The Causey Consulting Podcast

Bonus Episode: Is Your Office a Second High School?

April 03, 2023
The Causey Consulting Podcast
Bonus Episode: Is Your Office a Second High School?
Show Notes Transcript

I recently watched "WORKPLACE LOYALTY IS DEAD - 10 REASONS I'LL NEVER WORK ANOTHER 9-5 JOB" and one of the comments the author makes is that the modern office is like a high school. I won't bury my thesis: I agree.

Key topics:

✔️ Why have offices become this way? Why do they so often feel like introvert hell?
✔️"Karens & Darrens" in the customer base. Backstabby colleagues. Authoritarian bosses.
✔️Your metrics can be outstanding but if you're not "one of us," that often does not matter.


The story of Bob:

Links where I can be found:

Need more? Email me:


Welcome to the Causey Consulting Podcast. You can find us online anytime at And now, here's your host Sara Causey. Hello, Hello, and thanks for tuning in. In today's episode I want to talk about a video I saw recently on YouTube titled workplace loyalty is dead 10 reasons I'll never work another nine to five job. And it was released by Amber Stork, aka the prepper princess. Full disclosure full disclaimer here. I don't know this person, I have not watched every video, I have not read every social media post or publication that this woman has ever written in her whole entire life. I don't know her personally. And it's sad that we have to make these disclaimers nowadays, but without a doubt somebody will go back and say five years ago, she said something that I disagree with. And I want to have a big mad about it. Well, I don't know everything that she's ever communicated. And this is not an endorsement from me to anybody else or anybody else's channel as a staffing and recruiting SME and someone who's an expert in the job market, I saw this and I immediately was curious about what reasons she had to offer up, whether I would agree with them whether I had experienced them myself, etc. So this is just me talking about the 10 reasons that she gives nothing more and nothing less. The number one reason on her list is the way that employees are treated by customers. And the loss of dignity that they experience dealing with people like Karen's and barons, looking to get them in trouble looking to make a stink, acting horrible everything is I want to see the manager, I want to go over your head, I'm gonna get you fired. I thought back to my early days in staffing, I mean very early on one of the first big direct hire deals that I ever worked on. As there's there's just certain things in the work world you don't forget. There was a guy that I was working with who his wife had gotten a job here in the Midwest, and they needed to relocate from Georgia. She already had the job secured, had a start date. And so the onus was on him to find something quickly, so that he could move up here with her and be with her. And I had gotten my foot in the door at a company that we had not worked with before. And everything was clear, I told them exactly what this man wanted, in order to start a job in this part of the Midwest. And they at least superficially agreed everything seemed to be just fine. They interviewed him, made him an offer. And it was horrible. It was $20,000 Under what he said that he needed. And when I called the manager up on the phone, his attitude was, well, this is what we feel like we want to pay. He wants to get up here, doesn't he? He's motivated to come up here, right. So he should take it, you know, not that was the attitude. And there was nothing that I could do to get them to raise their offer. And I just remember being shocked that a company could waste my time and the candidates time to that degree and then just not care just completely not care. And I went to a colleague who had more years in the industry. And I said I don't I don't get this. And I know that I need to have some kind of confrontation with the client beyond what I already have. I feel like he needs to really understand that he has wasted this candidate's time this candidate flew up here in earnest to interview for this job was very clear every step of the way about what he wanted salary wise. And then now he's being lowball. I've spent all this time trying to broker this deal. And it's wasted my time too. I could have been looking for something else for this candidate instead, like, wow. And so he let me vent for a few minutes. And he said, so I'm going to stop you right there. Because your time doesn't matter to the client, if you want to guilt trip them about wasting the candidates time. And what you just said about the candidate flying up here in earnest and being serious about this, that's all very good. Because yeah, the client absolutely did waste the candidates time and they're playing dirty pool, but your time doesn't matter. And I'm like, Well, wait a minute, why? Why does my time not matter? And he's like it doesn't. The way they look at it is this is just part of your job. Part of the chance that you take when you're in third party staffing that some of the deals will come together and some of them won't. But if you try to guilt trip them about wasting your time as a recruiter. He's not going to give a damn about that. I just remembered