If You are an Employee Your Right to Complain is Limited

It has been way too long since I got some emotions out on this blog.  It took a lot out of me but I purposefully kept away from the election topic (other than some arguing on twitter) because I was so disillusioned with the two candidates.  But with recent stories like

I have been hearing way too much of the employee-mindset bitching and complaining to keep quiet anymore.

When you don’t own the company your opinion may mean jack shit; that is the risk you take when you have that job.  I think it is a mindset I just don’t have and can’t seem to understand.

  • If you don’t want to work on thanksgiving, quit.  If you knew they were going to make you work did you start looking for a new job months ago?
  • The fact that Papa John’s owner has a 40K square foot house literally means nothing to me.  He built an empire worth approximately $240,000,000 and if he doesn’t want to share it…he doesn’t have to.  Last time I checked we are still in America people.
  • Similarly, I could care less that the executives received bonuses.  I see that as a separate issue, executive compensation for the most part is taken care of by the Board of Directors which is voted on by the shareholders.  This is a shareholder-fraud issue if you ask me.  There is no way that an extra few million is going to make any type of difference in the scheme of things.

Should a boss or executive ignore anyone in the company? No. But can they? 100%.   I am not sure if it is innate in me, or if it is because of my parents or who my friends are but I can’t possibly even begin to understand the other side of the argument.  “It isn’t fair” is not a proper response.  There is no saying, “Life is fair.”

If/When I start my own business would I buy an extra boat before providing a 401(k) match to my employees? No, but is that my right?  What is the difference here? Is it just because the companies employ more than a handful?

I have two bosses, both awesome guys, who seem to generally want my opinion on business planning matters.  I have the ability to participate in management meetings multiple times a year, but I don’t think that same courtesy extends to everyone and anyone in the office (nor should it).

Similarly, when I worked for Vitamin Shoppe during college do you think I had *any* say in any of my benefits? Not a chance.  When I was a law clerk during law school do you think anyone said, “Evan, what do you think about our bonuses? You think they are ‘fair’?

If you hate your job step up and doing something about it.

  • Get your resume together
  • Apply for a ton of other jobs even if they aren’t perfect
  • Start figuring out if you can build something on the side

9 Responses to If You are an Employee Your Right to Complain is Limited

  1. As a business owner who takes the risks, much more than any employee, you have a right to do whatever you deem fit. For big biz it can be a slightly different issue, but it is then the board and shareholder who can complain about how the company is run.

    This isn’t to say you should treat employees like shit either. Employees are a resource, it’s up to you to determine how much value (or not) they add to your company. Employees always think they are worth more.. but the simple fact of the matter is you are paid what the market deems you are worth. If you think you aren’t getting market rates, find another job.

  2. I get irritated by the.complaining employees too. Yes it sucks but it is part of the job and you likely knew that when you took it. Start looking for better jobs if you are.unhappy with part of your current one.

    • I don’t buy that “Not everyone has the opportunity to change their circumstances.” You control your own life. Even applying to another job is a start. Not all retail jobs treat people the same?

  3. While I can see the point it seems dangerously close to “If you don’t like America leave” to me. Telling people that as an employee they should just be thankful they have a job and not do anything in an attempt to make it better is oversimplification at best, but likely borders on dangerous in reality.

    Once upon a time people probably told minority races that they should stop trying to change America and just leave if they didn’t like it. (I know this is a little extreme, but you did want to get emotions out right? ;) )

    I would simply add to your list of what to do if you hate your job “Attempt to enact positive change in the workplace.” This does not mean to complain loudly and do nothing. It does mean to identify problems and present solutions. If a problem in your mind is that the store is open Thanksgiving maybe you could present a solution of a sign-up sheet for working that day, or a small bit of extra compensation. Telling someone to leave and find something else without taking the context of their situation into account seems a little high and mighty to me.

    To put it another way, if you are an employee you should want your employer to succeed. That would (theoretically) lead to greater success for yourself as well. When you see something hindering that success your duty as an employee is to try and remove the hindrance, not go running off to another place where the grass may or may not be greener.

    There is a whole other discussion here on the idea that employees are simply resources and not people, but that seems outside the scope of this conversation.

    • I see the America vs. Employer as two very different things. One is fighting for someone’s rights, freedoms, etc. For example, I can write the post I did and then be pro-gay marriage b/c I see that as an equality issue. I don’t believe there needs to be an equality question between employee and employer.

      Your additions are very logical, but I think you are putting the post in context of a small employer where that might work out. It isn’t happening at a Walmart or a Target, but they should still be on the list.

Leave a reply


+ 8 = 16