Worker’s Diary: No Points for Normal

Lately I’ve been hearing lots of “inspirational” stories about people “reinventing” themselves in response to our challenging economic climate. For example, this one from CNN describes a couple forced to sacrifice “beloved trips to the opera and museum” in order to work on a farm (tragic, ain’t it?). I saw another on Fox News last night, a touching personal story about a thirty-year financial sector veteran who took a job “in retail” to make ends meet. I believe she was described as “heroic”.

As my young colleagues might say: “Lolwhut?” Don’t get me wrong. I think it’s wonderful that these people have adapted to the present economic situation, but since when is supporting yourself some heroic act? Isn’t it what you’re supposed to do?

Throughout my career, I’ve encountered many individuals who think they’re special for doing what they’re supposed to do–workers citing their completion of projects on-time as justification for a raise; salaried employees trumpeting the fact they stayed 15 minutes late (or, god forbid, came to work on Saturday) to meet a deadline. Since when does doing the job right merit special recognition?

When performing a task, you inevitably fall into one of three categories:

Lame (“You suck.”)
You don’t do the task, you do it poorly, or you do it too slowly.

Normal (“Thank you.”)
You complete the task as expected.

Awesome (“You rock!”)
You do the task better or more quickly than expected

If you suck, you should be punished. If you rock, you should be rewarded. There are no points for normal.You don’t get a pat on the back for doing what you’re supposed to do. There’s no reward for fulfilling your obligations.

Worker’s Diary: No Points for Normal

7 thoughts on “Worker’s Diary: No Points for Normal

  1. Voidious says:

    I hear ya, bro, and was with you 100% until really contemplating the deadline / “what’s expected” work example. You really make no room for considering how aggressive the deadline or work environment is.

    Under your guidelines, wouldn’t it be best for management to set REALLY absurd deadlines? If you make it, that’s normal, no raise/bonus for you; your performance may have, in fact, been outstanding. In some businesses, I bet 75% of work misses the initial deadline – so isn’t it an “above average” performer that hits every deadline?

    And what about inflation? If I’m doing “as expected”, should I really get no 3% raise (in effect, getting a pay cut)? What about working in a startup, which generally have little chance to survive? The business operates as if it expects to survive, but it really is a feat if it does – no raises / stock options for those initial employees?

    I couldn’t agree more about the first part, though. People seem to think it’s their god given right to have a career in and make money doing it.

    Fuck all the yuppies! Now I’m off to Panera for lunch… 🙂


  2. Voidious says:

    Mattdude, your Taoist debate tactics are just too powerful for me. You sit over there not saying anything; meanwhile, I contemplate my own previous comments, and I start seeing it your way!

    Anyway, nice post. 🙂


  3. Hey thanks Patchdude! Lol, yeah that was my “Tim Duncan” approach to debating ^_^

    Actually bro I totally see where you’re coming from with regard to unreasonable deadlines. I can definitely imagine scenarios where these rules wouldn’t be appropriate, and I do agree that people should get regular raises even for just “satisfactory” performance, due to inflation, increases in the cost of living, changes in the job market, etc.

    I guess I mainly envision these in situations where a deadline was reasonable, and/or the worker had previously committed to finishing a project in a certain timeframe under certain conditions (regardless of the reasonbleness of the deadline). Lots of times the rules change in the middle of the project, and that changes the situation. To some extent, I think the “expectations” come from within–we all know what we’re capable of accomplishing, and in the end we know whether or not we’ve lived up to our abilities.

    Ymerej–lmao! Wow dude, that’s frickin’ great. Now I’m wondering if I’d seen that show before and it seeped into my subconscious. 🙂


  4. Voidious says:

    My god, bro, great link. 😀

    “It still stings to have to part with one of my dreams through no real fault of my own,” Vincent said.

    Quoth the Bale, “You’re unbelievable man, you’re un-fucking-believable.”


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