Every Monday, contract employees filled a conference room. A live feed video of satellite office teams projected upon a screen and always had technical difficulties with sound or video. People sat in “teams.” No deviations. No exceptions. Every weekly meeting involved high energy clapping and shouting and cheers and fucking bullshit.
First we would be praised and promised dreams of wealth. Then the enforcer would take the stage and call people out on their lack of dedication to the grindstone and the oh so holy dollar. After the Kumbaya moment of make money brainwashing, the Enforcer takes to the stage saying “Wealth can be yours too. Just look at my custom tennis shoes that I dropped a whole grand on to prove that I shit money for breakfast. Follow up on your sales leads, or I will take them from you and make them mine.”
To be fair, the business is completely 100% legit. Additionally, if you are willing to be yelled at, passive aggressively and aggressively messaged about not meeting sales quotas and are willing to work 7 day weeks, the promised income does come. Or so I heard. I lasted all of one ride along with a trainer who gave me the truths and answers I asked for, so I quit before I even started.
However, I find the whole business practice and model problematic. My first hint should have been that a 3rd party recruitment agency found me. The second hint was the large group interview of 50+ people that preached sales pitch at us rather that talked with us. The third hint hint was having to shell of several hundred [insert your currency of choice here] to buy my own laptop and licensing. The fourth hint was the rhetoric at the weekly meetings that ranged from one extreme to another. My gut told me no at every single “hint,” but I did not listen. Thus, I now have something to write and think about, so there you go. The whole paying for my own licensing part was fair, the computer equipment not so much. That means that the company either a) does/did not have its shit together enough to provide for its employees, b) runs/ran a lean operation off the back of its employees, c) is/was utterly anomic or d) all of the above.
Thinking back, the whole purpose of those “group meetings” was likely to foster some sort of camaraderie. However, the intent so tilted towards a business purpose that any social function or cohesion became crushed under the weight of the ridiculousness and futility of it all.
This is an example of an unhealthy work environment. Legitimacy of business and business model does not directly translate into healthy or even acceptable practice.
My extremely short and unintentional ethnographic experience was many many months ago, but I have not forgotten. I am still left with the question: what is a healthy work environment? And how can that be described in positive non-generic terms, rather than by establishing what a healthy work environment is not.