The man gets out of bed in the morning, gets into the shower, gets dressed, grabs breakfast, and gets himself to work. On the way, he wakes up from his sleep and realizes that he was operating on auto-pilot for the first hour in his day which makes him chuckle. He hates his morning routine and wishes sometimes that he didn’t have to get home every night. He would never operate without his senses at work, he doesn’t want to! A big grin spreads across his face as he looks forward to getting into the office and grabbing these never-ending problems by the horns! He recalls the difficult decisions he has to make and his heart skips a beat, excitement rushes through his veins as he accelerates the car trying to get to work faster.
Are you cringing yet? Sounds very suspicious to normal people and you know why? Because no such job exists!
HR professionals and psychologists have been working on trying to make jobs more interesting and enriching but are still facing issues with the human psyche. Motivation theories and job specifications are constantly changing and turning into market trends which still flop. Dealing with (Baby boomers, Generation X, and Generation Y employees in the workforce) forces us to mix and match them around, imagining boundaries that actually don’t exist and forecasting problems before they happen just to give ourselves something to do. And in the end, studying the overall organizational behavior in midst of globalization and the employees’ cultural background just forces us to lose sleep… And what for? To be able to run our organizations better.
Are we overthinking?
When I had to finish my two month internship for my degree, it was a well known fact that training in a governmental ministry is the best option for us. Now why is that? Well, it’s less work, a secure job, and good pension. You can’t get fired from a governmental job and you don’t really have to do much anyway. It’s not like you’re expected to.
Very interesting, I thought.
Well, my internship was in a private stocks/bonds company and I later chose to deny their employment offer and work in a family business (for that story, click on best decision ever). I had to deal with governmental agencies to get many papers done and, with time, I realized that employees in governmental agencies were slacking off.
It was a shock to my naivety.
Yes, it’s a generalization to say that governmental employees would get to work, have breakfast (in one office thereby leaving their offices), they would chatter about last night’s episodes and anything else worth talking about such as the stock of new clothes one of them got from Thailand and has to market, burn some incense, complain about their colleague who took a sick day off for the fifth time this week, then get a few papers done, go for prayers, have a tea break in one of the offices (thereby leaving their offices again ignoring all frustrated visitors and callers who have been calling all day), get back to their offices, act busy while calling their friends from the office phone, and finally getting ready to go. Yes, I believe that many private sector employees sees this is how a government employee spends his day.
Now I am an optimist and there happened to be some changes back in the early 2000s which segregated some functions which were under ministries to new governmental agencies; these were focused on specific tasks such as the labor market regulatory agency (LMRA), and the national health regulatory agency (NHRA). They were new, fresh, and had websites which actually worked and call centers which answered your calls! There is always light in the end of the tunnel.
Fast forward to Tuesday January 26, 2016. Our company needs to get the approval from the NHRA to enter some stocks into the country. Although the rules are new so we have to explain to our suppliers why and since when we needed quality assurance papers, we still try to be good citizens and just get the paperwork done. So by 9:30 we reach the NHRA offices with fear and terror in our eyes, praying that we forgot nothing.
We are greeted (by greeted I mean looked at as a living creature) by the receptionist who receives the paperwork without as much as a smile. Maybe it’s Botox. She requests samples of the products which we don’t have. We apologize for wasting her highness’s time and run away to a distant location to call the office and ask them to arrange the samples NOW! We wait, seeing people come and go: some are disappointed, others are more disappointed, only one gets through. We sigh wondering if we could be so lucky.
We receive the samples and get back to the receptionist who has a problem with smiling. We approach carefully, treading lightly and hoping. We give her the samples. It’s 10:40, she says,’come back tomorrow we cannot give you the stamp of approval today.’
‘Why?’ I ask, forgetting where I am. She looks at me like I was Oliver Twist asking for more food.
‘We only stamp from 9:00 to 10:30.’
Do you, my dear reader, understand what I am saying? They only stamp from 9:00- 10:30 am. The rest of the day there is no stamping done. None whatsoever. Maybe they staple for the next 1 1/2 hours, then next they hole punch. So what really happens to the stamp? Does it get tired? Is that why there is no more stamping after 10:30? Is it religious or can I question it?
Based on the stamping rule and the stamping rule only, we need to go back tomorrow and hope it’s within the stamping time.
Jumping through hoops for no reason whatsoever for an approval stamp. Do the HR know what they’re doing and is it specified in the job description? Are we in the private sectors really overthinking our job?
Human Resources, you’re doing it wrong. Stamping, you’re doing it right.