Friday, December 7, 2007


Today is Friday - funday in a lot of commercial enterprises - where employees are "encouraged" to make their workday more palatable by dressing down. As lenin writes today in Lenin's Tomb
These employers really take the fucking piss, don't they? Not content with sucking the lifeblood out of you for the working day and tacitly getting free overtime out of you (they call it 'flexibility', almost as if your free labour was a fact about your personality, something you willingly and charitably part with because you aren't one of those inflexible assholes), they have the nerve to try and structure your fun.
I know, len, it's disgusting, innit. When I moved to Houston, TX in '76 - 1976 - I worked for a Houston-based, family-owned insurance company. In Texas, they celebrated many holidays, one of which was Confederate Heroes Day, on 19 January. Employees were required on that day to go to the company cafeteria, where they were given a slice of celebration cake, emblazoned with the Confederate stars and bars. The sheet cake was baked in the kitchen by an African American cook! This day is celebrated in various guises across the South, but in Texas it was to mark the birthdays of Robert E. Lee and Jeff Davis. The slices were passed out by a management employee dressed as Stonewall Jackson, another "hero."

I had recently moved to Texas from the North and was appalled by this celebration. I remember remarking to a friend from Lubbock, "But they lost, didn't they?" To which she whispered in reply, "Don't tell them that!"
Apparently, this sort of thing boosts productivity and team cohesion, but it seems more likely that it reinforces an ideological norm of cheerful willingness to be fucked around, to participate in official lies, to tolerate hypocritical wall-to-wall grins and bonhomie with people who will tomorrow be undermining you or overworking you by any means possible. Hey - you don't want to be a bad sport do you?

(I don't recall them celebrating Juneteenth with as much gusto at Great Southern Life Insurance Company.)

Ah! the memories of my time in Texas. At the start of the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo was Go Texan Day, a Houston tradition. At this insurance company, as in all over the city, employees were encouraged to dress in Western attire - jeans, cowboy boots, and cowboy hats. If an employee didn't comply with this dress code, they were arrested and thrown into "jail," down in the lobby. You'd have to make arrangements to get bailed out before you could return to work. And yet, the management was constantly reminding us in our annual employee reviews about efficency, productivity, and the company policy of no overtime.

Vermont companies are no different with their cosy employee "incentives."
Small Dog is a socially responsible company which means we have a multiple bottom line. The effect we have on our environment, community, customers and employees is just as important as maintaining our profitability.
Remember Burton's being a good guy last winter by allowing employees to take the day off and head out to Smuggs or Bolton after the Valentine's Day blizzard? Good marketing ploy. Seventh Generation even permits employees to bring their dogs to work! Arf! Arf!

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