Credit crunch: time to treat employees like trash by Roland Michel Tremblay

Roland Michel Tremblay

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By Roland Michel Tremblay
Featured Writer
Dandelion Salad
The Marginal
4 June, 2009

Credit crunch time, once again the old management rules are back. Not only employers and employment agencies are ready to exploit you to death, but don’t expect respect and niceties, we’re all trash for the next few years if not decades. Let’s just hope that one day we can still be recycled into something that looks remotely like human beings, preferably before we end up doing something insane.

You don’t like it here? Here is the door. A thousand desperate unemployed people would kill for your job. Experience? Knowledge? Aptitudes? Attitude? What do they matter in a period of recession? You can now expect a minimum salary and to be treated like a dog would not even be treated like. There is no such thing as having a life outside work anymore, I’m not sure there ever was.

Henry Paulson saw to it whilst helping to create the greatest depression humanity will ever see, if not perhaps the end of capitalism as we knew it. Paulson did a terrific job at preventing for a few years the normal smallish recessions from happening, just to create in the end the greatest depression ever. If somehow this crisis does not mark the end of capitalism, with its desperate and awful management rules, we would have missed an extraordinary opportunity to set things right for humanity.

Henry Paulson, 74th United States Treasury Secretary, member of the International Monetary Fund Board of Governors, previously Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Goldman Sachs. Goldman Sachs is one of the few companies that were miraculously saved from bankruptcy by us all, and look at what they are doing with the billions we gave them:

“Goldman Sachs ready to hand out £7bn salary and bonus package… after its £6bn bail-out”–6bn-bail-out.html

Not that I am an extreme socialist, or an anarchist for that matter, however I cannot accept the sort of corrupt capitalism they are trying to sell us. One where you can live like a king only for a few years, just to see it all taken away from you, in order for us all to revert back to a kind of poverty we only witness in the Third World. Unless you are a big fish in the financial markets, since the capitalism we have at the moment could not possibly benefit any of us.

We’ll have to furiously think if capitalism is to survive, as it will require a major rethink, a system that first and above all should benefit us all, instead of the few that you can count on your two hands. A financial system that does not bankrupt us all every ten years or so. I think we have had enough of excess and corruption, don’t you? Both in the financial markets and in politics worldwide.

And in the process let’s make sure we eradicate this soul destroying hierarchical system of this merciless modern management. I don’t know about you, but I would not mind waking up with a smile on my face once a while. I am tired of being terrorised at the idea of going back to work every Sunday night. Mostly Sundays, as during the week I never even get the chance to think about anything else but the nightmare of work.

Usually during a recession the roles between employers and employees change. When money is flowing the employers are struggling to keep their best employees from flying away to the competition. In times of recession they can now become bastards, because there is no position available at the competition, and don’t they know it. In times of depression they can even spit in your face and remain confident that you will say thank you for such treatments.

All thanks to Paulson, whilst the worse is still to come, with the collapse of the derivatives market. You better hope then that it will be the end of capitalism and those virtual banking jobs that no one ever truly needed or wanted in the first place. What are banks and financial institutions good for, except making billions on our back whilst still managing to go bankrupt in the process?

I know I said that before, I don’t think I could ever tire of stating it again and again: banks are useless, they can only be used to drain all our money to the nearest sewer, now more than ever. But don’t worry, our money is never lost, it is safely in someone else’s hands at this very moment. Let’s just hope that this someone else will use it to benefit us all. Fat chance, we’re at war with the whole world, financing god knows what.

We might have to go back to only having jobs that in the end are actually directly productive for society, that produce something concrete for everyone in the short term. Banking is not part of this mentality, it serves no purpose as it does not benefit any of us. Let them all fail spectacularly, do not bail them out anymore, and here will eventually come a much better world.

Whatever it is that banks were doing, the government needs to do it, and by governments I mean us. As we all know now, there is one thing that cannot be outsourced or trusted to third parties, it is banking. It can be and should be as simple that. Read that again and act upon it. It is perhaps the most important thing I have ever stated in my whole life. And now I am about to state the least significant thing ever, and yet, this is the new reality of our existence. Don’t kid yourself, it will be you soon.

