Corporate Ladder vs Hamtrac

I ran across a great Mark Twain quote the other day.  By the way Twain is one funny bastard.  “If you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous, he will not bite you; that is the principal difference between a dog and a man.”

How true.  I spent way to long in a corporate environment where I witnessed people who were mentored, nurtured and groomed for success by someone only to see that person “bite the hand” of their mentor.  It’s a wicked trap one falls into.  The lure of financial/material gain and status are strong drivers and make people act wacky. Ah, climbing the corporate ladder….

I was in one of those big box pet stores the other day and when I finally disengaged from my hypnotic trance caused by these two ferrets frolicking about in their cage when I saw something that made me think about the mythical corporate ladder.  It was the Hamtrac.

Hamtrac, no it’s not a name of a new train line that transports pigs to the slaughter house (yuck I might have to rethink that bacon purchase this weekend).  It’s actually a race track that is designed so that a hamster placed in one of those clear plastic hamster balls (I could go in a million inappropriate directions with hamster balls) can run around the track, never getting anywhere.  The poor little bastards just keep going round and round.  Sort of my take on the corporate ladder.  The alure of the ladder is what traps the individual.  The thought that there is always another step to climb, always a ceiling that is someone’s floor….like our little hamster friend except up and up with no end in sight.  Always wanting more but never being satisified….hmmm makes me want for some of those synaptic provocateurs…

My corporate experience while a great learning opportunity, it was not a great experience.

It’s weird how at some point in the corporate evolution people stop focusing on production and doing what is right and shift over to a political, cover-your-ass mode.  Then again, maybe it’s not the people and it’s more about the corporation.

Maybe it was just my experience however I found that at some point in the corporate evolution the corporation stopped caring about the individual and focused only on balance sheet entries and bottom line perforance.  The people were secondary.    Now don’t get me wrong, balance sheet and bottom line are critical evaluators of business performance.  However,  good people who are appropriately motivated and empowered are the key components to effect the factors that drive balance sheet and bottom line performance.

So people, careful what you ask for.  There is always more stuff to buy and more stuff to do.  With email and laptops work has intruded into every aspect of our lives.  My Uncle shared a great thought with me a few years ago that I have to remind myself of often:

“Make play a high priority in your life
For if you die tomorrow
No one can play for you
Someone can and will do your work for you!!”



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