Tuesday, September 16, 2008

B*A*G Book Notes - Why Work Sucks Chapter Two

This Thing We Call Sludge(sm)

Sludge wonderful sludge. How can I make people look bad without it? Sludge wonderful sludge. Is there anything you can do about it? Sludge wonderful sludge. You might as well just shout it.

"SLUDGE" Say it and you visualize walking through mucky, black, slimy stuff. It slows you down. Makes you feel like you've gained 20 lbs and just is not good stuff. Here is Cali and Jody's definition from page 30, Chapter 1. Why Work Suck and How to Fix It.

"We call this kind of judgement Sludge (sm). Sludge is the negative commentary that occurs naturally in workplace and is based on the beliefs about time and work. ......When we judge people- we Sludge them - we are expressing outdated attitudes about time and about what work looks like and how it gets done. ...... We judge to make ourselves look better, to show other people (and ourselves) that we're the hardest working, we're the most dedicated."

Since reading this chapter I have become acutely aware of this practice. I have Sludged and I have been Sludged. One main point about this commentary is that is takes the attention off of results.

Chapter 2 also challenges the notion that flex time will give people work life balance. Flex time is not the same as results only work environment. And they say the issue is about trust. Typically flex time includes a bunch of BUTS and is only given to the privileged few. We trust you but let's try have this as a trial. We trust you but not so and so. The say, "....they only thing worse than complete mistrust is mistrust masquerading as trust."

Now back to the Sludge. There are three types of Sludge:

  1. Sludge Anticipation - anxiety from expecting judgement from co-workers.
  2. Sludge Justification - the excuses you rehearse to justify why you left early.
  3. Back Sludge - Talking about other workers when they are not present.

All sounds like unproductive dysfunctional finger pointing to me. Hey we have all done this at least once. So, the first thing is to not accept Sludge and start making judgements based on their ability to meet goals and their performance. Again it turns the energy toward results.

I believe Sludge is negative energy. I will not accept it. We will go get some butt kicking results without it.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

SLUDGE- New Acronym! S- Sisters L- Leading U- Unbelievably D- Diligent G- Goal E- Experiences.
The 80's were about engineering, the 90 was about reengineering, I believe the success of the next 20 years will be about relationships! Positive energy at work and in life will fuel us all and the sky is the limit. I believe in work balance and my staff knows it is always "family first". We need to give ourselves permission to live our lives guilt free of what others may think, be responsible about our time, and just get the job done. Sometimes we break and need fixing and the time it takes to put back all the pieces. Everyone is entitled to build that human spirit again. Then when they come back to work they are refreshed and ready to face all the challenges. Work Life balance is different for everyone. It may mean that I work straight hours and that works for me or for someone else it may mean I take a class mid day and have to pick up my daughter at school at 3:30, but can make sure that I get my time and the job done. Whatever it means for you, live it the way you need to and the old sludge will eventually see how well it works and may want to join the sisterhood of the new SLUDGE! Thanks Kim- Feel the love from the Rustic Lady!