Friday, December 03, 2021

Don Gone: Finally, the boss has been put in his place

There’s an anonymity in online rating which emboldens the passenger or traveller to criticise. The comfort of knowing that you need never see the person or place you’re rating ever again.

December 5, 2016 12:25:10 am
Employee representatives, advisory role, company, remuneration committees, company income, income distribution, work place, offices, india news, indian companies, indian express news Photo for representational purpose

In a bid to tackle corporate greed, the government in the UK is set to give workers a say in their bosses’ salaries. Employee representatives will get an advisory role on company remuneration committees, giving them a chance to point out why the chief doesn’t deserve an exorbitant amount. According to an article in The Sunday Times, companies will also have to publish pay ratios, showing the difference in pay between the chief executive and an average employee.

The dictionary meaning for boss is “to give (someone) orders in a domineering manner”. The synonyms are bully, dominate and browbeat. Happily, it appears the days of bosses’ “lording it around” (another synonym) are well and truly over. We live in a world where everybody rates everybody and the value they add (or don’t). You can complain about a restaurant on Zomato if you didn’t like the waiter’s face. Or run down a hotel that didn’t give you a discount you weren’t entitled to, with a subtle threat of posting a two-star review on Trip Advisor. In fact, I’ve started viewing their reviews with skepticism since every hotel I’ve stayed in recently, I’ve been bombarded by owners requesting glowing tributes on these sites. A niece of mine in college told me in all seriousness that this term she’s working on getting her Uber rating up and it’s as important as her GPA. After an alcohol-induced incident in an Uber, her score came down to a pathetic zero. Now they send her rickety cars with surly drivers. Too many misdemeanours, you could be bumped off the system entirely, your social life effectively over.

Similarly, you can now rate your superiors (and, what joy, if it’s someone who revels in making juniors squirm). However, there’s an anonymity in online rating which emboldens the passenger or traveller to criticise. The comfort of knowing that you need never see the person or place you’re rating ever again. It’s debatable how fair a rating up system in a company is, when the same pool of people are working together and their interpersonal relationships influence their perspectives. I’d really like to meet anyone who doesn’t think their boss is scandalously overpaid. But for a while now, the corporation as an evil entity has become synonymous with contemporary culture — in TV shows such as Billions or the very watchable Too Big To Fail. The boss, invariably, is a smug, self-centred megalomaniac whose salary keeps increasing while everybody else’s remains static.

Every working adult has known one, the boss from hell, who screams and yells and sends subordinates scurrying for cover. If you haven’t, it only means you haven’t been working long enough. So even if we’re still a long way off from the meek inheriting the earth, one must celebrate the humble office worker in a soulless steel building finding his voice. It’s justice that the boss, in addition to all his myriad responsibilities, will be forced to behave like he needs to win a popularity contest. Or there go his ratings. Something like the pointy-haired boss in the Dilbert cartoon who holds meetings to discuss the productivity of meetings. His favourite line is: “That’s not how it works.”

But it is. Indeed it is.

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