I just went to the shop to buy four cans of beer with four hundred pennies, in front of the astonished owner of the beer and wine shop. “What!” I said. “This is the credit crunch, don’t tell me I’m the only one out there buying beers using pennies found and scratched from every bottom drawers, in order to help me hyperventilate? Am I the only one suffering from the credit crunch, or are you likely to see this on a daily basis now?” “And by the way,” I asked, “how well do you treat your employees? Starting tomorrow morning I might want to work in your stinky shop, how I would love to wash the floor for a start!”

I was not even drunk yet, and already the police was on its way, such a police state we’re living in. Don’t ask me how I escaped that one, and all previous such occurrences, as it is a very long story that simply I would not dare publish here. I certainly hope that one day I will speak more freely than this, about for example how the police no longer seem to need a warrant to enter your home and search around, as it happened to me recently. I’m already such a target, you would think I am a terrorist, and perhaps I am in their mind, for what they are trying to achieve, whatever they are trying to achieve, if anything.

It is the responsibility of every citizen to stop the excess and doom of its nation from all corruption, is it not? We have not been very successful at it in the last decade. I’m not even sure if I made any kind of difference in the last year with all those articles I have written. Only Big Brother has been listening, I’m afraid to admit. What a worthless existence despite it all. As if no citizen could ever hope to be heard in this world, as none of us truly matter despite the so-called democracy we’re supposed to live in. I hope you have been more successful than I, though I doubt it.

I feel so miserable tonight. Nothing is impossible for the work force of the future, once we understand a few more things. But continue to treat us like garbage, and very rapidly the only thing we will be able to think about or feel able to denounce, will be that you are treating us like rats. We can assure you, we will not get to the Moon for you any time soon. And here goes the Great American Empire. It has never been about anything else but how great every single one of us can be and become. That gone and here goes your great nation with it.

Unfortunately humans are very much like dogs when it comes to recognition. When we do something that we do not have to do at any rate, we expect a reward. Whether it is money, compliments, validation and appreciation for what we did, or even a simple “thank you”.

A simple “thank you” might make us feel better and make it all worthwhile. But don’t expect any of that from any employer any time soon, we are back to: “Make me rich and I don’t care for your petty feelings. And by the way, I just sacked everyone else, so you better manage to do all their work as well whilst I still expect more profits at the end of it. Otherwise you’re next out the door.” Have you experienced this feeling that you were rapidly sinking lately? My god, is it that generalised across the whole country?

The real problem here is that society in general does not recognise anything you do. Recognition is very rare, and you are lucky indeed if after working very hard at work or cleaning the whole house you will get the recognition you crave. Somehow we are all too egocentric to recognise others. Usually whenever someone does anything out of the ordinary, it either invites jealousy and then a war is declared, or it leaves us indifferent and we move on with our life.

So on one hand you have half the people craving for recognition, on the other you have another half that does not give a damn about anything the other half does. To be honest, if you never really worked hard at work and suddenly in a fit you do a lot of overtime and learn to speed up everything you do, it could be said that you were supposed to that anyway, you should have been doing it long before, never mind even if the rest of the office is lazy and incompetent.

If you clean the house and you usually never do it, well, you were expected to clean the house in the first place, you just got away with not doing it for far too long. And so nothing really deserves recognition in anyone’s eyes, because you could have been expected to do it, and if not, you could quickly have to do it as a habit, and then there will be no need for recognition, because it will be expected of you and you would have accepted to do it without recognition.

So far so good, nothing unexpected in this speech about recognition. We crave it, we rarely get it for whatever reason, we need to learn to move on without craving recognition, no matter how outstanding was a thing we may have done. Test it, do something truly outstanding, and you will be surprised by how little recognition you will get, and you might also be surprised to find out how much you needed it and wanted it. Learn to live without it, it does not come often. When it comes, appreciate it, flatter yourself and thank God for having put into your life people who can truly appreciate you for who you are and what you can do, because I have not met many of that kind of people.

