What’s wrong with corporate America

Being this is my “avocational” blog, I have never blogged about business issues here.  Until now, that is.  There’s a lot that can be said about the problems with corporate America, and Scott Adams has said most of it well enough.  However, I just read a great article by Ken Shelton, Editor of Leadership Excellence Magazine, entitled “Who’s Afraid of the Big, Bad Work?” that I just had to pass along. Shelton writes:

Already, our teenage population is perfecting the art of work-avoidance while taking comfort in inflated grades and “don’t worry, be happy” friends like Joe Fifer and Sam Fiddler.

No self-respecting, college-educated American youth is going to do any real work of the organization beyond age thirty. I define real work as the creation and delivery of the primary products and services of the company; the serving of actual customers; selling to potential clients; value-added support and management of those functions; and faithful, fruitful leadership.

If by age thirty, people haven’t mastered the games of delegating up and down, putting on appearances, politicking, and socializing, they deserve the awful fate of having to work for a living.

The real work is done by

  • Third-world nationals who don’t know any better
  • Women and minorities who do it because it’s there
  • Youth (under thirty) who have no power to avoid it
  • Seniors (over fifty) who do it out of duty

The article goes on to what the rest do to avoid work, which from my experience is pretty accurate.  I can’t tell you how much of my time was wasted just so someone up the food chain could pretend to justify their existence by creating useless programs, counting things that didn’t need counting, and so on. If you work in a fairly large corporation, you will know exactly what I mean, and you will be able to check each “work avoidance” technique off on Shelton’s list.

There were times, of course, when I would look at those “pointy-haired” positions and dream of how nice it would be to escape the actual work-force and become pointy-haired myself. Choosing the life of a technician – that is, actually working hard to become good at something to try to make a difference – under the direction of those who had escaped the real work is choosing a life of frustration, as the goals do not align.  In spite of the companys stated goals. And, of course, there’s always the short-term memory syndrome: within weeks, if not days, of leaving the actual workforce, managers will forget what real work is like.  The consequences of this situation is that most of those doing the actual work will eventually leave the work-force, either burning out, jumping ship, or choosing to move up.

The situation that Shelton discusses is alarming, and causes some concern – do I really want my children involved in corporate America?

America’s Christian heritage

While I’m not a big supporter of the “America’s a Christian nation” thing, I do believe that the United States was indeed heavily influenced by Christian principles, and that historically, the so-called “separation of church and state” was never meant to exclude religion – even Christianity – from public life.  James Robertson has re-posted from J.Grant Swank From MichNews.com an interesting collection of quotes from many of our founding fathers that deserve to be read.  (You can go to the site to read Swank’s editorial comments, which I will not post here):

President George Washington wrote a prayer addressed to “O most glorious God, in Jesus Christ” and ended it with this: “Let me live according to those holy rules which thou hast this day prescribed in Thy Holy Word. Direct me to the true object, Jesus Christ, the Way, the Truth and the Life. Bless O Lord all the people of this land.”

President Thomas Jefferson: “God who gave us life gave us liberty. And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis — a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are of the gift of God? That they are not to be violated but with His wrath? Indeed, I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just, that His justice cannot sleep forever.”

President James Madison: “Religion is the basis and foundation of government. We have staked the whole future of American civilization not upon the power of government, far from it. We have staked the future of all of our political institutions upon the capacity of mankind for self-government; upon the capacity of each and all of us to govern ourselves, to control ourselves, to sustain ourselves according to the Ten Commandments of God.”

President Andrew Jackson: “I nightly offer up my prayers to the throne of grace for the health and safety of you all, and that we ought all to rely with confidence on the promise of our dear Redeemer, and give Him our hearts. This is all He requires and all that we can do, and if we sincerely do this, we are sure of salvation through His atonement.”

Patrick Henry: “It cannot be emphasized too strongly or too often that this great nation was founded, not by religionists, but by Christians, not on religions, but on the Gospel of Jesus Christ. For this very reason peoples of other faiths have been afforded asylum, property, and freedom of worship here.”

President Abraham Lincoln: “The ways of God are mysterious and profound beyond all comprehension. ‘Who by searching can find Him out?’ God only knows the issue of this business. He has destroyed nations from the map of history for their sins. Nevertheless, my hopes prevail generally above my fears for our Republic. The times are dark, the spirits of ruin are abroad in all their power, and the mercy of God alone can save us.”

President Grover Cleveland: “All must admit that the reception of the teachings of Christ results in the purist patriotism, in the most scrupulous fidelity to public trust, and in the best type of citizenship.”

President Woodrow Wilson: “America was born a Christian nation. America was born to exemplify that devotion to the elements of righteousness which are derived from the revelations of the Holy Scriptures.”

President Dwight Eisenhower: “Without God, there could be no American form of government, nor an American way of life. Recognition of the Supreme Begin is the first — the most basic — expression of Americanism. Thus, the founding fathers of America saw it, and thus With God’s help, it will continue to be.”

Many of us, both liberal and conservative, seem to have forgotten our foundation and have forgotten what it really means to be a Christian.   Maybe President Obama should take a few moments to read these quotes, and perhaps he’ll remember how it was that he got where he is.