Monday, May 12, 2008

In-house designers beware…

A few days ago I stumbled across this passage from “Pulling Your Own Strings” published in 1978 by Wayne Dyer.

(From Wikipedia: Dr. Wayne Walter Dyer is a popular American self-help advocate, author and lecturer. His 1976 book Your Erroneous Zones has sold over 30 million copies and is one of the best-selling books of all time).

I thought it would be useful to publish here, as a call to reality for all in-house designers. All comments are welcome.

"How Institutions Work

Business institutions exist for one reason: to make profits. They seek only to perpetuate themselves so as to return dollars to the people who have taken the risks of financing them and manufacturing the products or delivering the services.

They are not in business for charity, and they don’t pretend to be. Therefore, any victimizing you experience as a result of your connection to an institution has probably come about because you allowed it to happen.

If you believe a business institution owes you some kind of loyalty and ought to reward your long service with a lot of benefits to you as a person, then you are carrying around groundless illusions.

The institution will attempt to deal with you in as utilitarian a fashion as possible. It will pay you for your services until you can no longer deliver the services it needs, and then you will be dismissed in as inexpensive a manner as possible.

This is not a sour view of business in western culture; it is simply the way things are. Whenever you become an employee of an institution, this is the implied agreement. Even if it has such things as pension plans, profit sharing, incentive programs, or any other devices designed to hold on to employees, the fact remains that when it doesn’t need you any more, you will be replaced, and every effort will be made to get rid of you as cheaply as possible.

Institutions simply do what they’re designed to do, and there is no complaining about them being written in these pages. But you are not an institution. You are a human being who breathes and feels and experiences life.

You do not have to be upset about the way businesses operate, nor do you have to commit yourself slavishly to institutions just because you are encouraged to do so by institutional spokesmen who stand to gain by your self-victimizing loyalty.

The man who retires after devoting fifty years of unflagging service to a company, and receives a gold watch and a small pension for his lifetime of devotion, has not been victimized by the institution. It owes him nothing, so he should feel grateful for the watch. He did his job and received his paychecks, and the company received his services. That is the way it’s supposed to be.

But the retiree has been victimized if he has devoted himself beyond normal requirements and sacrificed his own personal goals and his family activities, because institutions do nothing but continue on, whether you kill yourself for them or simply see them as ways for you to make your living."

In my opinion, even though you must bring excellence and commitment to everything you do, it would be foolish to ignore the reality of how companies work and to regret the personal time that you sacrificed for them.

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