Why The Corporate Culture Is Pushing
People Toward Home-Based Business
Why are more and more professionals quitting
the corporate rat-race?
One answer may have more to do with why
people choose to stay with their jobs in the first place,
according to author and career consultant Brenda Dean Schull.
In a February 2001 article, "Job Burnout
Threatens Retention" (hr.pro2net.com/x28520.xml), for
SmartPros Ltd., Schull cites a 1997 survey, "The National
Study of the Changing Workplace" by the Society for Human
Resource Management. Schull explains that, according to the
survey, employees accept their present jobs for three main
reasons: open communications (65%), opportunities to balance
life (60%), and meaningful work (59%).
Schull quotes Scott Adams, creator of
Dilbert cartoons, as saying corporations discourage
creativity. He and other employees developed their ideas
outside the corporation after work.
“The corporation is designed to eliminate
creativity,” Adams says in the article.
When the corporate environment stops
furnishing an atmosphere of open communications, time for
themselves, work that makes a difference, and creative
instincts, employees begin to want to leave.
In “Can’t Buy You Love,” authors Ray Knight
and Rob Sanders mention factors other than pay as
determining an employee’s desire to leave.
“When people enjoy what they’re doing and
who they’re doing it with, feel wanted and needed in the
group, and believe firmly in what the company stands for,
they’re more willing to be content with their compensation
and far less likely to bolt out the door chasing the first
passing temptation,” Knight and Sanders say.
In other words, when an employee says they
are leaving for more pay or benefits, they more likely are
really saying “The pay I get for this job isn’t worth what I
have to put up with.”
A popular version of this attitude was
glorified in the movie “Nine to Five” and in the song, “Take
this job and shove it!”
Here are some questions you need to ask
yourself when considering whether you're truly happy with
your job. These questions highlight some important points
that should ring alarm bells in your mind, especially if you
answer “No” more than "Yes":
- Do you bounce out of bed every morning
excited to be going to work?
- Do you enjoy dressing in the “accepted”
manner for your job?
- Do you like the morning and evening rush
- Do you like being on a schedule, facing
- Do you like being told when to report to
work and when you can go home?
- Do you like being told when you can take
your vacation, and how long you can stay?
- Do like your boss?
- Do you like your co-workers?
- Do you enjoy safety meetings, where you
are told about the hazards of your job?
- Do you wish you could spend more time on
- Do you have no quilt feelings when you
ask for personal time off?
- Are you being paid what you are worth?
- Do you have no worries about your company
- Do you have no worries about your
company’s work force being reduced?
- Do you have no worries about your job
- Do you enjoy office gossip?
- Do you enjoy office politics?
- Do you enjoy your performance rating
- Do you enjoy asking for raises?
- Do you enjoy having your e-mail looked at
- Do you enjoy being told what to do by
others, with your suggestions rarely recognized?
- Do you enjoy having to justify everything
- Do you enjoy “constructive” criticism?
- Do you enjoy required attendance at
company parties, dinners, etc.?
- Do you enjoy being solicited for
charities by company personnel?
- Do you think you will be promoted to the
top of your company management?
- Do you think you will get any promotions?
- Do you look forward to doing what you are
doing for the next 40 years?
- Is your company going to provide enough
money for you to live as you would like when you retire?
- Are you sure your company is going to
allow you to work until you are eligible for retirement?
- Are you happy with everything in the
company policy manual?
- Are you sure your company will continue
medical insurance for you when you retire?
- Are you happy that many of the “perks”
you used to have are now reduced or eliminated?
- Are you happy that your productivity is
being constantly measured?
- Are you happy with your office or work
- Do you enjoy being constantly recorded in
the surveillance cameras?
- Do you enjoy having to submit a pass to
get to work?
- Do you feel safe from physical harm at
- Does work give enough flexibility to take
care of your family?
- Are you able to spend as much time as you
want with your children and family?
- Are you happy that your use of the
telephone is restricted?
- Does your company understand when you are
sick and can’t work?
- Does your company have a good pay
schedule for bad weather days?
- If you don’t feel safe getting to work in
bad weather, is it O.K. with management?
- Do you like your scheduled work hours?
(Note: I would really like to hear from you
if you answered "Yes" to 50% or more of these 45 questions.
Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.)
If you answered half of these questions or
more with a “Yes,” you probably should continue in your job.
But watch your back. Take this little survey every six
months because nothing remains the same!
For the rest of you, you should probably
consider starting a home-based business on the side
part-time while you continue working. Your business may save
your financial life (and your sanity) in a few years.
The function of human resources (personnel)
departments in all organizations is to maximize the value of
a company’s human assets. Each employee has a cost, and
eventually they become of some economic value just like a
computer or production machine.
To accomplish its objectives for the
company, the HR department performs the following functions:
1. Provides a steady stream of qualified
workers so the organization can operate profitably.
2. Establishes written company policies so
the organization can defend itself from employee lawsuits.
3. Trains employees to perform those
functions required by the organization.
4. Determines pay scales that will attract
the best people at the lowest possible cost.
5. Determines raise criteria to retain as
many people as possible with lowest cost.
6. Provides benefits that will satisfy most
employees at the least cost and inconvenience to the
7. Determines performance rating procedures
that will keep maximum pressure on employees to produce but
will not push most of them to quit.
8. Puts in place ways to continuously
monitor actions and production of every employee.
9. Establishes ways to avoid age and health
discrimination lawsuits but still allow the organization to
terminate workers who know too much, are paid too much, have
too many (costly) accumulated fringe benefits, or pose a
potential large health insurance cost to the organization
because of their age.
10. Promotes training, at company expense,
that will qualify employees to do more jobs. In times of
high unemployment, this tactic usually results in an
employee working much harder for no additional pay. In times
of low unemployment, it results in employees working harder
with little extra pay.
These ideas are unpleasant to discuss, but
that’s what HR does. Their mission is to increase the
economic value of the work force.
For many workers this kind of corporate
action becomes repulsive and unbearable. They then begin to
try and find ways out.
Bear with me as I paint a picture of the way
corporations use psychological manipulation to create a
pliable and cooperative workforce.
In an effort to create a positive
organizational culture, executives must pull together
threads of knowledge from diverse areas. No one model works
in all situations. That means carefully examining
incentives—whether rooted in money, pride, position,
recognition, or responsibility—to align individuals with
In his book “The Other 80 Percent:
Increasing Workforce Productivity,” Thomas Kraack asserts
that 80% of the productivity in a workforce comes from 20%
of employees (the Pareto Principle). Quality expert Joseph
Juran calls this the “separation of the vital few from the
trivial many.” It’s also known as the “80-20 rule”: 80% of
your productivity comes from 20% of your workforce.
Who does an employer turn to when the chips
are down? To that same 20%. Over and over again. An issue
for management and HR departments is how to make the other
80% more productive? Kraack says there are five levers for
increasing ability, motivation, and behaviors which—if
pulled at the right time—will produce more results.
1. The first lever is to develop a strong
team orientation. Stephen Covey, author of "Seven Habits Of
Highly Effective People," maintains that a mediocre team
with a high amount of synergy will always win over a team of
star individuals who don’t work well together.
2. The second lever is to look at the
alignment of roles and performance objectives as a balance
to the first lever. Striking the right balance between
individual responsibilities and team objectives empowers
people in a goal-oriented manner.
3. To direct this sense further, Kraack
suggests that the employer or manager should set clearer
performance goals and manage toward them. Finding the right
"stretch" goals for individuals is critical to making them
believe they can achieve more than they think is possible.
4. Managing turnover properly is the fourth
lever, whether that may be through matching people with the
right positions or transferring people out of the
organization with dignity.
5. Finally Kraack says that focusing on the
training structures that will change behaviors will allow
employees to experience new behaviors first hand.
Note that all these ideas are directed
toward influencing or changing behavior in employees.
Nothing is mentioned about behavior changes for managers and
employers. Do we all want to be brainwashed by a
What's more, Morten T. Hansen and Michael S.
Deimler discuss B2E (business communicating to its
employees) management and draw the conclusion that there are
three components in a comprehensive B2E program: online
business processes, online people management, and online
services to the company community. The mode of delivery is
the integrated enterprise portal.
This all sounds fine. It is convenient for
employees and lets management present ideas with less cost.
