Tuesday, November 16, 2010

I'm Not Funny Anymore

I currently work at an office in a somewhat corporate setting. Some things that I often hear about, but have yet to participate in, are corporate games and things like team building. I understand what they are for, but I am still a little weary of them. Perhaps I am weary of them because I know what they are for.

I was a little kid once, and I definitely got sports trophies for doing nothing. I think there were three kinds of kids in my little league: The champion athletes, the kids who wanted to be champion athletes, and the kids who didn't care. I fell into the latter category, and this gave me a different perspective than the other two groups. When the champions got their trophies they thought, "Yeah! I did it! I am being rewarded for being the best." When the group of try-hards got an award (because we all know sports trophies are given out just for trying) they thought, "I didn't win, but at least this means that someone recognized I was trying my best!" The last group, the group I was in, thought this: "I purposely didn't do anything; Why am I getting this reward? What is going on?"

It is moments like that when the reward and merit system comes into play for some people, such as me. The sports trophy was being handed out to make me feel a certain way, but since I wasn't in the right mindset to be manipulated, so to speak, I was free to analyze it. I was either to be rewarded for winning or for trying, but I didn't do either so I was confused for a long time after.

Now that I am aware of competitions in the real world (read: the business world) it makes a lot more sense. All those people who cared about the rewards--whether they won or lost--now crave the recognition for working hard and getting the job done. It is horribly easy to get adults in a workplace setting to compete with each other, thus getting productivity through the roof.

My old thought process that existed when I was a kid has not gone away. This means that when the chance finally comes to compete in games and get a few corporate awards I will most likely lose my job because no one wants an apathetic employee. But that isn't the case (bosses)! The reward for working is currency, and if someone wants me to work harder they can treat me like an adult and pay me more, as opposed to trying to trick me into some form of competition with my coworkers. The thrill of victory is not something that drives me--I am not a child on a baseball field. If I was doing something that I loved enough to do it in the form of competition it wouldn't be an office job. It would be like racing to find the cure for AIDS.

The reason people are paid for work is because they don't want to do it. Do dogs have any reason to play dead when we tell them to? They have a reason if a treat is involved. Dogs play dead for treats, they run around for fun. I am playing dead right now, and twice a month I get a treat. If the boss tries to get me to see who plays dead the best out of all the other dogs, I will continue to play dead at my same pace and not worry about the outcome.

I hope this doesn't get me in trouble and transferred to Ohio.

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