The Causey Consulting Podcast

Well that didn't take long.

June 16, 2022 Sara Causey
The Causey Consulting Podcast
Well that didn't take long.
Show Notes Transcript

I guess it didn't take as long as I thought it might for the WFH Window to start closing. Yikes.

Key topics:

✔️ Elon Musk blew up the interwebs after a leaked email re: no more WFH if you're with Tesla or SpaceX. He didn't even wait for a full-tilt recession or major market contraction. He just blazed the trail for everyone else.
✔️ People can zone out in a cubicle at the office just as easy as they can zone out at home. If someone is determined to do the bare minimum, do you think they can't cheat the system in a Cube Farm? Get real.
✔️ One form of toxic company culture is punishing everyone for one or two bad apples in the group. Make everyone suffer, buuwaahaahaa!
✔️ Caveat emptor. Pay attention. Stay alert.

Links I discuss in this episode:

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Welcome to the Causey Consulting Podcast. You can find us online anytime at And now, here's your host, Sara Causey. Hello, Hello, and thanks for tuning in. So, in last week's episode, I talked about the work from home window. And I sort of jokingly said it might be more like an Overton Window before everything is said and done. And now here we are said as Heath Ledger's version of the Joker, and here we go. Elon Musk basically blew up the internet because he decided he wasn't even going to wait for a full tilt recession, a severe market contraction, high unemployment rates, some kind of launching pad, which I personally believe corporate America will utilize to push hard and heavy for return to Office policies. He didn't even wait for anything like that to happen. He just decided to hell with it. I'm going to cause my own earthquake and say, remote work is no longer acceptable. And when I first saw the headline, I thought, Is this a joke? Or is this serious. But once it became clear that it wasn't some kind of praying, or it wasn't a leaked email that turned out to not even be authentic, when he stepped up and took credit for sending it, everyone collectively was like, oh, boy, here, here it is. This is reality now, and I wasn't entirely surprised by it, because I've been waving this banner for quite some time now of like, hey, this could happen if you have enjoyed the ability to work remotely. And it's important to you to continue to do so you need to read the fine print. And you also need to read the room, you need to get a vibe for whether the managers at the company that you work for are really pushing RTO if they had their druthers is it sort of like room good, we've put up with you guys working from home, because you know, pandemic and global death flu that tried to wipe everyone out. But now it's time to come on back. Like you, you need to read the room, you need to catch the vibe. One of the worst things that you can do is live in a state of denial. Now, I don't advocate for a state of paranoia and being hyper vigilant and anxious all the time, no Chicken Little The sky is falling mentality. But you also don't want to bury your head in the sand. You know, I wrote about a post on LinkedIn, where a study was conducted and seven out of 10 tech workers that had company technology in their home didn't actually think that their employer was using it to surveil them in any way. And I'm like, that is knocking futz. What planet do you live on? Where you can honestly think that you have their tech in your home and they're not using it to watch what you're doing? That must be sugar cane and gumdrops and lollipops land? Because I It boggles my mind that anybody could be that naive. I don't know if it's naivete, per se, if it's a strong level of denial. But I mean, seriously, wake up. Let me try to hit that with some echo. If I can wake up, up, up, up up, and the push for return to Office and the cancellation of working from home. You don't want to live in a state of denial about that either. Oh, well, my employer would just never I mean, all of us love working from home and they would dismiss or cancel it and demand we all come back to the office. Right? Right. Well, not so fast. A lot of major companies with power brokers in this country, for better or for worse. You know, I've talked before about George Carlin stand up, but it's one big club and you and I are not in it. These massive companies with actual power brokers, but places like JP Morgan Chase and Goldman Sachs now we have Tesla and SpaceX run by Elon Musk saying no, no, we really want you to come home back to the office. If you think that that couldn't trickle down to wherever you're working. And that managers within your company couldn't suddenly feel empowered to say, No, you need to need to come back. You either need to be here full time again and go back to you know, playing pretend it's 2019 where you need to be here on some kind of asinine hybrid work model or it's your job. I mean, Elon was like, do this or there's the door. Point blank. He did Leave some kind of wiggle room and say I will evaluate work from home on a case by case basis. But let's be honest, I mean, most people are not going to go to the CEO of the company and say, Well, I want to be evaluated, I want to be one of the people who feels I have a compelling reason to work from home, they'll just leave, it's typically easier to find another job than it is to try to make some kind of case to a tyrant. So I will read now from an article in USA Today covering the Elon Musk story naturally, I will drop a link to it in the write up for this episode, so that you can read it for yourself. Here we go. Elon Musk reportedly wants employees at Tesla and SpaceX to return to the office or find another job. The world's richest man and the two companies founder send an email to employees demanding they work a minimum of 40 hours per week in the office. According to reports from Reuters and the New York Times. If you don't show up, we will assume you have resigned reads the email reports Reuters, which cites two anonymous sources verifying its authenticity. In an email obtained by the New York Times Musk makes a similar directive to employees of his aerospace company, SpaceX Tesla which dissolved this public relations department. Imagine that could not be immediately reached for comment. When asked on Twitter by the blog, whole Mars catalog about the Tesla email and remote work, Musk responded they should pretend to work somewhere else in quote. Wow. Yeah. So I don't live in a Pollyanna world. You know, I It's like I said before people getting them sugar plums and gumdrops mentality of Oh, my employer would never spy on me. My employer would never demand