Businesses: doing right or wrong by your employees?

This post isn’t about audio, it’s about you.

The millennial generation is not only fully embedded into our social framework, but also the workforce.  Even if you’re not a millennial, you have to deal with us in one way or another.  And if you happen to be an employer or trustee of millennial well-being: based on observing my friends’ circumstances, I’m going to say that p often – you suck.

Hold the phone! There are a lot of awesome employers and educators and master craftspeople out there doing right by their constituents. If the bottom line structure of your employment consciously places “subordinates” on the top line, I’m not talking about you.  But if you neglect to honor that every part of your workforce is integral to your success, you miiiiight be a total dickhead.

We all know that millennials were spoiled with participation trophies and therefore developed absolutely no grit – that’s definitely a problem.  But what’s worse is that they often don’t have the perspective on how they fit into the world to know when they’re being screwed over.  At least that’s what I’ve been seeing with my peers.

It sucks when an employer thinks you’re a tool for their wealth, and that they deserve extreme profits from your hourly work.  It sucks even more when you believe it!  Many employers pay not for the value of what their employees are providing, but for what they can get away with.  And unfortunately for us, there are an abundance of millennials who need income, stat.

Sadly, I find university education to be even more sinister than these employers.  Many students believe that they’re not worth much without a 4-year degree.  Granted that my limited insights into higher education only revolve around the arts, I still think that there is an abundance of misinterpretation about what most university educations will deliver.


It’s not [entirely] my intent to demonize the university – certainly there are numerous examples of individuals learning how to think and operate in ways that they wouldn’t have accomplished otherwise.  I myself wouldn’t take back my university experience.  My problem is when professors don’t understand the uselessness of their content outside the classroom, while their students believe that the content will relate to their ability to perform in “the real world”.  Academics’ well-being, after all, is dependent upon their performance in academia, not in “the real world”; they aren’t affected by the job market like the majority of their students will be.  Said another way: what universities teach does not need to be informed by the professional world their students are about to enter.


The actual reason I’m writing this

is because I have a friend who does great work for a professional services company, and they don’t meet her halfway, they don’t believe in her as an individual, they don’t empower her, and they don’t pay her much compared to others in her field.  She accepts this because it’s a temporary position that won’t be her life’s pursuit, it’s better money than other feasible jobs pay, and she doesn’t necessarily believe that they should pay her more.  The imbalance is this: she’s intrinsically motivated to do the best job possible, skillfully represents the company to every client with her personal charm and experience, and takes a personal hit to deliver better service to her own satisfaction: an incredible asset to the company! – but they don’t care one bit, just as long as her extra-pep doesn’t get in the way of their rules.

There’s a book called Leaders Eat Last  with a lot of ideas that any employer, but especially this one, could benefit from.

Those who possess a massive creative energy and the desire to serve others first are of the finest assets to society.  I want to work with individuals like her – to fulfill my goals, hers, and the people we serve, simultaneously.  And to save us all from “the real world” of subordination.



I do want to say that I know there are millions of counterexamples to my points herein.  Rather than to bemoan how unfair and difficult the world is, I am simply musing on frustrating circumstances in which my peers have been unnecessarily treated in a way that can only serve to break down one’s spirit over time.  Therefore, though there are a great many employers out there who don’t care about their people, there are many great employers out there that do.

7 thoughts on “Businesses: doing right or wrong by your employees?

  1. True. And if your friend continues to perform admirably and with gusto, she will eventually find a good fit with a place that appreciates her talents (and hopefully rewards her financially on par with her male counterparts!). What would be most impressive is if she starts her own enterprise and bypasses the other sleeping corporations.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I suppose this situation is just part of life, huh? Most of us have probably started with jobs like that. And the gender pay-gap is another one of these ridiculous circumstances! Augh! Thank you for reading and your valuable thoughts 🙂


  2. Hey Robin!

    I like the post and certainly recognize the message and emotion behind it. I regard your observations about the dynamic between ownership and labor as the root cause of most, if not all, the unending debate about matters in the public domain (politics, education, economy, environment, etc.). How should ownership and labor exist in this capitalist market economy? The stream of answers is never-ending.

    Without going into dissertation mode and unpacking points and counterpoints about each of those sub-domains that make up the public sphere, it may be instructive and balancing to take some time to check out U.S. labor history, including the centuries-old struggles for rights, strong labor laws, etc. Hard times for laborers have produced some revered art along the way, too, as I know you’re hip to. Protest songs, blues, gospel… the woes of the worker are well-documented, or, re-stated, the woes didn’t start with the millennia generation, as you know, too.

    I agree with your Aunt Addy. I hope your friend eventually becomes the game owner, not just the game player.

    Power Onward!


    • Hey Uncle Jay! Thanks for reading and for your insights.
      I don’t have much perspective on the history of labor in this country, though I am aware that conditions used to be horrid, and that what we do enjoy right now, despite the problems that any and every system will experience, are much more fair to employees. The struggles that others have gone through to win victories for future generations – I hope I’m not trampling upon them. I love how you can bring music into everything so relevantly. Much appreciation!


  3. Good read man! As an employer of primarily young people, one thing that continually surprises me is just how motivated and sharp most of our employees really are. We would be remiss to not try and encourage and reward them for trying to go above and beyond their regular duties. You “kids” are our future and the sooner us “old people” learn to work with, not against you, the better off society will be.
    And yeah, what uncle Jay said!!


    • Hi Craig! Thanks for taking the time to read this. The wonderful way that you and Michelle treat your employees was very much on my mind while writing this post. I have hired people in limited capacities to help me out on minor jobs, and it has been a pleasure for me to think, “what would it take for me to feel fairly compensated for the work they just did for me?” And then to set that as the minimum compensation. I have my eye toward eventually having a business and employees, and when I get far enough along, I will be asking for your advice on how to treat them right. Thank you!


  4. Pingback: How to get the Best Wedding Sound? | A Sound Engineer's Weblog

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