A rant about company 'contests' and other dubious tactics to get you to work harder

The tutoring branch I currently work for is having a ‘enthusiasm contest’. One of the priorities they have about employees there is enthusiasm, enthusiasm, enthusiasm. So, every now and then, they will have a ‘contest’ to see who the most enthusiastic employee that month.

The reward is a $50 bonus- a pittance perhaps (though its two days wages at this job), but for poor college students like me any little bit matters (especially since my other jobs don’t start up again until Fall). Lately I have been extremely frustrated by the parameters of this contest, for a number of reasons. The way they find out who is the most enthusiastic employee is by having a ‘vote’ amongst the managers regarding who they considered the most enthusiastic person that day. So the person with the most ‘enthusiastic person of the day’ votes wins. He’s what bugs me about it-

-It is biased towards employees who get scheduled to work the most days. There’s no way to get voted on a day you don’t work, so if you are only scheduled to work 1/3 of the days as somebody else, chances are they will have an enormous advantage over you in getting votes. Even if you get voted every day you were there, you could still lose simply because someone else worked more than you that month. This month is a perfect example- the week before the contest started, I was working every day the center was open, and worked much of the time the center was open each day. The week the contest started, I wasn’t scheduled to work AT ALL :mad: I BEGGED them to schedule me to work, but they wouldn’t do it. And nobody asked me to cover for them. So I’m a week behind.

-It causes many employees to act more passive-agressive around each other; people are so desperate for a lousy fifty bucks they stop complaining about things that should be voiced, thus the normally pleasant atmosphere of working there gets dropped a couple of notches.

-The coaches talk in louder voices…I guess they think loud=enthusiastic but what it does is makes the center noisy by causing kids to get loud and chatty, something we’re always trying to curb. Parents complain when it gets too noisy, which makes the whole concept counterproductive.

-People try so hard to win that their version of ‘enthusiastic’ that they act like salesmen in TV commercials for used cars. Look- if a six-year-old can tell you’re just pretending to be excited, then you’re trying too hard.

I suggest you wear 37 pieces of flair. That ought to do it.

Now that was laugh-out-loud funny! :smiley:

I hate feeling pressured to work harder. Look, if I’m going to be productive over a long period of time then I need to slack off on occasion, take it easy, and go at a good pace that doesnt leave me a stressball workaholic. There are more things I care about then my job and anyone who demands that work be the absolute focus of all of one’s energy are crazy. I think it helps a company when employees feel open to have somewhat of a “who cares” attitude about some things. Otherwise we’re all gonna be crazy perfectionists who care about everything.

Jesus, AerynSun, you must have worked for the same restaurant company I did.

One retail establishment I worked for had a monthly contest. The particulars were written down, then placed in a signed, sealed envelope that was opened on the last day of the month. As we did not know what we were being judged on, we were inclined to strive to do our best in every aspect of our jobs.

I have a friend who LIVES for those stupid contests. She made a pretty big error at her job last year and was disqualified from winning any contests for a year. She was lucky to keep her job. She actually went to her boss the other day and complained because if she can’t win anything, what motivation does she have to do her best. I hate that kind of attitude.

I get so sick of her selfish , me me me attitude that when she crosses the line into ridiculous I usually tell her. She’s in sales so I reminded her that her incentive to do her best is the higher pay she gets from increased commissions, she didn’t seem to understand what a whiny baby she was being.

I also told her that she shouldn’t be reminding everyone of what happened last year, but that’s a whole different story.

I really don’t want to talk about my flair right now. :mad:

:wink:

She actually asked her boss that? :eek:

I think my boss would answer: “Your motivation should be to keep your job.” What a moron.

I hate those contests too. Not just because of the manipulation factor, but because of how vulture like the other employees become. I dont’ always think it’s the money. They just have to win at all costs.

They give you money!?!? When the company I work for has a motivational contest the winners receive gift certificates redeemable only at the company store.

Essentially, it’s a 50 dollar reward for the best acting, then? That’s ridiculous. WTF are they thinking?

They should just give everybody the measly 50 bucks and see if that helps anybody’s enthusiasm.

Usually, my people get cash bonuses twice per year. This year, a couple of them came to me and asked if I’d be interested in sending them here instead: www.driverforaday.com. Yeah, no problem but I’m going too then, looks like fun :slight_smile:

I’d rather pay my people to take a day off and have fun, enjoy their lives a little bit than hold a 50 dollar bill over their heads for an ACT for heaven’s sakes.

You really need to see Office Space.

(bolding mine)

In my experience, people who are successful in sales are lousy human beings. This is because the industry “selects” for traits like manipulation, disrespect of boundaries (AKA “persistence”), half-truthing, pathological competitive drive, and betrayal of fellow employees, which are awesome traits to have in a salesperson and terrible ones to have in a friend. Just IMO.

Sorry…I was just picturing the Farscape chick wearing a Chachki’s uniform and serving “shooters” and “tater-skins”.

I can’t imagine anything to motivate me in a job that paid $25 a day.

I’ve never even HEARD of Office Space. I’ve heard of Farscape, but I don’t know who the chick in the Chachki’s uniform is. BUT. I remember AUDITIONING (let me repeat that for the irony-impaired: AUDITIONING) for a job as a cocktail waitress in a trendy singles bar back in the early '80s. And I remember all my pieces of “flair” being counted every night as I signed in. And I remember sales contests among the staff there, and I also remember when management advised me to stop counting my tips in front of other servers, as I was screwing up the averages.
:smiley:

In a previous life, we had tests and the high score got prizes. I won three weeks in a row and another employee charged me with cheating. I told the powers that be I did not cheat, I studyed for the tests.

The employee called that cheating. How did I know what to study? The test subjects were told to us a week ahead of time. He no longer works there. I have moved on too.

Your boss didn’t say this to motivate you and your co-workers, did he?

Did you have to sell your soul for them?