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“voluntold” May 4, 2009

Posted by That Guy in Definition, Economic Downturn.
Tags: , , , , ,


How many tasks do you think this person was voluntold to do? (Photo by Mary Thompson)

How many tasks do you think this person was voluntold to do? (Photo by Mary Thompson)

One of the things the Two-Year-Old instituted when she got hired was that everyone in the entire building had to join one of about 20 strangely-named groups that would, in varying degrees, help the company. Supposedly. About two weeks before she laid out this master plan*, she sat down with Ivy — one of my co-workers — and decided who would be in charge of which group.

Then she voluntold the group leaders what they would be doing. And she voluntold us all that we had to join at least two — but the people she directly supervised had to join all of them**. I was voluntold to lead two groups, and I joined two others — I found things I liked and I joined the groups. Of course, because I’m in the web department, I pretty much had to show up to at least one meeting of every group, but that’s only because I was getting a feel for what I would have to do when these twenty groups failed.

And I think I know why they failed: because we were all voluntold.

By now you’ve probably figured out what voluntold means — to be ordered to volunteer for a group, project, or other task. But it’s the mindset behind voluntold that bothers me more than anything. It’s the mindset that says “my employees won’t do what they’re supposed to, so I have to make them” or “if I don’t force someone to do this, then no one will do it”.

Do you know why that’s the case?

Because you’ve killed morale so much that all anyone wants to do is log eight hours and get the hell out. You’ve cut salary; you’ve cut benefits; you’ve instituted furloughs and fired co-workers. You’ve given us more work than three people can do in a single day, and you’ve only given us six hours to do it in. Then you suck up our productive time with meetings, training sessions, and audits. Whyever would we want to stay late, or do extra work, or help you out? We can barely keep our heads above water!

Just keep making sure we get voluntold to do new things. We still won’t do them, but at least we’ll have a good excuse when our regular work isn’t done.

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* Which has since been completely abandoned. No one’s doing anything they’re supposed to be doing. Epic fail there, lady.

** None of them even bothered to try doing any of these special jobs. Par for the course around here when you’re voluntold to do something.



1. you’re doing it wrong « corporatespeak - May 8, 2009

[…] wrong trackback It is very rare that someone wants to take on extra work. In fact, without being voluntold, it’s highly likely that you’ll only take on extra projects […]

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