thinking like, wow, okay. So often it's like you're made to feel like the lowest of the low, you're just a snake crawling along in the grass, scraping your belly across every rock and every stick that you come across. So when Amber uses the loss of dignity, the term the loss of dignity that comes along with that, for me, it's not just about Karen's and barons, and like overtly annoying people. I want to talk to your manager, I'm gonna have your doubts. Yeah, those people are super annoying, without a doubt, but they're very clearly annoying. They're clearly obnoxious. Sometimes in white collar professional work, we encounter snakes in the grass that are in some ways, they're more diabolical because you don't see the knife coming, they'll stab you in the back, they will waste your time. They'll make you feel about two inches tall. But you don't see it coming the way that you do with a Karen or a Darrin standing there at the counter going NYC and manicure. Before I move on to her next point, something else she brings up that I thought was pretty interesting is the notion of what percentage of the current population could be classified as either a psychopath or a sociopath. And if you assume that maybe six out of 100 people that you're helping fall into that category of psychopath or sociopath, and they not only not care about you, but they seem to take some kind of sadistic pleasure in ruining your day. Some kind of sadistic pleasure in getting you in trouble on the job. That's a lot to digest. Reason number two for her is the way that employees are treated by management. Yes. And let the church say amen, and hallelujah. Hmm. And she goes on to talk more specifically about managers who treat employees like children. And one of the things that really resonated for me in this video is the comparison of the modern day office to a high school. I'll get to that a little later on. But it's funny because the other day I was talking to a prospective new client. He has a background in staffing. And he fortunately, I mean, he got out of the belly of that beast before I did. But we were talking about the problems that are endemic, in our opinion. Okay, that's all that's all this is opinion, the problems that are endemic to that entire industry. And he said, ultimately, do you feel like you left because of bosses from hell? Because that was definitely the driving factor for me. And I laughed, and I said, Oh, it's almost like, where do I begin? Like, let me count the ways. Let me count the ways. But the cliche about people not necessarily leaving jobs, but leaving managers is often true. An awesome manager who treat you with dignity and respect, who is inclusive, and tries to meet you where you are, that can make an otherwise boring, or flat out bad job really great. But see, the opposite is true, too. You can be in a company that you respect, you can be doing a job where the duties are not off putting to you at all. But if you have a boss from hell, a micromanager, a tyrant, an abuser, a psychopath or sociopath that can make your life a living hell. Out of the 1000s 10s of 1000s, if not hundreds of 1000s of people that I have interviewed over the years, I have never not a single time met. Anyone who said you know, what I really am looking for in a manager is a micromanager and want to work for a tyrant and authoritarian. I want somebody that's going to stand right on top of me and tell me what to do and nitpick if I go out on my own and I try something new. I want to be absolutely nitpicked to death. No, not ever have I met somebody who wanted that yet. It's amazing how many people like that make it into management and then they just stay there. They kiss the right behind or they're related to upper management or related to ownership or something that I have encountered in my career, someone who is really awful, privately, publicly, they have a great facade. They pretend to be wonderful and sweet and kind and caring, but then you see a complete other side. A one eyed Jack. You may be a one eyed Jack around here, dad, but I've seen the other side of your face. Oh, I've had that experience. And the thing of it is other people who have owned We've seen the nicey nicey sign, they've never seen the nasty, nasty sign. They'll argue with you. And they'll try to gaslight you that you're crazy. But you know what you've seen. And then one day when the mask slips off in front of someone else, they'll finally come to you and say, I didn't believe it before. But after this person treated me like absolute gutter trash. Now I know what you were trying to warn everybody about. Sad but true. As far as treating people like children, that happens frequently. And we tend to see that I think from the micromanager types, I want to stand right here on top of you, monitor you like you're a five year old in kindergarten, or maybe more like a two or three year old toddler, which is super insulting when you are a grown adult. Number three on her list is Office company culture and backstabbing. Know when the person asked me about the reasons why I left, this was something else that popped into my mind. It's not just about management. Sometimes it's also about the colleagues that you're tossed into an open air environment