Monday, May 12, 2008

Okay... chime in on this one....

Recently, I've heard a lot of workplace horror stories. It seems most of these stories are a result of rather barbaric people who so strongly believe in scarcity that they will intentionally do harm to those around them to assure their own security.

They will lie, cheat and backstab in order to secure their own positions, even if it is at someone else's expense. And if that's not bad enough, they are typically rewarded for it through promotions.

The fact that I can't be exposed to those environments is no secret. It literally makes me heart sick. It goes beyond not liking it. It goes beyond finding it distasteful. It is one of the things that can cause me to become enraged.

The idea that people must compete with others to have the right to feed their families is something I will never be able to reconcile. It won't even process through my synapses. I doubt there is anything anyone could say that would change my mind about the amorality of it. My mind is closed like a steel trap.

There are certain things that should be certain for us - for all of us. Affordable housing, an education, health care and a job. That's really not much to ask. It's basic personal maintenance.

Shouldn't we be able to offer that as a humane community? It seems to me that it should be a basic rule in the social contract.

What say you? Do you agree with my fundamental position? If not, why not?

I'm not looking to argue with those who disagree. I will thank you in advance for sharing with me. I'm just curious to discuss this.

I promise to be respectful. :)



jen said...

i absolutely agree. Maslow's hierarchy. we must have our basic needs met and i can't think of any good reason not to do it for others in our community.

Z said...

Yes, but how? Thanks to our welfare state in Britain, we have health care and education that is free at the point of use and affordable or free housing for poor families, and free training and assistance towards getting a job, but that doesn't eliminate poverty - child poverty is increasing, even as welfare benefits go up.

Not all people want a job, I know those who have lived off the state for years and others who would lose benefits if they earned more and so make sure they don't.

Attempts have been made to get round this, such as tax credits but, partly because of maladministration, it's caused great stress for many people who find they've been overpaid one year and lose money the next.

Tenants have been given increased rights, such as deposits being held by a third party so that they can't be unfairly kept back when they leave, but on the other hand, if they don't pay the rent it will take a landlord months to get a court order to evict them and in the meantime they may well trash the place.

It's not a two-way contract and recipients sometimes have no sense of social responsibility and simply want everything free. If you know how to manipulate the system, you can do very well out of it, but if you are genuinely trying to do your best, it's a struggle.

11 years ago when this Labour government was elected, they pledged to eliminate child poverty. Millions of pounds has been poured into this endeavour but, as I said, there is more child poverty and also more dysfunctional families, more family breakdowns and a greater gap between rich and poor.

So, I agree with you, but how is it to happen?

Jen of A2eatwrite said...

It's a complex question. I lived in Soviet Russia for a time, and all of those things were guaranteed, although given at different levels depending on where you lived and what "class" you were part of.

There was a great deal of apathy on the part of many, many workers at various strata of society.

OTOH, there was a much more relaxed life.

OTOH, people still found things to be unkind to each other about, and backstabbing of the type you describe, was rampant because people wanted "more" and the way to get "more" was to have a better position.

But should everyone have the right to having basic human needs met? Absolutely. What do we do about our egos, our desires? I have no idea.

Gillian said...

I'm at work~!
I loved this post. I also agreed with you. I don't understand the mentality behind the "backstab". I think focusing energy where it belongs, like creating the job you want and being of service to others, is the answer. Those who delibrately sabotage another are simply trying to divert attention away from the poor work they are doing. Right?
Send me your passwords. I've done a banner and will go in and change your header. If you like? !

thailandchani said...

Jen, that is how it seems to me. Meet the basic stuff and then there will be more energy for creativity and a more robust economy.


Z, it requires a complete overhaul of the way we think and the way we view each other. Bandaids applied to a gaping wound will never change anything. Hopefully, I will have more ideas about that as I think it through. :)


JenA2, It is ego and desires that cause most suffering in the world. Perhaps we need to overcome them. Each time I get a little closer, I can tell the difference. Not that I'm there yet, by any means.

The Soviet system was basically ego-driven as well - since that was Marx's foundational belief. He had some fair economic ideas but by eliminating spirituality entirely, he appealed to a pragmatic, ego-driven mindset.


Gillian, I think that backstabbing stuff comes from an inherent belief that resources are limited and we must "fight" others to get our share.. or more than our share.

Thanks for the beautiful remake of the site. It's really lovely. :)


heartinsanfrancisco said...

I was never able to flourish in such workplaces, which operated in ways completely counter to my own of helping and sharing.

People are forced into unnatural contortions like bonsai which is fascinating in plants, but people should not be stunted and unable to become their best selves in a climate that regards this as subversive.

I have many personal horror stories of the workplace, which is sheer torture for sensitive people.

