Home > Ideas and Philosophy > You’re Just a Number on My Spreadsheet

You’re Just a Number on My Spreadsheet

September 12, 2015 Leave a comment Go to comments

For some people you’re just a number on their spreadsheet.  They have a line-item called “Human Resources,” with columns for “Performing Assets” and “Non-Performing Assets.”  And of course it’s preferable to be in the former column rather than in the latter.

For these people, the only time they will care to know a little more about your welfare is if you happen to be under the “Non-Performing Assets” column, only because whatever is affecting you is enough to the point that they’re not getting what they need from you.

Being counted under the “Performing Assets” column is all that matters to them.  They don’t care who the hell you are, what you do off the clock, or what even happens to you in your personal life.  Your family life could be dysfunctional in more ways than one.  You could be suffering from depression, financial stress, and a myriad of other things that life can burden you with.  But for as long as you’re doing your job, being reliable in giving them what they want from you, they simply don’t care.  It sounds harsh, but if you distil the idea to its core, it’s actually a form of respect.

Not caring about someone’s life beyond what you need that person for is a form of respect, albeit in a twisted sort of way, because it gives the person a sense of personal space.  You want someone who is reliable in getting the job done – nothing more, nothing less, and at the end of the day that’s the essential thing that matters anyway, to be brutally honest.  Getting involved, much less sparing a thought on what a person does outside of the scope defined for him, is an invasion of that person’s privacy in a matter of speaking, and is also a waste of one’s time.

In other words these people know it’s none of their business what you do outside of what they need from you.  For as long as you deliver what they expect from you, that’s all that matters to them.  And with that you can do as you please, or continue in your suffering – whatever, they just don’t care.

That being said, there’s also something worth saying about how one treats the people who give the service needed.  Until such time that the rise and fall of organizations are determined purely by machines, it’s up to the leaders of men to humanize the experience of the people working for them.  It’s therefore imperative for those in positions of authority to look after the best interests of the people that help make them successful in the first place.  This is not done for the sake of profitability.  This is done for the sake of being human.  If an organization is kind, then it’s because the people that run it are kind.  And done the right way, the boundaries of people’s lives don’t have to be crossed for this to happen, either.

“You’re just a number on my spreadsheet.”  It sounds harsh, because it is.  Speaking for myself, I can accept that principle applied to me.  Besides, I honestly will not care about the person applying that principle to me once I get what I need from that person, too, so I think we can call it “even.”

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Categories: Ideas and Philosophy
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