The compassionate Karl Marx after having invested two decades into the reading of economics and practice of labor laws in England ended up with a couple of unique concepts along with other mammoth intellectual contributions, like Das Capita, Communist Manifesto, criticism of Hegel’s philosophy etc. A few of the notions that he churned out and could be pertinent with our topic would be surplus labor value, labor alienation, and negative wage. By discussing surplus labor value he pointed out that labor is paid just peanuts (subsistence) and the rest is usurped by the employer (capitalist) merely by virtue of his being a capitalist. The labor alienation was the most pricking idea unfolding the fact that labor (employee) by melting down the silver of his mental and physical faculties and mirth and vigor of age would develop a commodity such that ultimately he would have shifted all his own self into the product and become hollow thereafter; hence alien to himself. The negative wage was ironical, that is the employers paid taxes by slashing wages of the employees, hence tax was negative wage. Regressively, some two and a half millennia back Aristotle screamed, ‘all paid jobs absorb and degrade the mind.’ Having said that, the way-out could be identified in adopting entrepreneurship, but that calls for favorability of numerous personal, financial, social, economic and political factors composing thereby a complex matrix, rather labyrinth.
The predicaments of the entry-level employees however are excessively subtle. To start with, the sword of probationary period haunts, blended with a provision for the either party to depart serving a one-to-three-month notice which is by and large more jeopardizing for the employee. Employee, during the probationary period leaves no stone unturned to prove his worthiness and a convincing justification that he is the best choice that organization has made. By the same token, he over-delivers though he is underpaid. Underpaid in the sense that he is hired for nine to five, but he would serve extra hours also by sacrificing his lunch/prayer breaks and this leads to reduced salary per hour. The hope of getting pay-raise after the probationary period has been ‘successfully and satisfactorily completed’ imbues oversized spirit in his performance.
Some organizations feeling that they are under-paying vis-à-vis the toughness of the job propose to retain some part of the employee’s salary and commit to pay that part after say two years of serving. These organizations by virtue of their past experience believe beforehand that the employee will not stay that long. Hence, the employee’s ‘retained earnings’ (the term not being used in pure accounting sense) are victoriously pocketed by the organization. Now the question arises as to why the employee consents to such a deal? The answer is he does so in the hands of the fear of joblessness pervading the economy, the very fact due to which employer is exploitative.
At times, the innocent entry-level incumbents have to disinvest their time and energy in locating the power-center and political allies in the organization, or discerning between the formal and informal organizational structure. Social coalitions seemingly and potentially advantageous, might turn out to be fatal, hence the effect of organizational politics. The organization would pose to be something that she is not, thus would camouflage. There would always be some falsity and spuriousness in the demeanor of the organization, some over or under projection would be there, thus either there would be false expectations-building or deceptive discouraging, or a confusing mix of both. Consequently, the naïve analysis which is quite natural for such incumbents, throws them into the quagmire of unnecessary multi-tasking and megalomaniac dual reporting. By the time they are able to crystallize, it’s too late and if they have failed to internalize the real dynamics and as a consequence have under-performed, they will have to lose job or suffer some other psychological or financial thrust.
Incompatible social intelligence could be another predicament. The symbolic indicators like myths, dogmas, rituals, organizational culture and organization climate also play their role in confusing the new incumbents. Still some jobs are performance-based, sales and marketing jobs for example. If an employee fails to sell a product, he must also fail to get buy-in from the employers to stay further. If the product is in the shelf, the employee is out of the shell of the organization. Further, ridiculously enough, new incumbents are asked about work experience during interviews, and frustratingly enough their internships are reckoned irrelevant with the job (if any).
To conclude, Aristotle was right; jobs are absorbing and mentally degrading, Marx was righteous in lamenting capitalistic thought as exploitative and usurping, and entrepreneurship is not everybody’s cup of tea. What else? Beg or steal? Don’t they both tend to eat into conscience? What is then the optimal solution? Only and only one, to develop oneself in terms of competence, capability, confidence, social intelligence, organizational behavior, organizational politics, market scanning, enlightenment, and dynamism. Above all he must be loyal, honest and faithful to conscience; ‘conscience is what you do when no one is watching you.’ (Bernard Shaw)