This. At least I hope so:
Unions are not just about challenging the “might and greed” of private-sector CEOs, but about recognizing the different incentives faced by managers and workers, and about correcting the tremendous power imbalance between those who can be fired for asking too many questions or demanding a different bargain and those who get to do the firing and would prefer a more submissive workforce and a status quo that they’ve created and defined.
Yes, Ezra, the goal of management is to cultivate and maintain a submissive workforce. Job performance be damned.
If such black and white assumptions of the real world color all of Ezra’s wonk world analysis then his analysis is more-or-less dead to me. And if you’ve lost me, well…I guess you’ve lost me. Your loss, though.
His opinion is based on such a crude characterization of management that I have to (want to) believe that it was just a poorly articulated thought made in a rush to post on the topic. Either that or it was completely ill-conceived or, worse, conceived based on his own ill-informed prejudice against management.
A belief that all management is a monolithic profit maintaining beast would be frighteningly bellicose toward managers and therefore profitability and would reflect a deep ignorance regarding the nature employment and management in the holder.
Does management tire of inquisitive, bold acting employees. Certainly. Can such employees be canned? Depending on the state, yep.
Since the lack of a disciplinary paper trail exposes a company to a wrongful determination suit, more often bold employees make poor first impressions that are all but irredeemable. You can fate yourself early, that’s for sure. In this aspect of employee/management relations, Ezra’s broad strokes paint a droplet of truth.
Yet, beyond the general annoyance that perpetual question askers create, those employees are often frowned upon not because they threaten to upset the status quo but because question asking is not generally part of that constitutional document of hiring, the job description. This is where Ezra’s opinion seems so ignorant of the true nature of employment.
It is, for the vast majority of managers with titles not starting with CE and ending in O, the manager’s job description to manage, mostly the act of creating an environment favorable to job execution and the act of ensuring that employees perform their jobs as defined in the job description. Managers don’t like too many questions because they usually come at the expense of the job description; it’s that simple.
Often times an abundance of questions not only prevents that employee from doing their job but threatens the environment that other employees execute their jobs within. Managers must quash such threats, not to maintain the status quo, or to maintain a submissive workforce, or to lay thunderous hammerblows on the heads of those that threaten the manager’s personal power (though undoubtedly some managers do just that), but because the job description of a manager demands it.
Wonk World is a nice place to visit. You learn a lot. But its walls keep nearly apart black and white and no such walls exist in the real world. Ezra may not be a manager and may never be, but he must be better than using crude stereotypes not applicable outside the walls of Wonk World to buttress his wonk.
Buttressing your wonk. That’s not something to say in front of an employeer, I’ll grant you that.