with, you have no privacy. So if you need to take medicine of some kind, or if Aunt Flo is in town, and you need to take a feminine product to the restroom, there's no privacy. You feel like your your business is on display for everybody in the workplace. And I don't feel comfortable with that. That is definitely another thing I put on my list of crap, I don't miss now that I'm self employed and working from home. I don't miss the long commute. I don't miss being stuck in traffic. I don't miss being away from my animals, and my property all day long, having no clue what's going on all day, being worried if an animal has a baby or became injured, and I wasn't here to do anything to help them. But I also don't miss that feeling of just being on display all day long. Then, of course, you have the backstabbers people who will throw you under the bus for a nickel or people who will try to go behind your back and poach some account. Maybe you've been working and working and working on a hiring manager to finally bring them into the company and get them to sign an agreement. And then your coworker goes in when the deal is like 90% done, tries to claim some kind of credit and then get extra money for it. And it's like, no, what did you contribute to any of this? You just showed up at the very end with your handout. But I saw that scenario happen and happen and happen. And it's not like Well, that was at one company or that was at one particular chain or it was one particular location. I go back to the conversation that I had with that prospective new client. It's endemic to the industry. In our opinion, there were just certain things that we saw repetitively that drove us away. It's in this part of the video that Amber talks a bit more about modern day offices becoming like a high school, people going to tattle on you. People watching everything that you do, trying to get you fired, trying to get you griped out, like, yes, yes. I think that that analogy is pretty good. It's like, Why? Why do modern offices have to function like another component of high school? A reboot of high school high school for adults? Why does it have to be introvert hell, we have no privacy. You feel like you're being surveilled all the time? Well, you are being surveilled all the time. I've talked about this in one of my recent blog posts. When you go back to the office, it's not like okay, well, we'll surveil you while you're at home. And we'll make you be on a degrading webcam the whole time you're working if you want to stay at the house. But see, if you come on back to the office you don't have to put up without. The thing is the cameras are just better hidden. And I have seen some tricks over the years, cameras hidden and smoke detectors and the ceiling tiles, little tiny cameras that could go into like a window blind. So there are cameras and instruments of surveillance all over the office. But that's the thing in order to keep the pageantry in order to keep you in more of that pan Opticon environment where at any point in time you could be surveilled or you are being surveilled. But you don't necessarily know it for sure and you don't see it. It helps to create that police state so that you police yourself and you toe the line. And I'll editorialize a bit further here. I think that education in America is set up to produce corporate drones. You're not really encouraged to be a true nonconformist to really think for yourself to question authority. So if we imagine the modern day workplace as high school, part two, it makes sense on that level, we'll send you to high school and then to college or to some kind of vO tech, and get you trained up to be a good corporate drone, so that when you show up to be a corporate drone, it's kind of just like high school all over again. Number four on her list is vacation or paid time off policies, how little PTO that you actually get. And then when you request it and try to use it, you have to jump through 100 Poodle hoops just to get a day off. And if you want to have more extended time off, maybe to take a honeymoon after you get married or to go overseas and have a dream vacation, you're probably just going to be out of luck. Number five on her list is working nights, weekends, holidays, and mandatory overtime. For some people in a more corporate setting that may or may not happen, especially if we're talking about you're expected to be in the office on Christmas Day, or you're expected to be in the office on Thanksgiving Day. In a lot of white collar office environments, that's probably not going to be an expectation. But when we talk about working overtime, especially for a salaried worker, it would be unpaid overtime, being available nights and weekends. Absolutely. And I feel like I want to be careful how I say this. But I feel like a dark side of remote work and the pandemic, not not remote work itself. But the way that corporate America has manipulated and used remote work and work from anywhere, is that there's an expectation. Now, when you've got all these devices, you have everything in your home office. I mean, if I want to call you Saturday afternoon at three o'clock, I should be able to do that and get an answer. If I want to email you 8pm on Sunday