The most troublesome problem with recognition comes next. When you are actually satisfied with something you did, that you didn’t have to do, and feel like celebrating for such hard work, and expect recognition, and what you get instead, very likely, is more trouble for your pennies. It has to be said, not only most people will not recognise you for your achievements, they will be blind to it and will find ways to alienate you even further, blame you and criticise you for other insignificant details, when you feel that you deserved at least some sort of recognition.

How can this be? Are we all humans living in our own little bubble universe, that we cannot recognise when someone has done something worthy of attention, that we cannot even see it, and then go on to slash into them for other unrelated problems instead? It may not seem so, but this is a serious issue, because the consequence of all this is depression, the feeling of not being appreciated to our true value, and the despair that no matter how hard we work, no matter how we could decide to turn our life around, it will never amount to anything positive, it will not be recognised. And what can be expected instead of a reward, will be more punishment. This sort of behaviour is responsible for many suicides in this world.

You would never expect to train a dog under those conditions, how could you expect to train humans to be happy and do the tricks you want them to do, if all there is in the end is guaranteed punishment? On the other hand, if you do not feel anything about the accomplishments of others, whether the relationship is a parent with his or her child, or a manager and his or her employee, why should you then start being hypocrite about it? Why should you give recognition to someone you do not feel deserves it or if you feel completely indifferent towards it? In fact, why should you get out of your own little bubble, stop being blind to what others do around you, and recognise their hard work? Don’t you have yourself the same needs for recognition and never get it either?

This conundrum brings only one conclusion in the mind of the underappreciated, a deep sense of injustice, that could lead to a feeling of discrimination. Others will see racism or sexism in it, or homophobia, when perhaps there only was selfishness in the equation to begin with. Sometimes there is discrimination involved, everyone witnesses favouritism at work for example, that makes the whole mix even more explosive, and there is not much we can do about it. Don’t get me started, I know there is little we can do to defend ourselves against discrimination.

We are more likely to be nice to people we like, who look good, never mind if they do nothing all day, they can get away with murder. Whilst you ugly duckling will most certainly need to be strong in this global conspiracy to push you towards picking up a gun and start shooting everything that moves. After all, who can trust the justice system nowadays, if you can even afford justice?

The other solution to either committing suicide or becoming a serial killer, might be to understand how humans are all selfish by nature, plagued with favouritism and selective blinding, and that no matter how hard you work, you will never get the recognition you crave. Instead, you can expect more criticism and punishment.

Once you have accepted that this is the true nature of most human beings, most likely your bosses, colleagues at work, family and friends, you can perhaps still live a happy life, because then you will learn not to crave or expect recognition from anyone, not even expecting a thank you for anything you do.

It is normal as we are all selfish and living in our own universe, we’re too worried about our own little problems and psychological mind tricks from others, to start opening our eyes to what others do around us, let alone recognising any of them for whatever accomplishment they may achieve. Once you understand this, you will no longer expect anything from anyone. And if somehow you do get some recognition, take it as a bonus, don’t let it go to your Ego though, it is the exception and should never be expected again.

So far I have only talked about small achievements, nothing great, more like your tasks at work and your duties and responsibilities at home. The real test for you will come when you do actually achieve something outstanding that proves beyond doubt that some others around you, who have been criticising you for a long time, were wrong about you.

The perfect example would be the unreasonable expectations of parents for their children, or a boss with its employees, that they should succeed at anything, becoming such an obsession, that it could turn nasty when none of their expectations are fulfilled, especially when there is nothing promising that it might change in the near future.

And suddenly you get promoted and your salary goes off the scale, or you start a home business which churns in millions within months or years (never mind if you declare bankruptcy soon after, as it will most likely happen in this kind of capitalism), or you suddenly write a song (who cares if it is bollocks, you know it is the best thing ever written), or somehow you become rich and famous, or rich or famous.

That is the real test, because then you would be expecting from your peers, your family and friends, whoever else, incommensurable congratulations and recognition, which once again cannot fail to deceive you. Even then it will not come and you will need to move beyond that need and accept human nature for what it is.

