The Hermit Shrimp

2021.03.16

Company goals are a joke

There's nothing quite like watching executives writhe and twist to meet their own statements and goals. "But they are the company's goals". No. Not really. It's the Executives goals heaved upon their underlings without any question or forethought to the validity of the accomplishment.

"Increase sales by 5%!" Can we raise prices? No. Can we change the marketing campaign? No. Can we hire more people. No. Do we have to continue the same horrible strategy that you enforced for the past few years, continue to sugar coat a few numbers when we blow well below the goal, and then hope you don't have two connecting neurons to notice? Yes, of course.

This is truly the natural flow of thing I guess. Tribe leader says he needs more berries. Berry pickers go get more berries. "But tribe leader we live in the desert." "MORE BERRY NOW." It's almost as if that no matter your background and upbringing, once you hit a certain level of wealth, certain brain cells associated with scarcity and planning just seem to turn off. Sure we have plenty of higher ups that don't have that issue. They end up being the Bezos of the world, using their past knowledge of being less than rich to engineer a company to make full use of those who are not rich.

You just hate the rich!

Although I do have my issues with the mega rich (to be addressed some time in the future), they are absent from the discussion of glorified middle managers uplifted to making more than 6 digits a year in an area with an average income below 35k.

The workers should just work harder.

Classic boomer response. What's often missing from this statement is the ignorance of the environment and constraints which these goals are allowed to be executed on. Take for instance your standard cashier at your local big box store. Most of these stores have some sort of goal to push X amount of credit cards a month. Aside from this being a horrible and predatory practice to further the world's growing debt economy, is this really something a bottom-of-the-barrel-pay teenager working their first job should be doing? This isn't a goal that should be normal in decent human society, but in the world of executives, this is a brilliant plan to grow their 401k. So let's ask every single customer that comes through the line, "would you like to save 10% today by signing up for a Target credit card?" even though they are just picking up a couple vegetables in rush home from work to make dinner. Odds are that the cashier will be verbally assaulted at some point (and in some cases multiple times daily) by a customer for asking that damn question for the millionth time. It's not the cashier's fault. They are the last person in the world that wants to ask the question. And what customer in their right mind would be picking up a box of pasta and be like, "Hm. yeah. I DO want to save 10% on this purchase." If you think a customer would ever do that, you may be suffering from being a middle-to-upper-class manager/executive.

But aside from the fact that the goals themselves are often completely ridiculous, there is rarely any room for changes to be made to actually be able to meet said goal. For instance, instead of asking EVERY customer that comes through the line, maybe only target those that are spending more than $500 today? These customers would be "saving" $50 dollars signing up for that credit card. They could actually have a vested interest in that? No? Manager-man says ask everyone because other store does it? Okay. Now all the customers will instinctively hate this question regardless of it's worth to them. What if we made the interest rates less predatory or an awesome rewards system (that many people often forget even exist)? No? Doesn't make enough money? Another store does 40% interest rates so we should? Alrighty.

And don't you dare question the methods or you'll be targeted as the reason the goals weren't reached in the end. Black marks across the company. Special notes in your HR file. Whispers between regional managers. Next thing you know, you'll be getting slowly, yet gradually promoted to night shift until you're basically a creature of the night.

If you do not know already, in any business where's a significant enough separation of hierarchy between the bottom and the top, there is barely a way to affect change upward. I find that upward change can at most affect three layers upwards. Basically your boss's boss's boss. And that's on a good day and you're rising star employee. Most of us should be happy with breaching the first level. At this point it's up to that higher up to carry to metaphorical football up through their layers of influence. Most of the time, you'll find that since they have no skin in the game, they'll lose interest quickly, and if you remind then, you're in the fast lane to being on their shit list. Sometimes you can get lucky enough to rally your slave plantation to gain some attention, but that'll usually just end with corporation operatives suddenly making visits to your lowly establishment. Next thing you know, everyone stops talking about it and you're back to never meeting that credit card sales goal.