Corporate Feudalism

heraldry.jpgI must’ve picked up the phrase ‘cor­po­rate feu­dal­ism’ some­where, and as I con­tin­ue work­ing as a serf this sit­u­a­tion is con­stant­ly rein­forced.

Tues­day we were required to attend a meet­ing that would appar­ent­ly explain how we are com­pen­sat­ed for our work. Not only was it ter­ri­bly thought out and pre­sent­ed, the obvi­ous illu­sion-work and sta­tis­ti­cal gym­nas­tics only end­ed up rein­forc­ing that we are only paid enough to max­i­mize prof­its. It is quite dif­fi­cult to explain exact­ly what they tried to pull on us with­out show­ing you the pow­er­point pre­sen­ta­tion but I will try.

First, they use data gath­ered from many oth­er cor­po­ra­tions to deter­mine pay lev­els and the aver­age pay for that lev­el. Sec­ond­ly, they deter­mine what the pay range for each lev­el should be. I am lev­el 4 and the range is $25,100 then $31,000 then $38,000 then $46,000. Lev­el 5 pay starts at $28,000 and increas­es just about pro­por­tion­al­ly to lev­el 4. Despite being told that my com­pa­ny pays the nation­al aver­age for every­one, it seemed that most peo­ple get paid the bare min­i­mum. It also seems to explain why they are so eager to pro­mote peo­ple to a ‘high­er’ pay grade. By keep­ing us at the min­i­mum pay for a grade they are able to give the illu­sion of reward­ing excel­lence while actu­al­ly sav­ing them­selves some saw­bucks. The les­son here is to refuse pro­mo­tion and its added respon­si­bil­i­ties in order to make more mon­ey.

Then we learned about rais­es and were shown anoth­er chart that rates job per­for­mance to the amount of raise we should get for each lev­el of per­for­mance. Since I seem to be exceed­ing expec­ta­tions, I would qual­i­fy for a 3%-5% raise at the end of the year. Accord­ing to the chart. But then we were told that ‘mer­it increas­es’ are lim­it­ed due to the amount that is bud­get­ed for said increas­es. Thus, most peo­ple won’t get as much as they deserve because the peo­ple who deter­mine the rais­es haven’t been giv­en enough cash to do so. There are two rea­sons that this makes employ­ees not care about their work. 1) It sends the mes­sage that the high­er high­er-ups choose to lim­it our com­pen­sa­tion com­plete­ly inde­pen­dent of our skill lev­el and 2) The dif­fer­ence in a raise com­par­ing a below aver­age work­er to an above aver­age work­er becomes no more than $50-$100 a year. I’m assum­ing, of course, that prof­it motive is sec­ondary to jus­tice.

I call this cor­po­rate feu­dal­ism because, with each year that pass­es, the gap between the vas­sals of the lord and the serfs increas­es by the amount that we serfs deserve pay­ment for but do not receive. Also the corporation/manor is increas­ing­ly becom­ing respon­si­ble for all aspects of the serf life. The office now often has its own cafe­te­ria, its own day­care, its own health care provider. And we are con­sid­ered skilled labor since our jobs appar­ent­ly require a col­lege edu­ca­tion. As unskilled labor increas­ing­ly becomes auto­mat­ed or obso­lete, those work­ers will become a men­di­cant class. I wouldn’t mind this so much if I was more than a serf. Or if there were still prop­er knights need­ed to defend the cas­tle instead of lawyers and accoun­tants.

And I learned the word ‘face-time’ which is when you have no work to do but can’t just leave because you still have to keep track of every 15 minute incre­ment of a work­day.

These are the links to oth­er things that I have found regard­ing cor­po­rate feu­dal­ism. They are quite lib­er­al­ly par­ti­san, which tends to detract from their worth as they end up sound­ing more like whiny rants against con­ser­v­a­tives than any­thing mar­gin­al­ly more inter­est­ing.