Multitasking , Overworked ? Be Glad That You Have a Job !

Life has changed greatly for most American workers at their place of employment.
It used to be that the role of the worker on a “modern” assembly line was to turn only one screw only and nothing more And to do what middle management told them to do and nothing else. This is certainly not the case any more. Not with globalization pushing multitasking, longer hours and the attitude “be glad you have a job”.

The chain of command has changed. Now rapid onslaught of information is available immediately for all employees. It is amazing the rapid rate of technological change and advances. The competitive pressures of globalization have combined to result in unpredictable staffing needs. Fundamental shifts in the workplace have occurred in terms of the structures of most organizations and businesses.

The shift is away from top down management directed companies towards “flat” or “horizontally” managed organizations. These horizontally managed organizations are said to be “team directed”. However in many cases it is left to the discretion and responsibility of the low man on the totem pole – that is the “front line” worker. . It is the front line worker most of all who is the forefront. Who instinctively knows the customer’s needs, demands and preferences? The front line worker is the one who is in the position to react quickly and promptly.

Companies have changed. Customers are in a position to”know”. Companies cannot buffalo them or give lame excuses anymore. There are lots of options. And that option may be a person answering the phone who may well in Bangalore India or Manila or in Buenos Aries Argentina. Although it may be said that the person answering the phone in India may have been born in a mud hut these workers and their systems are strictly first rate.

The questions are answered promptly and professionally in a good technical fashion. If the question can not be dealt with, the caller is quickly passed on to a more senior administrative level to a person who has more authority who solves the problem. At the worst the caller is politely informed you that he or she is out of their warranty period. Contrast that to an uppity tech support person in the “industrialized world” who puts you in a 15 tech support cue so that you can be told that you have the very privilege to speak to “tier level 2”. Lots of luck. And these sacrosanct people think they live in protected worlds. Look at the American automobile industry as a taste of protection in the new real world of globalization.

. Information is now available much quicker from almost anywhere in the world and from almost any location worldwide from workers at any level. Some say indeed that the pace is too quick and often there is no time for proper deliberation and consultation before decisions are made. Faxes, emails, cell phones, text messaging, blackberries all add to this quickening mix.

As such the current trend is not only towards more prompt results but also for larger. More complex workloads. Multitasking is the buzzword. And it going to get worse. Not only for middle management whose role of transferring information up and down the chart from upper management to the peons “on the line”. And then once more up and down again to lay down the rules. Middle management has been bypassed. And made redundant and of no real use. However it is also going to get worse and more demanding for front line workers who are already stretched past the limit. It is now not just a consideration but reality in the marketplace from competitors who have successfully outsourced and have now placed competitive forces on the firm just to stay in the game or the market so to speak. American consumers who as workers themselves and are being abused so to speak by globalization themselves have no compunctions or realize the long term results of their own preferences for shopping for goods produced by outsourcing. Goods which dominate in retail chains such as Wal-Mart of Costco. And the viscous circle is just beginning. .

In the end it is the ability to solve problems quickly, to be resourceful, to use technology to enhance productivity and to manage multiple priorities that will make you an essential part of the new management team along with the willingness to work longer but more flexible hours.