night, I should be able to do that and get an answer. If I want you to ignore your child's piano recital at 6:30pm on a Tuesday, and you respond to me instead through the company Slack channel. Like I should get a response. Unfortunately, that has spread. And it's not the fault of remote work. It's the fault of the way that corporate America manipulates things and can turn basically anything to the dark side. And she talks about working in retail and being expected to be there on Black Friday. Like if you're not on site, Black Friday, you're automatically fired and how that has actually bled into Thursday, Thanksgiving Day. I think some of that may have stopped to a degree during the pandemic because of the lock downs and the shutdowns. And I think some companies have said, I you know, I'm like I'm clearing it up. I mean, they've said that they're going to stay closed on Thanksgiving from here on out, I hope so. One of the things that she points out in this video is customers that would say, man, it's really messed up that you have to work on Thanksgiving, or it's really messed up, you have to be here on Black Friday, and you can't be with your family. And she would stand there and think but you're the reason why I'm here. If people would quit shopping on those days and stay at home, then maybe retail workers wouldn't have to be there marking so totally see that. And the comments that she makes in this video are spot on if you have worked with the public, which if you go to a third party, contingency based staffing agency, you're gonna you're gonna have random logins, you're gonna have random people that call and you don't have any control over who walks in that door and what they expect of you. You get lied to all the time. I man I remember feeling so much like Dr. House is you know, his shtick in that show was everybody lies, it doesn't matter what the person says run the test anyway and verify because everybody lies and you start to feel that way. When you work with the public. I remember a contractor that we had out on an assignment and she killed off the same grandmother, Grandma, grandma Betsy died four times. On this one assignment, same grandma died four separate people would lie about anything and everything. And you're in the situation where you can't say anything. You can't say well, like haven't. Haven't you killed grandma Betsy, three times before this. How is this even happening? It's even still possible. But you can't say anything. You have to just sit there and go okay, this person is trying to pee pee on my leg and tell me it's raining but what can I really do about it? So to Amber's point, yeah, after a while of working with the general public, you're gonna burn out. Number six on her list is setting new standards or having expectations of you that are not in your job description, which, that's another point of other duties as assigned. I believe, here we go prediction alert as we go further into whatever this downturn is recession, depression, 1970s era stagflation, there, 100%, will be more of that happening. Part of it's going to happen because of layoffs and hiring freezes. The people who are left behind will be expected to pick up the slack for the people that got laid off, or the people that simply won't be hired. Another thing is, there will be much more of this attitude of well, do you really want to be unemployed right now, I mean, I know that this is not in your job description. It's not what we agreed upon. But you're gonna do it, or we'll fire you and have 10 people rip roaring and ready to go within five minutes of you leaving the building. So I mean, the choice is up to you, you can refuse to do this, because it's not in your job description. And then you can go and sit and be unemployed. Or you can sit down, shut up and do what we tell you to do. I hope that I am wrong on that. But that's what I see coming. On this point, she also adds a story about dress codes, and how at one of the jobs she worked at, I don't I don't even know how this would be legal. But at one of the jobs that she worked at, they called her in and said that it wasn't that she was violating the dress code, per se, it's just it would it would look better. She wore her hair up everyday in a bun. And so they told her if she put her hair down and curled it and wore shiny or shoes to the workplace, it would it would look good. Now that totally gave me a flashback to being punished for my introversion and being punished for being a serious worker. And I remember telling my friends like in language lessons and conversation exchanges about how that would happen to me. And people in Eastern Europe were like, What the f? We don't understand that at all. Because being called serials nice Robotnik are a serious worker. If that were in Moscow, for example. Yes, that's great. You are a serious worker, that is one hell of a compliment. So it's hard for them to understand as it's still hard for me to understand why that appears to be such a bad thing in America. But I would get the speech of now you don't have to stand around at the watercooler and gossip. You don't have to lurk around the coffee pot and greet everybody in the morning. But it would really be good if you had Ned. In other