Undercover Boss - crap or not crap?
Posted 08 February 2010 - 05:42 PM
Crap. I remember seeing a British version of this years ago, and even though that was crap too, everything's always better with British accents. A lot of things not to like about this. 1. It has the Extreme Home Makeover type of reality tv heart-wrenching melodrama. 2. It takes corporate executive bureaucracy, which is generally blind and stupid, and tries to humanize it and put an "aw, shucks" smilie face on it. 3. You can not, under any circumstance, get a real understanding of a job in one day. 4. Nothing will change at any of these companies. "You're really upbeat; I want you to talk to my executives. (paraphrasing)" Really? Are you fucking serious?
I know exactly what happens at these things. At the low end: they send out email memos to the executive email group about the upcoming event and ask to prepare questions (with luck, the email will not be accidentally sent to the entire company; if in New York, the execs will hope no one leaks the memo to the NY Post), then they order catered crap to a meeting room, bring in some guy to talk. Half the execs don't pay attention. The other half create lists of action items they then foist on their underlings to lower morale. Productivity drops 10%. On the high end? Same thing except they do it at a "corporate retreat," i.e. Caribbean resort. More pressure is put on underlings to make up for the added expense of corporate projects like this one. Productivity drops 15%.
Stupid. And the Waste Management honcho also throws one of the workers he meets a raise. Her story touched him. Super. And what does this have to do with the price of tea in China? "The price of tea in China," in this scenario, is systemic change within the organization to improve productivity and/or correct inequity/unfairness. This is one person in one situation. The WM president did nothing to change anything. Her story is just one of many. He corrected one situation and did nothing to address the wider issue.
Every single problem he found was caused by blind, ignorant corporate exec policies, and nothing was changed. Task force this, executive memo that. Just a stark unwillingness for white collar douchebags to do real work. "My back hurts," says the president. Your back hurts? Fuck you. People do that entry level work every fucking day, and I guarantee there's more hurting than just their back.
And when you think it can't get worse, it gets worse. Previews of the next episode. Hooters. The head of Hooters watches as one of his jerkoff manager underlings tells his staff of scantily clad 18-ish girls that if they "want to leave early, they have to participate in my reindeer games." Cut to them sticking their faces in a plate and licking up...god knows what. "This can't go on," paraphrases the CEO. He had a hard time "biting his tongue" while watching. Because, why? He didn't want to blow his fucking cover. Are you kidding me? This isn't a misguided corporate policy. This is an individual physically (and I would argue sexually) abusing his workers. You are the motherfucking CEO. Step the fuck up and stop it right there. Oh, you call the guy in at the end of the show and tell him it's unacceptable (this is all in the 30 sec preview, by the way)? You want moral credit for that? Fuck off. Because when it mattered, you did nothing. When you could've said, "hey, stop," you didn't. When you could've been a role model for a working staff of impressionable girls who, thus far, are learning that they are only worth what their bodies do to dumbass men in power, you weren't. So, again, fuck you. And fuck this fucking fuckstorm of a show.
"Proceed counterinductively." --Paul Feyerabend
Posted 08 February 2010 - 11:31 PM
While I did find it entertaining, I do agree that one shift is not nearly enough time to see how difficult someone's job is. One of my biggest peeves about reality shows such as this (and even Intervention & Hoarders), is that they constantly recap what just happened prior to the commercial break, as if the viewer is so stupid that they can't remember what happened 3 minutes ago. Most of these hour long shows could be cut to 30 minutes without losing any significant content. Undercover Boss committed the sin of showing the reveal at the beginning of the show. After they did that, I turned to Cynthia and said, "Well, we don't have to watch the show now, we've seen how it ends."
One of the things I love about the company I work for is that the management, from Store Manager up to and including the CEO, have all worked their way up the ladder from front line employee to the position they're in now. Even the CEO/Owner, who is the 3rd generation to own the company, started out running copies/prints. Granted, he had a little more encouragement to move up, but he knows what it's like for us. While both my boss and my manager haven't done what I do in years, they have done it before and understand the basics of what I do. They've both even covered for me recently while I've been out of the shop for extended periods. Right now, in fact, my supervisor is
It wasn't like this at the last 3 jobs I had. AlphaGraphics was a franchise, and the owner worked side by side with us, but he was an ass, and didn't care about his employees. At Wherehouse Music, I had to deal with multiple levels of corporate bureaucracy to get anything done. They'd make changes to company policy with very little thought as to how it was going to affect us. Kinko's started out great, being that it was a limited partnership setup. At the time, almost everyone in upper management had started on the ground floor, but as the company grew, and as their aspirations to be larger grew, they realized that they didn't have the knowledge to get the company where they wanted it to be, so they brought in outside upper management. That's when life for the peons went in the shitter.
I do think some good will come of the CEOs experience in Undercover Bosses, but I'm not holding my breath while I wait for it to happen.
Posted 09 February 2010 - 04:38 AM
In Australia, a woman committed suicide due to bullying by her boss and co-workers.
She was 19 and had been dating the 23 year old manager and then they had a falling out. He got two of his cohorts to bully and abuse her while he did, too. The owner witnessed it all and did nothing.
When she attempted the suicide - by taking a leap out of a 4 storey carpark, they then laughed at the fact that she lived for a further three days, saying that she couldn't even kill herself right.
$350,000 in fines later, spread out across all four of those fuckers, I am angry that they have to pay so little with no jail time.
I've never seen nor heard of this show, but now I'm pissed off, so I'm voting crap on principle.
Posted 09 February 2010 - 07:35 PM
If the laws of physics no longer apply in the future, God help you.