You’re not alone. You think you are, sitting in your cubicle, handling call after call, navigating through a maze of dystopian, nonsensical policies and scripts. But you’re not. Your numbers are legion.
And, Ree Miller , has captured your Lord of the Flies office culture in her book Butts in the Seat.
You’ve read those stale movie reviews that blast “You’ll laugh, you’ll cry” ...? Well, you won’t when you read it. You’ll only laugh, out loud, often. Okay some of the laughs will come from the pain of memories you thought you’d suppressed so deep that no amount of coffee, alcohol, or enhanced interview techniques would ever uncover. But, Ree's writing teases them out,one line or paragraph at a time, so you can consider them through her very funny, very spot-on, lens.
I started to collect my favorite lines but there were too many. Two or three every page. However, this one stands out:
"She walks to the reception area, subtly transitioning from a regular person to a Client Services Stepford wife. Her face becomes serene, her posture erect. She looks unhurried, unworried, unhassled."
"Client Services Stepford wife." Oh my. Now, for the PC-crowd Ree is generous, dare I say fair and balanced, in her appreciation of both genders.
I wish I had worked with Ree, back in the day. We'd have had so much fun swapping stories, laughing.
However, it's always about Timing. Not having worked with her meant I wouldn't be in HR's office ... being counseled on appropriate humor. And now, I can enjoy reading her book, revisiting those moments, hours and days, of total corporate cacophony often confused with strategy and execution.
Keep her book handy. The next time you encounter one of those moments reach for the book instead of a pastry or coffee or a double-shot. And let her writing and humor bring perspective, hope, and a reminder that "you're not alone in one of Dante's 9 circles of purgatory." I promise it will deliver more hope and inspiration and perspective than any $1000 a pop, er person, motivational, live your dream, pinkie promise, click your heels and say “there’s no place like work” seminar. Or webinar (gag).
Back to the topic at hand: Employee Engagement. All the happy talk and pretty colors I see in the conversations around Employee Engagement fail to acknowledge Ree's reality. Or that it's more common than anyone will admit. Or that seeds on that barren ground are likely not going to sprout. That's disengagement in the conversation around employee engagement. That's why the numbers for engaged employees aren't rising.
I'd encourage all employee engagement experts, thought-leaders, consultants, gurus, to read Ree's book. After you get through the smiley faces and pretty Power-Point slides and academic, ah, malarkey about "discretionary effort" and customized surveys ... and more buzzwords and principles and to-do's ... here's the audience. Oh, hold on. Sure, it's not everyone. It's only about 70%, the 70% all our solutions aren't reaching because they don't engage in these people's day-to-day reality.