words, that's them telling you who you are as a person is not good enough for us. We want you to toe the line go along to get along, stand around and do the gossip and play the game and be more likeable. Because we understand that you care a lot about the job and you're a serious worker, but maybe you're too serious. Maybe you need to lighten up and go hang out around the coffee pot a little more often. Maybe go to happy hour a little more often. Maybe go to Billy Bob's barbecue on Saturday and see and be seen. I mean, you don't have to stay all day, just go out there for a couple of hours and chit chat and have a beer. And I'm like, what? Why? Why is it a bad thing? To be considered a serious worker and to care about your job and care about making money for yourself and the company. But it goes back to control. It's not about productivity. It's not about even you being profitable to the company. It's about control. Are you going to go along to get along and toe the line and do what you're told? Or are you going to be a problem? How sad but true? Like what does Amber's wearing a bun in her hair have to do with anything? But yet you've got some idiot calling her in saying, Well, you don't have to wear your hair down and curl it every day. But it would really be good if you did. That feels super sexist to me. And again, I don't even know how that could be legal. Number seven on her list is the way that employees get thrown away. Whether it's through layoffs or outsourcing. I don't even have to give you a prediction alert that we're going to see more of that over the coming years. We're already living that reality right now. Unfortunately, with workers being replaced with AI and robots. We're only at the tip of that iceberg. I think unfortunately, in some respects it might be good if you truly have a job that nobody wants to do. layoffs. Yes, obviously The people who told you that mass layoffs were not coming. And then when they came, it was, oh, well, it'll only be Silicon Valley, I'll only be big tech. As I always tell you, you have to be strategic about who you're listening to. and for what reason? And you'll know the tree by the fruit of bears. Are you listening to people that make predictions that come true? Are you listening to people in the hot Aaron hopium crowd. Number eight on her list, unwanted promotions without notice or choice. This one definitely hit for me too, because I made the decision to go in this main direction. When we think about the corporate umbrella, you really only have two choices, if you're going to move up the ladder. Or if you're going to be drugged up the ladder kicking and screaming by force, you have two basic choices, you can either do what I did and go in the SMI direction, and say, I will make continuing education a huge priority, I will stay aware of all current trends, changing laws, etc. and dig in and niche in and be the subject matter expert in this chosen field. The other is people management. And I have been thrust into those situations before where it's like, well, we need to move you up the ladder. We want to reward you for your production or for your metrics for the amount of money you've made. So the reward is now you have people to manage. Oh, gee, thanks. Well, what a treat. And then other times it was well, we just don't have anybody else. So many people have left, you're the last person standing. So by default, you're going to be the manager. Not everybody wants to be a people manager. Some people get into a position and they like what they're doing as an individual contributor. And I wish we could leave them alone. If they're happy, they're doing what they want to be doing. Why do we always have to mess things up? I mean, for that matter, not everybody wants to be a Smee. But not everybody wants to be a people manager either. on her list number nine is promotions that you do want, but you get passed over. I immediately thought about Bob, if you go back to some earlier episodes, where I talked about what happened to Bob, the situation that he was put in where he was up for a promotion, and he got strung along we given different reasons about why the promotion wasn't happening yet it was going to happen, but it hadn't happened yet. And then he found out that his boss hired his like 22 or 23 year old daughter in law, fresh out of college with no relevant experience to be the boss. So in other words, instead of Bob moving up, Bob's new boss was going to be this 22 or 23 year old daughter in law fresh out of college with no actual experience. And Amber tells a story similar to that somebody that had only been on the job for a few months, it took a promotion that she wanted. That does suck. If you had your name in the hat for something, and you get the golden seal of disapproval. It's hard to get your mojo and your momentum back to want to stay there after that. She points out that her metrics were actually the best in the company. But yet somebody that had only been at the company for three to four months, received a promotion that she was up for. And I want to point something out here, I have done so before. But it's worth repeating. Your metrics can be outstanding, you can be the top producer in the company, you can be a million