Their despicability begins the first moment a new employee enters the workplace and looks up at the motto, for example, "Our people are our most important product." Important? If people are their most important product, then why, when automation can replace a worker, does "our most important product" get laid off faster than you can say "offshore?"
Employers' hypocrisy is particularly despicable at some universities and nonprofits as well as in some politicians' operations. They proclaim to champion worker rights yet, because it affects their bottom line, they turn into, well, Scrooge. For example, to skirt the minimum wage law, they convert would-be-paid positions into volunteer gigs and unpaid internships. To avoid having to pay benefits, they make some of their paid positions part-time and temp. Indeed, such employers do everything but prohibit employees from putting another piece of coal on the fire. "People are our most important product." Right.
Employers' hypocrisy extends well beyond hiring. Too many employers claim to welcome employee risk-taking and dissent but in practice, reward kiss-ups. Such employers demand supervisees work long and hard while they work short and easy, perhaps trying to mark time until their stock options vest and they can retire to Margaritaville. Such employers mouth catch-phrases like "work-life balance" but, in practice, define it as, "work any 12 hours a day you like."
Employers' suckiness – that's the technical term – is not limited to hypocrisy. Examples:
Bad employers save the worst for last. When they dump you, they often make it more demeaning than what the Puritans did to petty criminals: parading them before the villagers before locking them in the town square's stockade. Such employers make you carry out your possessions as the security guard marches you out, while the co-workers watch in pity and in fear they may be next.
Employers. Bah humbug!
Editor's note: Next week, Marty turns his ire away from the higher-ups to the employees.
The San Francisco Bay Guardian called Dr. Nemko "The Bay Area's Best Career Coach." His latest books are How to Do Life: What They Didn't Teach You in School and What's the Big Idea? 39 Disruptive Proposals for a Better America. He writes weekly for AOL.com as well as for USNews.com. More than 1,000 of his published writings are free on www.martynemko.com.