I’m a guy who believes in the evolution of consciousness. The paper pills in the pocket of Dr. Reefy in Sherwood Anderson’s Winesburg, Ohio, published in 1920, for example, were a literary device created to suggest the lunacy of Dr. Reefy. Just 48 years later, however, consciousness had evolved to the point at which no such literary devices were necessary to convey the lunacy that put Frederick Exley in the Avalon Valley facility in A Fan’s Notes.
But there are times at which what appears to be evolution is actually devolution — regression, rather than progression. Such conscious regression is manifest in a post from Quartz (“bracingly creative and intelligent journalism”) called, “It isn’t just new parents who deserve paid leave.” Things seemed to be humming along quite smoothly as the post advocated:
a patchwork of paid time off benefits, including various lengths of parental or bereavement leave, time off to care for elderly parents, and, in a tiny fraction of large firms, personal sabbaticals.
Dang! Spoke Too Soon
But as the post moved on to a favorable position on universal leaves — “whether with unlimited or a fixed number of days” — things ground to a screeching, sophomoric halt with this:
To be sure, if a universal leave became the norm, it may cause headaches for employers looking to backfill staff or redistribute work, especially if several employees were to temporarily disappear at once.
It may cause headaches for employers. Got that? The headaches are caused by the fact that (among other things, according to the post) “Millennials and their desire for freedom … are looking for any number of benefits that may or may not be because of caregiving responsibilities … They like flexibility, they like flexible hours, they like paid time off.” And they’re likely to be looking for those benefits before they’re looking to earn them, to pay any dues, to assume responsibility, or to be considerate of the employers from whom they should be earning those things and to whom they’re giving the headaches in question.
There’s STILL No Free Lunch
Why do we persist in cultivating people to believe anything is free? Why are we content to let consciousness evolve this way? Nothing is free. Any thing that anyone wants costs something. “Well, yeah, but it’s government funded.” No! It’s taxpayer funded! “Well, yeah, but my employer gives it to me.” Maybe he does. But he pays for it! That’s why you don’t have to!
This is another manifestation of The Law of Unintended Consequences: Employers started paying people for the time they take off as a means of attracting and retaining good people. What they’ve done, however unwittingly, is attract and retain ever-growing sets of expectations. “Well, yeah. But if I get this, I want that.”
Really? Then pay for that. Don’t assume your employment is just another form of social welfare.
Better yet, start a business. Run a business. Manage employees. Give them universal leave with unlimited or a fixed number of days. Try to maintain productivity. Try to maintain morale, so all those people with the ever-increasing expectations and senses of entitlement — you know, the ones to whom you give universal leave with unlimited or a fixed number of days — don’t end up becoming the well-poisoning sources of a malignant morale problem.
Oh. And while you’re at it, try to be consistently profitable.
Image by geralt, courtesy of pixabay.com.