Frightfully Funny Halloween for Workers Everyday
Before the memory of most workers, Halloween was scary. Ghouls and goblins, miscreants and reprobates — that sort of thing. Then, as life became easier, things changed. Halloween turned toward fun and frivolity, winding up as a widely celebrated costume party.
Halloween lite infected the workplace, too, not so much with canned costumes as with altered culture on a daily basis. Where work had been, well, work, and bosses had often been monsters, whitewash was applied to hide the ugly truth. Somewhere, a ditzy personnel demon turned human resources professional decided on a funny mask to cover the snarl beneath, and the modern workplace acquired a characteristic that haunts it to this very day.
Taking a stab at gory generalization, it’s clear that management sought to distract workers with cheap gestures, meaningless compliments and empty promises. In his 1991 book, Rivethead, Ben Hamper says that General Motors once dressed someone in a tiger costume and had them wave at workers on the assembly line. As if that was going to benefit someone, improve something? As if workers would respond with appreciation instead of the derision?
Transfer that misbegotten spirit to shop floors and offices throughout the country and you have a pandemic of smiling deceit. It’s what the owners and top managers want. Apparently, it makes them feel good to grin while turning the blade as they surely do, back to front and front to back, all the way through.
Despite the pretense that nice rules, workers are well acquainted with the threatening visage beneath. You can’t say we’ve come full circle when the horror never stopped. It’s just that the drool of poisonous selfishness has become a steady stream and can no longer be denied. It has assumed too many forms to list, from low pay to excessive expectations, with the irony that some are forced to work extreme hours while many do without entirely, as life is sucked out of everyone.
The vampire yet lives even as the remedy is at hand, unused. The most poignant irony is that terrifying villains are destroying themselves even as they torture victims, and both could be saved quite simply. Salvation for all comes through participation by all. But where this solution is denied, workers must be prepared to take up organization and drive it through the heart of greed.
Copyright © 2015 by Michael Driver