I agree completely that everyone's basic needs should be met and it's terribly sad that the means exists, but our government is more interested in using it to destroy life instead of maintaining it.

Defiantmuse said...

Okay. well... I completely agree (big surprise there). I am someone who has never had a real "jobby job". I've slung coffee and alcohol for a decent enough wage. I've taken care of an autistic child. I did Thai massage for a while. Even some random things like building fences and cleaning stables on a horse farm. But I have never been able to succumb to the "typical" work environment. I have lived simply because of it but I never found I needed much more than the basics. And many would say I still live like a poor college student and I'll never "make it" in life. Well I guess that depends on what your definition of "making it" is.

I love the new look, btw. :)

Z said...

Maybe I was too negative - from the workplace point of view, I completely agree with you. One of my sons is fortunate enough to own his own small business and the other works for a small company where mutual respect and high standards are fundamental to its ethos. My daughter, who works in a more conventional office environment, can't wait to get out when she takes maternity leave this summer and doesn't intend to go back. It's a *good* (=well paid) job, but not rewarding and the bitching and backstabbing are sapping her spirit.

womaninawindow said...

Thank you so much for what you wrote over at my place today. It's reassuring to know that she might can strength from her personality and turn out to be perfectly fine in the end...I'll come back later to read what you've

Dandelion seeds said...

I sometimes wonder if people are backstabbing to make sure their family is fed (and I agree-we all are entitled to these things) or to make sure their beemer payment is met.

ya know?

jen said...

totally off topic but i LOVE your new look.

Anonymous said...

I'd add "food" to what should be available to all.

This had me thinking of tribal living: everyone has shelter (housing), food and water (sustenance), assigned tasks (jobs), medicine (healthcare) and the transmission of knowledge of "the Way" (education).

Yeah, cast my vote with all those in favor.

And toxicity is contagious. (Patients excluded.) Bleh, not for me if I can help it.

Anonymous said...

Oops, almost forgot, luh-HUV what you've done with the room.


painted maypole said...

oh chani! your new look is GORGEOUS!!!

And I do agree with you. There is enough for all of us. More than enough. Your success does not mean my loss. It shouldn't, anyways. And it most certainly doesn't have to. We need to change how we think about that.

slouching mom said...

yes, i absolutely agree.

and your site! it looks lovely. really lovely.

thailandchani said...

Susan, I always felt so defensive in those places... almost like being in a war zone. I was afraid all the time.

Human beings shouldn't have to live like that. It's not living at all.


Defiant, I still live like a poor college student too.. and have never been happier. :) There's something to be said for moving off the grid.


Z, I believe it! I'd love to see more family-based small businesses... something people can do to make money in an honest and community-based way .. something that doesn't sap people's spirits that way.


WindowWoman, I honestly believe that, based on what you said, that she is resisting with all her little spirit to getting shoved into a box of regimentation and structure with all the incumbent hierarchy. Seriously. I'll bet if you ask her, she'll probably even tell you that. The thing is that the schools are all about making her "bad" because her spirit won't be broken.

I'll be curious to continue reading updates from you about it.


Jen, thanks. :) It's all Gillian's work. Literally. I gave her the password and she did it all. (I'm not visual so I couldn't have helped.)


Wendy, exactly. Tribal living. Community living. The way of life here is killing people. Who can be expected to survive it?


PM, I agree. It's time to change that thinking. The Age of Separation is killing all of us.


SM, thanks. It's really good that there are some people who can visualize what these sites should look like. :)


Anonymous said...

I may be a cynic, but it seems to me that all humans and animals have always had to compete to help their families. I suck at it, but I get that it may just be the way things are.

flutter said...

I believe that we should have an environment where we can provide those things for ourselves and that we can accommodate those who cannot provide for themselves.

Not those who will not, but those who cannot.

Your new house is lovely,btw.

nick said...

I completely agree with you, Chani. In fact I could write a very long comment about it but I won't! I also find such ruthless and manipulative behaviour very upsetting. Fortunately I haven't experienced too much of it but when I do it's horrible.

Advizor said...

This is an interesting thread on many levels and I wish I had more time to give a more thoughtful answer.

The reality of our lives is that resources ARE limited, people are inherently selfish, and competition is the natural order of life.

I highly recommend the writings of Ayn Rand on this topic. Governments that try to give all things to all people must TAKE it from someone else. Food, clothes, cars, and oil, don't just magically appear on your table every day. They are provided by entrepreneurs who risk their own time and money to bring them to market, and the best, only, and most effective incentive is profit.

I work to earn money, to buy the things I need and want. I work harder than my brother does, I should get more money. He is able to work, but chooses not too, he should get less money. I am willing to help him when he is ready to help himself, but not until then.

Poverty is created when the government interferes with the workings of the free market in commerce and education. The less the government interferes, the less poverty there is.