let my boiling blood get my fingers typing.

1 comment:

Malott said...

I like this post.

I find my frustrations are directly proportional to my worldliness... Which makes sense because this world is hopeless.

The more it frustrates me, the more I escape back into the real world...