I’ve been reading a book called Practically Perfect in Every Way by Jennifer Niesslen. Niesslen spent 2 years testing how much she could change by reading self-help books and following online programs.
You can read more about the book and see my review
here at the amazon website.
What bothered me most were the parts of her life we got to see in between the self-help progress reports. Jennifer works at home as a freelance writer (giving her opportunities to experiment) while her husband Brandon works for an unnamed large pharmaceutical firm.
One day, Brandon’s company refuses to close early for an ice storm. Brandon’s colleague gets told, “If you leave early, you’ll be charged a vacation day.” So the colleague stays. Brandon carpools. He rode with the colleague. So he stays too, while Jennifer worries all afternoon.
These situations are tricky. But why didn’t the colleague say, “OK, so I lose a vacation day?” Or, “I’ll reimburse the company for my time. My life is worth more than a few hundred bucks.”
I would not be surprised if the company conveniently forgot to deduct the vacation day to avoid negative PR. I would not even be surprised if someone sent a few anonymous tips to the local newspaper: “Bad company docks pay of workers who leave during ice storm…”
Even if you lose a day’s pay, you send a message to the company. According to Niesslein, this company makes the “100 best companies to work for” lists. There’s probably some pride at stake.
OK, I’m out of corporate life and always was a maverick. I would have walked. Once I was supposed to start a new job in January, following a long drive through upstate New York. I told the company point blank, “If there’s a blizzard, I will be late.” No blizzard, but nothing happened. I took this option for granted and I suspect my attitude was contagious.
Since then I’ve met people who battled blizzards and worse for their companies. I don’t know who’s right.