And if you feel that with a little bit more support from the people around you, you could have achieved higher ends, or at the very least been able to maintain yourself in that achievement instead of falling back to the ground in flame soon after, as it is most usual in any of these cases, you could be right, but then you should never have expected anything more from anyone else anyway.

We are all alone in this world, you cannot expect help from others beyond the call of their self imposed duties. You cannot expect recognition, congratulations, deep appreciation for who you are and your accomplishments, no matter how remarkable they are. The sooner you learn that, the stronger you will become and the better equip you will be to go through this existence unscathed.

And then, you should learn to act and work hard for yourself, feel a deep appreciation for your own achievements, keep them for yourself, and celebrate and reward yourself in your own time without involving anyone else. So you won’t annoy the others with your petty little insignificant achievements, as they cannot fail to see it that way even though you might believe them to be outstanding. It is the only way to still feel great about it.

There is no law against stroking your own Ego, as long as you don’t stroke it in public or even in the comfort of your family and friends heart. Better have a great inward little perfect universe in your own mind, than be destroyed by others who cannot by definition give a damn about who you are or whatever you could ever achieve in this world.

As there is no recognition to be expected from anyone in this world, you are free to set your own goals as high or as low as you wish. If you cannot expect anything from anyone else, it stands to reason that no one has the right to expect anything from you either.

In this world, only you can ever give yourself the recognition you yourself feel you deserve. So pop up a bottle of Champagne once in a while, if you can afford it, as I believe we all deserve it, even though no one else will ever recognise it. After all, what’s important is that we feel we deserve it.


“Without irony, this life would hardly be worth living.”

Roland Michel Tremblay


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10 thoughts on “Credit crunch: time to treat employees like trash by Roland Michel Tremblay

  1. aptly put. i can dare say i’ve never heard someone openly recognizing this problem and declaring it. It’s hard to have deep intimate meaningful relationships with psychopaths.

    • Thanks! And it is so true what you say. Impossible to have meaningful relationships with psychopaths, and although not everyone is a psychopath, too many adopt their ways in this world as the only way to climb the hierarchy. And I just realise also that I never read such an article as this one anywhere else. More should get inspiration from it and develop it all further in other articles. It is an important issue, recognition, feeling appreciated.

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  3. I totally agree with Natureboy, and this is exactly my point. This is, believe it or not, the kind of idea I hope to generate in people while trying to describe how our actual system might feel to many of us.

    Roland Michel Tremblay

    • Let’s spread the word. You’ve eloquently identified the problem, let’s now start a new paradigm of the small cooperative, the ‘family farm’ within the industrial mess. I believe we can bring humanity back to our working lives, we all deserve equal representation for our equal efforts, and thereby begin a happy life at work, where we each benefit equally. This is good!

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  5. It is a sad story, one which pits employers and employees against eachother, and which both have bought into to their mutual animosity and corruption. If it’s to change, both sides need to adopt a new model, and it doesn’t have to be that scary.

    Employees are just as culpable for their unhappiness by buying into the model of a proper dependable paycheck and benefits (yet forever at risk of being axed), as are employers for forever trying to get over on their staff for profit.

    Leaving aside Goldman and the evil banksters (for which we are also culpable for being speculative profit-gamblers and borrowers) , most of us work in small ‘shops’, small businesses, enterprises based in human-scaled production and service.

    If production is to be achieved by the group, then it should be a group enterprise.

    You don’t have to be a communist with all sorts of large ideas of state ownership and control to reconfigure our daily work environment and sustenance for a communally satisfying, profitable and sustaining outcome.

    My inspiration is ‘The Take’. I am as we speak reorganizing my company as a collective, we mark up our cost of goods by double, and split that keystone equally (i.e. we all take exactly the same). If we can mutually find a way to be more efficient and increase profits, then we all benefit, because at the end of the year, whatever is left (excepting operating capital) we split equally.

    I strongly feel that if we start out with a new system in our work environment, that the whole exploitative model that pits workers and management against each-other will evaporate.

    If you think about it, the inventor and the producer are equal. We all contribute our talents. Yes some of us may be brilliant at coming up with designs and ideas, but to sit there and produce them is also a massive talent and sacrifice.

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