Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Go Slow

Yes, I'm on a go-slow at home. I'm working to rule. Conditions have been deteriorating, talks have failed and I'm taking direct action!

What I'm saying is that I've been working my arse off around here, and my efforts are largely unrecognised and unrewarded. Like many a worker before me, I have found that we have a crisis, I put in many extra hours and achieve unheard-of feats of productivity, and instead of gratitude I am given the impression that my new levels of performance have now become the minimum and more is required.

It's the way of the world, they say. Well, I'm not having it!

Working to rule is when employees do no more than the minimum required. Every workplace relies on its employees to do more than the minimum. Every workplace relies on good will. And so, when that workplace fails to motivate its employees, when it has eroded good will by taking that good will for granted and abusing it, it needs to learn something about how to keep employees happy and willingly contributing that bit of extra.

Working to rule appeals to me because it is an agent for change, it is an assertive protest, but it is proportionate to the original offence. It is not a strike or a lockout. No one really gets hurt. It is a warning.

After all, if I do everything that is humanly posible and still get yelled at, why should I work so hard? If I am going to be yelled at, anyway, I might as well enjoy a little rest, put my feet up and watch TV. He does.

I don't want him to really suffer. So it's just the extras that are missing.

So, there is food in the freezer because that was already made. But the Big Dude finds he has to defrost it, heat it up himself and make his own spaghetti to go with it. That nice woman who normally asks him what he would like, prepares it all and brings it to him in front of the TV has already eaten and is otherwise occupied. She's not killing herself on washing up his dishes afterwards, either. It just ain't the same.

And yes, there are clean clothes - for now. But strangely, the washing machine is silent and not in motion, and the Big Dude's supply of clean clothes won't last long. Her clothes are clean. The Little Dude's clothes are clean. But the Big Dude's dirty clothes are starting to pile up. That woman couldn't be planning to implement that agreement of some weeks ago that he would actually do some laundry, could she?

And that sweet-natured mummy who usually stresses herself out by staying to the last possible moment in the mornings so that daddy can have some time to himself before the full onslaught of the Little Dude? She seems to have left earlier for work this morning. At a time that suited her and gave her a little time to herself. Was she... can it be true... sitting in a cafe reading the newspaper?

Heh heh heh heh (she seems to have borrowed one of Rob's evil grins).


Blogger Rob said...

"Heh heh heh heh (she seems to have borrowed one of Rob's evil grins)."

Well Emily, feel free to borrow more cuz there's more - for all occasions.
Sometimes you just gotta subtly hit them up the side of the head (metaphorically speaking) to get their attention, eh? When BD starts whining then I trust that you've planned your next move. You have done so, right?

3:59 AM  
Blogger Fiona said...

Way to go Emily!!!!

He probably doesn't know what's hit him....or believes you'll cave....something tell me you won't this time ;)

4:40 AM  
Blogger aphron said...

Keep us posted when the sparks fly. One can handle the weight of the world, if given an ounce of appreciation. I wonder how long it'll be before he notices you're on strike?

5:42 AM  
Blogger LBP said...

I'm interested to see how this goes.

6:34 AM  
Blogger FTN said...

I'm interested to see what happens here as well.

I'm also interested, from a purely sociological perspective :-) , to ask what people would think if the genders were switched on this experiment. Because it seems like a GUY would catch a lot of flack for doing something similar because he felt unappreciated. Could I stop taking out the trash? Giving the kids baths? Doing sweet little things for my wife that she doesn't seem to notice?

It seems to me that would be counterproductive. But I could be wrong.

7:35 AM  
Blogger O272 said...

FTN - are you assuming your spouse is slacking on her responsibilities? Is that when you stop taking out the trash? I doubt many women would do that in the first place. If they did, then I say you have every right to go on garbage duty strike!

Of course, that's all the more garbage you're taking out later.

Might wanna consider that, Em!

12:05 PM  
Blogger Emily said...

Rob - You just wait and see :-)

Fiona, Aphron, LBP - I think he is already noticing.

FTN - I'm still doing the minimum, of the "taking out the trash" variety and I would never do anything that affected the Little Dude. I'm just not doing those little thoughtful extras that a "wife" normally does that make things extra nice.

Maybe its counterproductive. But we must have had talks about this 50 times and nothing changes. Isn't there some saying about how if you always do the same thing, you always get the same result? I'm not interested in having one of those earnest and constructive conversations followed by zero change. So its time to try something different.

O272 - Of course, that's the fatal flaw in the whole plan. But in the meantime, MY life is already more pleasant :-)

And my resentment is already dissipating. I'm actually having fun...

1:52 PM  
Anonymous Rosie said...

How fun - I mean that in a nice way, that you are enjoying this new approach. And because it is a new approach it should get some attention and make the point.

4:56 PM  
Blogger Ali said...

You go girl!
This is perfect!
If only you oculd get the whole office team onto this plan- then they'd be FORCED to hire more staff?

What'dya think? An informal strike?

6:05 PM  
Blogger oldbear said...

Hi Emily, I support you and respect you.

You got to know I got the best in mind for both you alone, and ofr your life in the family!

I am interested in how this works out, I feel so sad when I see a roller coaster of elations and then frustrations to your posts.

I hope this works, and he sees how much you have struggled, and does not take it as a personal threat or insult to him, but as chance to show his LOVE , DEVOTION, and APPRECIATION for you!

Hug to you and LD and secret hug to BD! OB.

ps-remember that sometimes chores OUGHT to be neglected, to spend quality time together as Lovers, Friends, and family!

7:23 PM  

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