Friday, February 13, 2009

My Lower Tolerance for Corporate Bureaucracy

"In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice, there is." Yogi Berra

Since taking early retirement in 2007, I've been doing some seasonal part-time work. I took the job because the hours were flexible, the bureaucracy was relatively low, and I enjoyed doing the work. In theory, I wanted this work to be fun. In practice, it still was a corporate job.

This year, I've observed a noticeable decrease in flexibility and increase in bureaucracy, which is causing a reduction in enjoying the work. Interestingly, when I talk to others, they comment that this is the trend they've seen over the past five, ten, twenty or thirty years that they have been employed on a seasonal part-time basis. "My gosh," I think, "I hope I don't put up with this for that long"

My main bureaucracy complaint is that the corporate headquarters develops programs that sound good to management (theory), but are one notch below stupid when executed (practice) with the client, which is the interface I work. If I were king, I'd make corporate headquarters do their own campaigns, so they can personally experience the silliness of the execution, and create a much better program. Alas, since I'm not king, I plan to send a few e-mails to the management on how they can fix their programs.

In theory, management would use my input to improve the program. In practice, I don't really expect to have any real impact, other than to have bland polite messages sent back to me like, "Thank you very much for your comments. We will be reviewing them with appropriate department and will call you with any questions." However, I will feel that I have made my concern known, instead of just complaining to my office colleagues.

Fortunately, if the bureaucracy continues to get worse, I have the flexibility to choose not returning next year. Of course, they will also have the flexibility not to rehire me after reading the feedback I will provide :-)

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This is not financial, career or retirement advice. Please consult a professional advisor.

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