The problem is there is no human interface. How is a better
employee relationship to the company fostered by having to
deal almost exclusively with a “non person” in the form of a
In a February 2002 article "Tuning In To
Next-Gen Employees" for Optimize Magazine (www.optimizemag.com),
president and co-founder of the Families and Work Institute
Ellen Galinsky discusses issues affecting future young
employees. These same priorities exist to some extent in
every employee no matter their age.
Galinsky says that according to a 2001
survey conducted by the Families and Work Institute, 80% of
young students listed four requirements of a satisfactory
1. Having a job that is meaningful to me.
2. Having a secure job that I don’t have to
worry about losing.
3. Having work that allows me personal or
4. Having a job with good benefits like
Chances of achieving just one of these
requirements in a job are very slim in today’s economic
atmosphere. Even if employment becomes very strong,
employers will be unable to meet these expectations because
of financial and economic pressures. Besides, employer
self-interest will always be superior to the interests of
Some say that the fourth requirement listed
above is assured by The Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993
www.dol.gov/esa/regs/statutes/whd/fmla.htm. It really sounds
good; why should an employer object?
An employer can’t say no. Even though an
employee is not paid, he or she can be gone for up to 12
weeks. Someone will have to cover for them. Their health
insurance also continues, so the company is experiencing a
significant cost with no return.
Though unable to oppose a request, the
management will surely remember who took advantage of this.
If something happens and the employee decides to sue, there
is almost no way an illegal act could be proved. And who
would bear the cost in an unsuccessful action?
Employer reaction to a Family Leave request
will be similar to how they react if an employee asks for
time off to participate in a family affair or child’s
sporting event. Permission may be grudgingly granted, but
the employee will always feel guilty and worry about their
job in case of a layoff.
These young people would do well to start
their own home-based business right now so they can learn
how to succeed on their own. By working for themselves, they
will be able to have everything they cannot have in the
The Optimize Magazine article mentions
something else foremost in everyone’s mind: personal
security after events of 9/11.
“If workers are going to leave the people
they care about, travel across bridges and through tunnels,
and brave subways and airplanes, they want the work they do
to make a difference,” Galinsky says in her article.
Safety of one’s self and one’s family is a
great reason for working at home.
Here are some signs that it's time to update
your resumé. All but the last could indicate your job is not
secure, according to author William Morin:
- Your work is constantly criticized.
- You are constantly ignored—your input is
- You don't like your job and usually hate
going to work.
- You haven't received a raise in the past
two years, or you did get a bump, but it was less than the
3- to 5% national range.
- You've been in the same job or at the
same level for five years or longer.
- You have a killer commute.
In Laura Boswell’s article, “Bad Corporate
Culture,” Brian Lange of Perim Consulting is quoted as
saying, “Life is too short, and work is too time-consuming
to accept being anything less than satisfied with our work
environments. We carry home too much baggage from
unsatisfying work, and it is not fair to ourselves or our
Is there any wonder why people leave this
kind of work environment at every opportunity?
Start working for yourself right now!
Boswell, Laura. “Bad Corporate Culture.”
DebtFreeBenefits.com Website: www.debtfreebenefits.com/ACCESS/Earnings/Article32.08.html.
Galinsky, Ellen. "Tuning In To Next-Gen
Employees." Optimize Magazine, February, 2002:
Hansen, Morten T. and Michael S. Deimler.
“Cutting Costs While Improving Morale With B2E Management.”
ManyWorlds.com Website: www.manyworlds.com/, September 15,
Knight, Ray, and Rob Sanders. "Can't Buy You
Love." Casino Executive, June, 1999: www.knightwriter.com/wkce9906.htm.
Kraack, Thomas. “The Other 80 Percent:
Increasing Workforce Productivity.” ManyWorlds.com Website:
www.manyworlds.com/, May 9, 2003.
Morin, William. Total Career Fitness: A
Complete Checkup and Workout Guide, Jossey-Bass/Pfeiffer,
© Yank Elliott. All rights reserved
Article by Yank Elliott, a home-based
entrepreneur and freelance business writer in Belhaven,
North Carolina, USA. His Website is www.furriwhalesworld.com.
He is currently a staff writer for IAHBE. Contact Yank at