Thursday, June 05, 2008

Billionaire Penny-Pinching

Usually I write this blog from home, before I go to bed at night or before I leave for work in the morning. Today, things got busy and I never finished my draft from last night when suddenly it was time to leave for the subway. I had drafted an article about cynicism and my fears around the 2008 Presidential Election.

I sat at my desk, put out a couple of fires, logged-in to Blogger to publish my article when I noticed that my trash had not been emptied last night.

It had not been emptied the night before either, but yesterday I ate lunch at my desk and my trash can now holds day-old food scraps that smell.

I work for an organization that enjoys annual receipts in excess of a billion dollars, and I am always surprised where they cut-corners.

Though I have no concrete evidence, it seems that the cleaning contract they have made with the building does not provide for replacement workers if the worker who empties my trash barrel should be absent from his menial, low-paying job.

I wouldn't mind if this was the first time it happened, but it happens with regularity. And it is only an issue today because there are chicken scraps in my trash. It smells.

But I wonder what conversation takes place among administrators where thy think it's a good idea to cut back on the least-expensive staffing, in hopes of saving a few bucks. How much money can my employer and the landlord be saving by refusing to empty the trash?

If there are any administrators reading this, please let me know the logic behind cutting the staffing at the lowest level while increasing the salaries and bonuses of those at the top. How does this save money? When does safety and comfort become part of the bottom line? Is it really cheaper for me to sit with smelly trash in my office?

I can tell you that it certainly cuts into productivity, because I see three employees standing around a trash can discussing the smell, and this is the fourth time I've seen this take place in a single hour today.

Nobody is going to sit at their desk and work if there is smelly garbage permeating their space.

Throughout the year we probably save twenty grand on the annual cleaning contract, and we probably lose three-quarters of a million dollars in lost productivity as professionals and support staff chit-chat about the smell of Louise's tuna sandwich and Joshua's fried chicken bones.

Yeah, I'd love to see a videotape of the conversation where the chiefs and directors decided that it would be a good idea to reduce the cost of the cleaning contract.

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