I got to read a little graphic recently that went like this.
Homelessness is the brandished whip for keeping workers in line. Undervalued jobs like frycooking and laundry servicing have a ‘Would you rather be THEM?’ hanging over their heads on the thread of a boss’s whim (literally it’s called at will employment). And everyone on the next tiers up, cubicle, to office, to nicer office, to boardroom gets threatened with being bumped down a rung.
Sucky, but not inaccurate.
So when Amazon tightens the leash on their office staff, the fact that the chain’s yank came after the announcement of a round of layoffs in the several thousands amongst a current climate of other giant companies cutting thousands of livelihoods off like a bad hangnail, wasn’t a surprise.
Amazon’s in the process of ditching some 18,000 positions—that’s eighteen thousand people left SOL because they’re currently “not in heavy people expansion mode [this] year”, according to Andrew Jassy, the CEO.
Some-crazy-how, Amazon of all companies wasn’t making enough money to keep shareholders happy last year, despite raking in revenue in the hundreds of billions of dollars. 514 billions of dollars to be precise. And before we get stuck on revenue versus profit… that number again is $514,000,000,000.
But since stockholders need constant growth constantly, Amazon did a bad, and now people are going to lose their jobs. And that brings me back to the leash tightening.
Starting now, as they’re watching desks empty and stock holders grumble about their hoard, previously remote employees get to drag butt in to the office at least three times per week. This is both during a pandemic which is still not over, and the crushing uncertainty of not knowing whether they’re next.
There are a few takeaways from this.
One: We’ve gotten entirely too comfortable with layoffs not reflecting poorly on uppermost management. Rather than cutting off people like they’re removing a pool table, we need to see people who miscalculate the human factor getting jettisoned themselves.
Two: Stockholders force amoral-at-best companies to be actively evil by pushing for the totally impossible. Constant growth, expansion, and higher profits quarter after quarter forever and ever is not possible. Everyone knows this. And yet, personnel have to suffer for the higher ups’ chasing this mirage of endless increases.
Three: If at any point you found yourself thinking ‘There are worse things than 3 days a week mandated’ or ‘That’s just the way business is’, it means that tier list I mentioned in the opening of this article has you trained as planned.
Chew on those for a bit… but keep in mind it’s easier when you take the collar off.