our to ride. I know that there are people who have used work from home as an opportunity to do basically nothing. Here's a newsflash, there are people who can sit but in seat in an office and do basically nothing. I used to work with a guy and I don't know where he went. It reminds me of the scripture that in the Bible that says something like to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord. I guess he was present with the Lord a lot because he would be sitting there, his body would be at his desk, and the computer would be up and his phone would be on and all of that. But like he, in his mind, he was somewhere else. It was almost like he could go catatonic at work. I've never seen anything like it before, it was an intense, next level of zoning out. There was another company where I worked where a guy eventually got fired, it was not immediate, but it was determined that he was taking an extension cord. True truth is stranger than fiction. He was taking an extension cord into the men's room. And he would put the extension cord into the wall outlet and then run it as as kind of like close to the wall as he could trying to be discreet, and he would plug his cell phone charger into this extension cord. And he would sit on the toilet and a stall in the men's room for hours. I mean, he could just go in there and play with his phone, on the toilet in the men's room for hours. I mean, I don't I don't even know how you do that without the entire lower half of your body going numb, let alone the sanitation issue without just sitting in a smelly nasty men's bathroom for that length of time. But my point is, yes, you can goof off and do basically nothing at home. There are also people who have mastered the art of goofing off and doing basically nothing in an office. To me, it's not really about the location. It's more so about that person's own individual drive. It's about the work requirements. Are you asking somebody to do a job that is not well thought out? It has a lot of repetitive and unnecessary steps that could be eliminated for better efficiency. Do you have the kind of company culture where if an employee doing the job raises their hand and says hey, I've noticed that we have a redundancy here or I've noticed that customers continually complain about X, Y and Z like is there some way that we can fix this and you go Shut up peon. I don't want to hear from you. Only management makes the rolls around here. We don't want any feedback. You're cutting your own throat. You know some jobs need to be improved for efficiency and to eliminate bullcrap nonsense. I believe me I see at an HR all the time. Let's have eight different interviews and let's call somebody in to meet with people they're never even going to work with and do tasks that are irrelevant to the job. There are companies in the hiring process that can pletely cut their own throat, believe me. So people can get bored, frustrated and tuned out in a cubicle or in an office just as easily as they can at home. And I understand the argument that frequently gets made of Yeah, but I mean, they have more privacy, there's more temptation. Like that stupid Bo Jo, quote that I was talking about in the last episode, you get to tempted by coffee and cheese, if you work from home, and it's like, well, that's not true for everybody. And I legit feel sorry for someone who feels like the only way that I can be productive in my life is to have someone standing over the top of me, watching me, if I don't have a manager from hell, that wants to treat me like a toddler, baby, I just won't get anything accomplished. Like, I feel sorry, if that's your situation in life. But it is not the situation of a lot of people. I think most responsible adults want to be treated as responsible adults, that there seems to be a form of toxic company culture that says instead of weeding out the bad apples, instead of punishing the offender who really perpetrated something bad against the company, we want to punish everybody. I worked for a company where that was the case. And it was awful. Instead of calling someone aside privately and saying, Hey, you did X, Y, and Z, and it is not acceptable here, one more infraction, and you're fired, or whatever, instead of calling them privately and saying, here's what you did. And here's the ramifications of it, we would all get called into the conference room. We would all be spoken down to like we were toddlers or errant school children. And they wouldn't ever it was it was always like vagaries. They wouldn't get into Okay, well, here's exactly what happened. It was like, well, we've got this new policy, and we want to tell everybody about it. Because if you do A, B, C, D, then you're going to be fired. And we're going to look at all of you through eyes of suspicion and act like you're all guilty, even though literally one person in his whole freaking company did this infraction that pissed us off, we're going to punish all of you. And we're going to condescend to all of you stuff like that, Oh, I get a headache. Just thinking about it, just having a memory of what it was like to have my workflow interrupted, to get chastised like a kid for something that I had no part in. But there are companies out there that have that kind of toxic company culture, where if one person does something that they disagree with, they want to punish everybody. If one person scans the system and takes advantage, they want to punish everyone, and they want to treat everyone as though they're all thieves. They're all just punching in in the morning and doing basically nothing. And it's like, the proof should be in the pudding. I would consider myself to be very results oriented. And I don't like to work with clients who want to get bogged down in minutiae, and who want to get bogged down in processes, hold my hand, Lady consultant, and help me understand everything that you did walk me through from point A to point to point and it's like, no, that's not a service that I'm willing to provide for you. You've hired me as an outsource consultant, a hired gun on the outside of your company to produce a result, not to walk you through my process I got up at this time, and then I use the bathroom and then I fixed my breakfast, and then I had coffee and it no, like, no, that's ridiculous. I'm not going to do all of that. So to me, the end result is what's ultimately King. That's what's going to show if you've been productive or you haven't. And if the client has some kind of unrealistic expectation, and you can go back to them and say, Alright, here's the effort that I put forth. And nobody is interested in this job because you're good 30% below fair market value on your salary, or you