05 December 2010
Day 253: Kill and Kill Again
We meet a man named Mark Foreman pretty early in the book. He's one of the big bosses at Manchester Arms and therefore a potential Bad Guy. With the way he was introduced, you automatically want to like him. He's a down to earth guy, the kind of person you would want to be your boss if you worked in a factory job or other mind numbing labor. Quist and the reader meet Foreman for the first time while he's wearing work blues and greasy gloves, and he explains he's just been down in the factory, "Where the work actually gets done," to ensure product quality and make sure things are running smoothly.
It seems like there are so few bosses like this now it makes me cry.
I worked in a deli/bakery at Winn Dixie when I was 18 and there was one day we just didn't have the staff to cover. Instead of telling us to deal with it, my manager put on a hair net and a pair of gloves and started slicing meat with the rest of us schmucks. This impressed me greatly because the management at the previous job I had at a Christian thrift store was horrendous and downright unethical. To go from a place where the management actively tried to destroy their employees by firing them just before they would get benefits and then rehiring them after a period where their seniority was reset to a shining example of humanity and authority... well, I can't tell you how amazing that was.
Of course, it seems that in most companies people don't work their way up anymore. If you don't work your way up, you don't know how hard the people below you are actually struggling with their jobs, etc. You also don't know exactly what goes on or how things operate. If you don't know the basic functions of the workers below you, how can you possibly make good decisions about where to cut corners and how to improve assembly lines or service? If we're going to pay our corporate managers the wages of three to four people, shouldn't they know how to do the jobs of at least that many people well enough to take over for them in an emergency? Why are we only paying them for one job, as stressful as it may be?
I think if corporate managers knew how hard people worked at those jobs, they wouldn't be so quick to lay them off instead of giving up their bonuses. I think they would realize how much they need those workers to provide the best possible service, the best possible product, and to do so in the safest way. And this goes for pretty much every industry. As a librarian, it often angered me to see people enter the library school program with intentions of becoming a librarian without first having any experience as a page, and no intentions of getting that experience. If you aren't willing to go into the stacks and pull or shelve the books, I don't think you should even think about asking someone else to do it for you when you're a manager.
According to the review from Publisher's Weekly on Amazon.com, this wasn't even a very good book when it was published. Psst, I don't like linking to Amazon either.