Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Unfair Tradeoff?

Recently, I met an acquaintance who told me something that gave me pause.

Because the company this person had joined - some 30 years ago - had been bought, sold and merged numerous times with competitors and unrelated multinational conglomerates, the management at the top didn't understand their business. And so placed leaders at the company that lacked vision, direction and a clue.

What had once been a company founded on aggressively creative, superior-quality products for a niche market had abandoned its original mission and now was focused solely on quarterly targets and the requisite cost-cutting. Of course, these cuts were never made in such a way that they could ever have a long-term impact.

This person's coworkers shared the same frustrations. Everyone was stressed-out, dreaded coming to work and felt like they were fighting an uphill battle.

My heart really went out to this person, whose angst made it sound as if a new job would be the only solution. But then I heard something I've heard many times before:

"I'd never leave now; I get six weeks' vacation and I'd never get that anywhere else."

So this smart, funny, creative and hardworking person is trading 46 weeks of misery each year for six weeks of happiness.

Rather than finding a place where 49 or 50 weeks of fulfillment was at least a possibility, the tradeoff was staying put and holding tight onto that paid time off.

No matter how much fun you can jam into those six week of vacation time, it just strikes me as an unfair tradeoff.

I'd rather be reasonably engaged in my work for those 49/50 weeks per year - learning, producing, collaborating, deriving some sense of satisfaction - and look forward to just a couple of weeks of R+R each year to recharge my batteries.

Am I alone in this view? What do you think?

2 comments:

Stephanie said...

No you are not. It is crazy to suffer 46 weeks for the sake of 6. I like my job and my coworkers so I will settle for only two weeks of vacation now because if things go well and the company grows, I will reap the rewards later on and will have been happy in the process!

Spandrel Studios said...

See, that makes perfect sense - have an interesting job at a place you actually enjoy going to every day and with people you like, too... Doesn't seem like too much to ask!

But from many of the people I've spoken to, you're definitely one of the lucky ones to have found that trifecta of satisfaction!