had unrealistic expectations, because there's no way that a supplier can get these materials to us on the turnaround that you set forth. Of course, you want to explain things to the client so they understand what's going on. My point is, you don't want to get hooked up with people that are going to just micromanage the ever loving hell out of you. I feel like that's another form of toxic company culture where everything is accusatory everything is you're the enemy. It's like rules for the but not for me. You create that kind of us versus them. company culture where the here's management, here's the fat cats, here's ownership and then here are the peons below. Now the peons need to just shut up and do what they're told. don't offer any suggestions. Don't try to make any improvements. You can't work from home anymore. Just come back button seat to the digital pan Opticon and hush your damn mouth. That That to me is what those types of environments some I have, you know, in my episode about how influencers can leave you broke, I talked about hustle culture and this idea of just work, work, work, work work, sometimes the work that you're doing might be pointless. You know, like the old cliche about insanity, doing the same thing over and over again yet hoping for a different result. I definitely fell into that trap. In my first iteration of self employment, I kept doing things that historically had worked for me before. But were getting me no traction in the market at all. It was like I had this idea of somebody out there's got a magic bullet either some coach I can hire, there's some consultant or business advisor I can get hooked up with that will show me the way. Or maybe if I just keep doing the same things that brought me success that made me a million dollar biller before maybe they'll work again. Right, right, right, you can work an 18 hour day and have nothing to show for it. So the idea that your process and the amount of efforting that you put into something really needs to matter. And we really need to have surveillance on that as proof. That's just such a load of bull to me, the end result is what's ultimately going to matter. Because if you worked and you worked, and you worked, and you worked, but you were inefficient, or you were doing things that just didn't make any sense, and you didn't get an outcome for anybody, then what was the point of it? So we have this collision of worker saying, due to the cost of living and the crazy inflation right now, the gas prices, the cost of food, the cost of childcare and eldercare. And the fact that we've we've gotten accustomed to being at home, we've built our lives around working from home for the past two years, and now you're saying your legs are getting cut off, it's time to come back, that's gonna create some massive financial hardship for us, like, how can we work this out. And then you have some company saying That's your problem. You know, inflation is high. So you need this job, right? I hate to sound pessimistic. But I'm, I'm still based on what I'm seeing going on out in the market, I'm still predicting that we will either have a recession, or some type of deep market contraction. If we don't go into a full tilt bear market. If we don't go into a full tilt recession, I still think that we're going to see some market corrections and market contractions. It's already happening with tech companies that got over valuated, they bloated up with their staff, they spent money, they didn't really have they duplicated positions. And we're also seeing hiring freezes and offers getting rescinded. I mean, some companies, they really got fever, like great resignation, fever, and they beefed up their HR and staffing departments to a point that was really not sustainable. They hired recruiters and HR professionals in at very high salaries that the company actually could not sustain for the long run. And they took a look at how many people they had on staff and said, Wait a minute, we overdid it, we got FOMO. And we got great resignation, fever, and now we need to cool off in reading the tea leaves in that situation, I just think that more companies that are really not committed to remote work deep down, they just have not seen the value in it, or they really care about control. They're going to demand are to and they're just going to say, well, inflation means you need your job, right? Instead of complaining about the high prices of gas and daycare and eldercare and all that that you now have to figure out again, after two years of not having to deal with that, oh, well figure it out or there's the door, figure it out or you don't have a job, figure it out. Or you're not going to be able to buy that high priced gasoline. Oh, and there's probably a food shortage on the way so good luck with food. Oh, and there hasn't been baby formula. So good luck with that. I mean, I really think that there's going to be I what I would call maybe a cruel backlash of like, okay, we've let you have this time to work from home because pandemic, because COVID We all had to rally together and do what was necessary to just survive to literally still have life on planet earth through this horrible situation. But now that the vaccines are out, people feel more comfortable, then you need to come on back. And if you don't, there's the door. And if you want to complain about inflation, then there's still the door. You can go find somebody else. I hope I'm wrong. I really do. But I think you need to consider your options. And always read the fine print. Caveat emptor, do your own due diligence, do your own research before you take another job and be sure they have a clear understanding of what their work from home or remote work policy is moving forward. Is it temporary for some amount of time? Do they have a manager that's really committed to return to office? is deep down. That person really thinks that there's just magic in being together in an office somewhere. Get things in writing, if at all possible, because a verbal agreement said during an interview is worth the paper it's printed on, which is absolutely nothing. It's not going to hold up in a court of law most likely yet talk to an attorney. You have any questions about that? I'm not a lawyer. But I would say that more than likely a passing comment made to you verbally during an interview is not going to hold much water if it if it came down to brass tacks. So protect yourself Caveat emptor and for the love of God, please do not live in a state of denial. We hope you enjoyed today's episode. If you haven't already, please take a quick second to subscribe to this podcast and share it with your friends. Thanks for tuning in. We'll see you next time.