dollar Biller, you can have the most on time phone calls, you can have the highest customer satisfaction reviews, whatever industry it is, your metrics can be the gold standard, you can be the best of the best. But if you're not one of us, it often doesn't matter. You can have the best productivity and still get screwed over anyway. I've lived that one out myself, or be treated like a second class citizen. Well, you're the top producer, you're obviously very efficient. But we just don't like your introversion. We don't like that you're an INFJ. You don't fit into some box that we can conveniently put you in. We don't get you. You don't go to Billy Bob's barbecue and give up your Saturday. And that offends us. So we'll put up with you, we'll abide you. But we really don't like your personality. It would be better for us if you made half as much money for the company, but you were the biggest bootlicker up in here. So some of these managers think y'all and last but not least number 10 on her list is horrible raises, when she tells about getting a yearly pay bump of like 15 cents an hour, and then being told you're lucky to get this. Yeah, I had a job that was like that it's not on my CV. But I had a job like that when I first started graduate school. And they would give out nickel and dime raises, and it was the same thing, you're lucky to have that you should get down on your hands and knees and grovel before us over a five cent an hour raise. And then when you do the basic math, it's like this isn't even anything. This is not going to materially help me or impact my life at all. But yet, I'm supposed to grovel over a nickel. Really. Unfortunately, though, again, I think as we go further into whatever this downturn is, we will see more of that type of behavior. Just be glad you have a job, you're lucky to be here, suck it up, buttercup, pay freezes, to go along with hiring freezes. See, that's the thing. Those of us who were alive and well, back in 2008. And I'm not talking about kids, I mean, no disrespect, I mean, no, no offense, people cannot help what year they were born in and what they've lived through thus far, it's nuts. It's not anybody's fault if somebody was in middle school at that time, but their recollection of the Great Recession is going to be quite different than somebody who is out in the workaday world, with adult responsibilities and a mortgage and a car payment and health insurance and all of that fun stuff. It's different, it's a different reality. So for those of us that were alive and well into the workaday world, at that point in time, you probably remember what it was like no more 401k No more bonus, no more pay raises, everything is going to simply freeze. And if you don't like it, there's the door, you can go join the unemployed throngs of people, and we will have you replaced like that. We'll have 100 qualified applicants within the first 10 minutes of posting the job. And you'll sit on the market for six months or a year unemployed. So do you really want to make a stink about this, just be glad you have a job 100% We will see more of that as we go into this downturn. Something else that I always reiterate, I don't give you advice, and I don't tell you what to do or what not to do. I sit here and I opine for your entertainment only. Do I agree with her thesis that workplace loyalty is dead? Yes, I do. As I predicted, in my interview with Yahoo, I think that as quiet quitting a beta due to the economy, we will see more loud staying. In other words, somebody that's like, I can't afford to do take this job and shove it right now. They're going to be very loud and very clear in saying, I'm here. I want to be here. Please don't fire me. I'm not telling you. That's right. Or that that's healthy. I'm telling you. That's self preservation, that survival. Even if the job is a job from hell, if you need that job, because your kids are hungry, you need a roof over your head. I know it sounds dystopian, but you're going to do whatever you feel is necessary in order to survive. Again, I'm not telling you that it's right. I can on your very frequently indeed and tell you that the system is rigged against John and Jane Q Public in favor of the hyperlinks and bazillion airs. I think hopefully, maybe unless you're tuning in for the very first time today, you're really well aware of that already. There is a line of thought that when a crisis is coming, a storm, a blizzard, a hurricane, whatever you get where you're going to be in order to ride out the storm. I don't give advice. I don't tell you what to do or what not to do. Thinking out loud, just for myself. Absolutely. I want to be wherever I'm going to be in order to weather the storm. Whatever that looks like for you a full time w two employment position, freelancing full time owning and operating your own business gig work, investments of some kind, I don't know. But I think that this is going to be a bad enough downturn, that you would be wise to wargame those strategies out in advance. Stay safe, stay sane. And I will see you in the next episode. Thanks for tuning in. If you enjoyed this episode, please take a quick second to subscribe to this podcast and share it with your friends. We'll see you next time.