October 29, 2004

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Marx at work

Many believe Communism is close to dead. North Korea and Cuba, the last two hold-outs, are both basket cases. Otherwise the ideology has been superceded, even in China. Except for one place, close to the heart of even the biggest capitalist multinational.

We here at the Traktor factory put up with a lot. We are rapidly approaching one of the worst times of the year: the appraisal process. In the very best touchy-feely HR way, this requires employees to sit down with their bosses and fill in boxes on a form that will be filed away and never looked at again. Words such as "objective", "team", "potential", "diversity", "accomplishments" and "development" are bandied about. Bewildered employees and their put-upon bosses go through the motions because hell hath no fury than an HR staffer scorned. Employees fill out a self-appraisal form and then sit down with the boss to discuss both that and the boss's view of the employee. Once each employee's many shortcomings and few achievements are duly recorded, with immeasurable objectives set in ink, it is time to turn the tables. The employee, in a "360 degree review process", gets to evaluate a boss. While ever assurance is given that this is open and their are no repurcussions the reality is you work with your boss every day (and let's note it here that mine is great and really is a role model) whereas some HR flunky will see your form as a chore to be entered into a database so management can have a report on the what employees think: all 300,000 of us.

There has only ever been one similar ideology in history: Marxist criticism and self-criticism. Forget about Reds under the bed. They're all alive and well in your Human Resources department. Think about that next time the company launches a "cultural revolution" or "5 year plan".

The Commies won after all. Who knew?

posted by Simon on 10.29.04 at 05:24 PM in the


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Best of Me Symphony 57
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Hah, I oughta run that by the Trotskyites at the university I slum at from time to time. Bet I could trigger a couple party splits and purges by comparing their methods to dirty, dirty capitalists!

(Me? Wave the black flag and pie the prez, and the Party can get stuffed. Hey, think I can get permabanned from China for merely posting something along those lines?)

posted by: Mark Bialkowski on 10.30.04 at 12:52 PM [permalink]

Very very Very funny and very correct.

But you mean 180 degrees turn. 360 is a full circle. It ends where it starts.


posted by: yan on 10.31.04 at 03:00 AM [permalink]

Yup, large corporations are the last refuge of the command economy.

posted by: Pixy Misa on 10.31.04 at 04:33 PM [permalink]

Yan, that's what they call it. It's part of the terminology mumbo-jumbo that goes with the process.

posted by: Simon on 11.01.04 at 09:39 AM [permalink]

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