April 21, 2010

Revenge of the 20%

There's a business maxim that 80% of the work is done by 20% of the people.  Like all other such principles, there are all kinds of exceptions, but I'm sure that we can all agree that, no matter what you do, there are those who do most of the work and those who don't.  Or, as I say, anyone who supports socialism has never done a group project. 

I was pondering this over the last month or so as I watched my office prepare for several major events that were going to happen simultaneously.  It was true, 20% of the office was working long hours and keeling over from stress.  The other 80%?  Bitched about being asked to help carry boxes to a truck. 

When evaluating the Tea Party movement and the discontent in American politics, I believe that what we are seeing can best be described as the Revenge Of The Twenty Percent.  Those who achieve are finally pushing back at being forced to pay for those who don't even try.  Those who achieve are finally pushing back at being considered horrible and selfish for wanting to keep the money that they worked so hard to earn.  Those who achieve are finally pushing back at the notion that it's only right that the 20% are supposed to do 80% of the work.  Those who achieve are finally pushing back at the notion that the 80% are not capable of doing more than 20% of the work. 

To return this to the workplace analogy, consider your office/workplace/whatever.  You are in the 20% who work.  You'll keep your mouth shut about the 80% to a certain point.  But after that point, then you'll pitch a fit.  Why?  Because the 80% are trying to make you do 100% of the work, not 80%. 

That's what I see happening in America at the moment.  While the percentages don't hold, the concept is the same.  Those who feel entitled are demanding that they be taken care of completely.  Those who work are digging in their heels and saying no, no I will not do that.  Not only that, those who work have had it with being told they are cruel and evil for asking that others work also.  On a personal level, there's nothing that makes me angrier at work then when I get yelled at because I didn't do someone else's job.  Do not tell me that it's my responsibility because I know that a co-worker wouldn't do it.  It's not my job.  It's his/her's.  Go yell at the person who actually messed up, don't yell at me because I didn't hold his/her hand to make sure it got done. 

I also firmly believe the cultural analysis is wrong.  This is not about race.  This is Revenge of the Nerds, 2010 style.  When I look at the Tea Party protests, what I see are the ones who did all the work in the group projects only to sit back and watch the entire group get an A standing up and saying "No.  No, you do not get credit for my work ever again."  That's the source of the anger.  The achievers worked and struggled and saved and tried to take care of themselves.  Now they are being asked to give all that up to the kids in the back of class passing around a bottle and a joint.  This is about the a/v geeks standing up to the jocks.  This is about the bookworms refusing to do the prom queens' homework.  This is about the ones who went to the library on Saturday morning instead of doing a walk of shame saying no, no I will not let you use my paper.

Of course those in the 20% are angry because now the proposition is that 20% will do 100% of the work while being screamed at and called vile names.  Of course there is going to be push back.  Of course there will be anger.  Why would anyone expect otherwise?

Posted by: alexthechick at 12:42 PM | Comments (7) | Add Comment
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