Workplace Inequity

Friday 9 August 2002

I have come to a realization about jobs and the workplace: the useless get promoted while the competent are held back.

The evidence is all over the place, waiting to be detected - all you have to do is look. For some reason, hard-working and competent technical people are forced to remain as such. It must have something to do with the fact that promoting them would result in less people to do the grunt work and do it well. Meanwhile, inept people - those with no hard skills, those who are weak in the technical arena - are flagged as management material, team leaders, and so forth.

When this happens, they lose what little actual technical responsibility they had and move into new positions...ones that require meetings, and ties, and long lunches...ones that allow flexible hours, afford better equipment and toys, and award more pay and rank and power. I mean a LOT more pay. There are cases in which the raw amount of the pay increase is more than some people make in a year. That's a lot of extra money as a reward for being a glorified secretary.

It is happening. Worse, many workers put up with it. They have to; due to the current economy and market, most people are thankful to have a job at all. No one wants to rock the boat or speak up, so they endure and suffer and complain. Frustration and resentment build up. Health declines. Morale dies.

Of course, I would never - not in a million years or a billion rants - be talking about any workplace that I am a member of. This is all utterly theoretical and couldn't possibly happen at any job that I have the good sense to remain at.