Growing Employee Security in a Booming Economy... Is This the Death of Traditional Workplace Law and Order? by Clay Butler

The booming economy. Low unemployment. Rising stocks. These are the indicators that we have been raised to believe to be the crown jewels of successful capitalism. But this boomtown atmosphere has brought a shift of power from the traditional parent/child power relationship once enjoyed by both employers and employees to the uncertain and confusing employer/employee as equals paradigm.

"When employees no longer fear getting fired because they can easily find another job, employers lose an essential tool in maintaining workplace stability...it's frightening really" says Craig Weiland, CEO of Transtech Systems. "How can employees function at full capacity when they're entertaining fantasies of a better job? How can their co-workers rely on them if they no longer respect the natural order of the workplace environment... this can only hurt workers in the long run."

"At first I started coming in a few minutes late, you know... just to see what would happen," confesses worker Andy Thomas. "Then I started extending my lunch breaks, making personal calls, surfing the Web... you know, typical stuff. Not only did they not care but I got a big raise! Feeling a little cocky one day, I came to work with a cape on...not one of those cheap vinyl ones you buy at Halloween, but a really nice velvet one... black on the outside red on the inside, you know, just like Dracula! Still, no one said anything! I couldn't believe it!" Andy pauses, clears his throat, his voice now somber. "Then came the boots, the fake teeth, the brooding yet sexy persona... hell, I even developed one of those cheesy Transylvania accents!
I was out of control but my boss was to afraid to do anything about it because I could always just quit and get a better job... I had become a freedom junkie of sorts... and I was scared."

Luckily for Andy Thomas, there was help. All-around major cities across the United States support groups are forming to help employees with deal with their new workplace freedom in a productive and safe manner. One such group, Chaos Companions, has done particularly well. "We provide a 'seeing eye' dog of sorts for our qualified members," says President Rebecca Jilts. "Chaos Companions are canines that are specifically trained to guide their 'owners' through the often confusing maze known as 'freewill' or 'choice'."

"I used to masturbate at work...you know, to help me relax " confides Chaos Companion member Freddy Beefhaert, "But now, whenever I'm tempted to engage in self-abuse, which we learn is really employee time-theft, my Chaos Companion gently nudges my hand away…they've saved my life, and more importantly, my work ethic! "

Daniel Westinholff author of the best selling "When You get Older: How Youthful Idealism Hurts Your Bottom Line" and Professor of Capitalistic Determinism at the Department of Economic Darwinism at Harvard. "In industrial times and particularly before the meddling workers rights legislation of the '30s and subsequent rise of the unions, owners would simply call in some Pinkertons to rough up the noncompliant employees. Even today, this is an acceptable and practical approach in the non-unionized blue-collar sector. Unfortunately, with the rise of the intellectual worker class, bosses and owners lacked any historical precedent to deal with stubborn insubordinate employees. This has been futher exasperated by low unemployment rates and a population that mistakenly assumes the First Amendment applies in the workplace. If employers are really worried about their Oracle programmers running amok, perhaps they should hire some ruffians to bitch-slap these unruly employees... after all, their bodies are weak and soft and tend toward bruising easily...plus everyone hates nerds so I doubt their would be much public resistance to such actions."

Of course, not all businesses are distraught over rising employee individualism. One such company, MyRebellion.com, has formed to capitalize on this phenomenon. " What happens is that highly educated professionals, who often come from prestigious Ivy League schools and moneyed families, have little experience in personal self-expression. They come from a world of highly defined expectations and are often tracked from as earliest two years old", explains CEO Jennifer Wilkinson. "So we developed MyRebellion.com, a portal of sorts, a gateway to personal self-expression. Clients login and create a profile of interests and provide some basic demographic information. Our automated software weaves this into a personal page with tips and information on independent living and thinking...we encourage our clients "anarchistic" side while respecting their desire for stability and security...
sort of a planned spontaneity."

This spontaneity appears to be spreading among workers in all skill levels and income brackets. One such company, BigSmallHead.com has been hit especially hard. "Most of the traditional fields like financing, banking, and insurance have seen significant yet manageable levels of employee lifestyle insubordination... but dot com startups like ourselves have been overwhelmed," says CFO Cheryl Wagner. "The public has this perception of dot coms being these hip freewheeling companies...personally, I blame the media for feeding these ridiculous notions."

"Yeah, I suppose it's true," admits Bill Jackson, Human Resources employee for BigSmallHead.com, "I initially did it to get attention... but ever since I started wearing my Viking hat to work, my self-esteem has shot through the roof, I've lost 10 pounds, and my hair stopped thinning. What can I say, the Viking hat makes me feel powerful.... And that feels good."

Bill Jackson is not the only employee at BigSmallHead.com feeling their oats. The situation is especially severe in the Web Design and Branding departments. Alexis Sparrow, Junior Web Designer and member of The Greater Bay Area Wicca Circle Society and bass player for the bicurious girl band TitFuk, brazenly defies convention with white face paint, black lipstick, and assorted beads and feathers. "I feel I have nothing to apologize for, " says Alexis. "When I'm wearing pink ostrich feathers I feel more connected to my spirit animal. These connections nurture my Yang energy and psychic awareness...and that makes me more productive as an employee. In fact when you look at it that way, they should be paying me MORE, as my boss says, ' to dress like some god damn freak' "

Paradoxically, the growing employee rebellion movement is even inspiring members of the managerial class, in fact anyone who isn't the CEO or boss seems to be getting in the game. Chet Bronson, Assistant Manager of Newtech Imagesmiths, reflects on his newfound freedom. "My secretary, who had been dressing up as a vampire for months, convinced me to give in to my desires...so I started dressing like some crazy-ass clown... and now NO ONE fucks with me!"

Why does Chet feel it's necessary to instill fear in his co-workers? "Look I'm assistant manager, that means that I'm responsible for the people below me and I'm accountable to the people above me... basically I'm fucked no matter what I do," Chet relates rather matter-of-factly. "I'll grab any angle that works to my advantage...If that happens to be crazy clown fear, so be it!"

Is this truly the end of traditional workplace law and order as some experts have predicted? "To tell you the truth I'm not that worried," says Craig Weiland, CEO of Transtech Systems. "Sure, workers seem to be getting the upper hand in this booming economy, but this momentum has to end sometime... I tell ya' as soon as unemployment hit 7% again, lookout! Its payback time mother fuckers."

My secratary, who had been dressing up as a vampire for months, convinced me to give in to my desires...so I started dressing like some crazy-ass clown... and now NO ONE fucks with me!"

Chet Bronson
Assistant Manager, Newtech Imagesmiths

I had become a freedom junkie of sorts... and I was scared"

Andy Thomas, Assistant Manager of Suntech, refering to his struggle with vampirism.

Instead of working, Sam Johnson (left) and Daryl Jefferson (right) spend hours watching Scooby-Doo cartoons on DVD.

"...highly educated professionals, who often come from prostigious Ivy League schools ...have little experience in personal self-expression"

Jennifer WilkinsonCEO
Myrebellion.com

...It makes me feel powerful..and that feels good."

Bill Jackson,Human Resources, refering to his Viking outfit

"When I'm wearing pink ostrich feathers I feel more connected to my spirit animal...and that makes me more productive as an employee"

Alexis Sparrow
Web Designer

"Aw shucks, all I ever wanted to
be was a cowboy anyways"

Bobby Venton
Data Entry Temp Worker

See how one company is capitalizing on this trend with their new "Expression Session" headset products reviewed in this issue of Pctyrant.

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