The dumbest thing I’ve heard a SVP say

Image for post
Image for post

The quote in the headline sets up like this:

Years ago, I was working at a trade show in Las Vegas. The company I worked for was hosting the trade show, and it was “all hands on deck.” I think Wednesday night of that week, we have a staff party up in some suite. A junior female employee says “Wow, this week is intense. I bet I’ll do 65 hours or so.”

Some absolute buffoon SVP, who coincidentally looked like a penis, was standing around a bunch of his hangers-on and other VP-level people. He blurts out: “65 hours in a week? I remember my first part-time job!”

The junior girl and her friends look dismayed. The SVPs all guffaw.

I used Goldberg as the post picture because, at that moment, all I wanted to do was spear this dude through the plate of fruits and cheeses behind him.

Why is what he said even bad?

On face, it’s not. Hierarchy allows you to get away with tons of bad crap, from stupid statements at staff parties to, well, #MeToo context.

But if the comment isn’t “bad,” it’s definitely “stupid,” because it reflects a lack of understanding of human behavior and capitalism.

Human behavior: The hard ceiling for productivity for a human being is about 55 hours/week. If you work to the point that you think a 65-hour week is “a part-time job,” you are not actually working productively.

Capitalism: In a capitalism, when you have a higher title, you make more money. When you make more money, your ass is on the line more when things fail. In this context/condition, you are expected to work more. 65 hours/week? Not necessarily unless there’s a trade show or big client need. But you should be working more, yes. One of the biggest chasms of white-collar work is the perception that executives do nothing but fly to fancy meetings. In many companies, that’s actually the case — but you can’t challenge them on it because of that pesky hierarchy thing above.

“Employee experience”

Can you imagine the “experience” of that junior employee talking about her deep commitment to work that week — and instantly being shamed by a superior about how hard he works, then having all his asshole friends laugh too?

Do you really think a software platform is going to make that situation better? Is that the type of “employee experience” ye seek? Interesting.

Flexing about time

A tale as old as time in organizations. Perception of being busy is everything.

I just don’t understand the constant flexing about time, being slammed (which feels like a porn movie concept), how much you work, etc.

The goals of work are supposed to be productivity and client/customer satisfaction with whatever your end product is. In fact, those two things should be aligned. If you achieve client satisfaction, you should be viewed as “productive” in one sense.

It’s entirely possible to do that in 4 hours vs. 44 hours, and that whole concept is part of why Tim Ferriss is famous.

Some weeks and quarters you will work more, for sure. That’s life, baby! That’s the way of the white-collar donkey! Don’t call it slavery, bitch.

But at the same time, don’t constantly flex about the time associated with work. If anything, flex about the outputs. “I kept this client happy, and they bought more shit from us!” sounds a lot better (to me) than “I worked 82 hours last week!”

Your take?

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