Arminzerella's Reviews > Why Work Sucks and How to Fix It: No Schedules, No Meetings, No Joke--the Simple Change That Can Make Your Job Terrific

Why Work Sucks and How to Fix It by Cali Ressler
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bookshelves: nonfiction, work, borrowed-from-the-library

** spoiler alert ** Cali Ressler and Jody Thompson worked for Best Buy, where they really shook things up in their corporate business environment. They had this radical idea that people should be able to own their own time, instead of being mandated to work a certain number of hours in an office/tied to a desk. It’s summed up well in the epilogue (so if you read nothing else, you can just read that and feel completely justified about your work angst):

“You have the right to control your time. You have the right to eat when you’re hungry and sleep when you’re tired. It’s that simple. Yes, your company is providing you with a paycheck and possibly other benefits. Yes, they are giving you a job, and, in some cases, a career. For that you absolutely, positively owe them hard work, focus, and dedication. More important, you owe them real, measurable results. But if you’re delivering those results, your company is benefiting, then there is no reason why they should have the right to make you sit in a cubicle from eight to five. You owe them your work; you do not owe them your time. You do not owe them your life.” (p. 178)

Basically, the suggest that if you’re able to get your job done and meet deadlines and keep your customers happy, then it shouldn’t matter when, where, or how you get that work done. So, no more 40 hour work weeks, no more mandatory meetings, no more having to be at the office for a certain number of hours a day every week, and no more judging other people’s work habits (sludge). If you’re a morning person, work in the morning; if you’re a night owl, then work at night. No more vacation time, no more sick time, no more making up excuses to legitimize your use of time. You either do your job or you don’t. They call this new way of working a ROWE, or a results-oriented-work-environment. As long as your work gets done, then they way you do it isn’t an issue.

I have complained countless times about how I feel treated like a child, or as though my workplace doesn’t trust me to do my job – because of all of the reporting I have to do, and the hours I have to log, and the unnecessary work I have to do to show that I am, in fact, doing my job (it’d take me a lot less time to just do my job if I didn’t have to worry about showing people – my supervisors – what exactly I’m doing and how much time I’m spending doing it). Plus, being told that I’m not supposed to do certain things during work time, is insulting and irritating, because it’s not like I don’t do things for work on my own time. Can I count all of the time I spend away from work thinking about work as time that I’ve “put in” at the office? Because that’s what it amounts to. I check my work email from home because there are things that I have to take care of, I read things for work on my own time constantly, and if I happen to see something while I'm out doing other stuff that I think I (or others) can use to do our jobs better, I bring it back to the workplace. It's not like I can just ignore these things because they don't fit into my prescribed work day. Organizing my life into cauterized bits of time that I own and time that I don’t doesn’t work well for me, and I’m imagining (especially after reading this book) that it doesn’t work particularly well for other people.

I’m really wary of the kind of management/business books that come up with a bunch of buzzwords and acronyms and purport to be the next big thing in how we do business, but I think that something like this would appeal to a lot of people. They could have lives where their work and their personal lives could peacefully coexist, where they didn’t have to give up one or the other in order to feel fulfilled. There was some repetition and (I felt) unnecessarily lengthy explication of “sludge,” but on the whole, this left me with a very positive view of ROWE in general and even Best Buy (never thought I’d say that). I’m not sure how well it would work in non-corporate environments – like, say a library, or in retail, where you kind of need staff to be reliably available to help people. But, perhaps there are changes to the workplace environment that I just haven’t yet envisioned. I’d certainly like the ability to break up my days differently and do my work differently. I’ve been telling everyone I know about this book (and recommending it – even if you only skim bits), because I really want this sort of thing to catch on. I’d like to work in a ROWE. I think it would make a really big difference in the way that I feel about my job.

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Reading Progress

Started Reading
December 1, 2008 – Finished Reading
December 21, 2008 – Shelved
December 21, 2008 – Shelved as: nonfiction
December 22, 2008 – Shelved as: work
October 27, 2011 – Shelved as: borrowed-from-the-library

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