Internet Defense League

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Burn 'em or not

One must wonder at what point does it make sense to hire another employee. Is it when the person is clocking more overtime hours than regular hours? Is it when the person is so tired he or she is wearing two different shoes or sleeps at the office? Or is it far sooner than those scenarios?

This happens throughout the commercial sector, I imagine. However, I frequently see this happening in the government. One person, a good friend of mine, is working three jobs with barely any compensation and has been in this situation for years. How he still works there and hasn't flown off the handle, I am not sure. And he's not the only one, just one of the more extreme cases.

In all honesty, I am not even sure where this topic came from, but I was thinking about the situation and the topic just popped into my head. The people that I know that are working far more than their job calls for typically are extremely hard, competent workers. I mean, as a boss, to whom are you going to assign the extra work--to the competent hard worker or the lazy, shiftless bastard?

There are a number of ways this affects employees. According to researchers, excessive overtime (working more than 12 hours per day), can increase the likelihood of injury by 37% (see Occupational and Environmental Medicine). I am not sure if that's limited to workplace injuries, but if it doesn't, think about that commute home during rush hour traffic where that employee is tired, frustrated, and dealing with incompetent drivers.

Further research shows that there is a 60% increase in heart disease by those people working more than 10 hours per day (see The Guardian). A number as high as 60% is no joke. However, even with these statistics, employers seem not to be dissuaded from overworking their employees.

Beyond the injuries, is the general morale and attitude of employees. When employees feel like they are being taken advantage of, even if they are being duly compensated (and government workers rarely are) their morale tends to nosedive, in turn reducing productivity. This is where you would think eyebrows get raised. If John is working 12 hour days, but only producing 10 hours worth of work, you would think that management would notice. However (and this is another area that encourages my soapboxism), employers rarely have quality defined metrics in which to determine whether their employees are productive.

Until the government (and other organizations, I suppose) get their heads out of their ... shoes, well, I imagine that we'll see an increase of stressed, frustrated workers making bad decisions. With the hiring freezes, the furloughs coming up, and the focus on reduction through attrition, I see no improvement in this area.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Weight Loss Progress

Near the beginning of this blog, I started by setting some goals for weight loss. My original goal was to hit 210 (from 233) by the end of March followed by another 10 pounds by roughly April or May. I wasn't setting too high of goals. Anyway, I hit the first goal with ease. I was actually down to 208. Two months later, I am still at 208. Of course, I suffered a herniated disc at C5-C6 (the cervical part of the spine) and that kept me from pretty much doing anything for a couple of months.

Well, that time is over. My neck and all of the associated pains are gone -- at least for now. It is now time for me to return to the gym and get back to exercising. I haven't weighed myself in a couple of days, but I believe I am running around 209, which isn't too bad since my dietary habits plummeted as well. Started off with a short run during the late evening. I plan on a light gym day tomorrow perhaps followed by a 30 minute quick walk for the fat burning efforts. And I will follow that up with a greasy, no, no, a healthy salad.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Self Preservation

The human body is a miraculous thing. One of the really cool things that the body has the ability to do is identify is when there is a problem and the general location. Okay, there are some exceptions, such as a pinched nerve that radiates pain in alternate body parts. However, most times, the issue can be easily remedied with exercise, diet, or medication.

This comes up because of an issue I had last week where I wasn't listening -- though my wife tells me that all of the time -- to my body. The kids and I were at a friend's farm hanging out watching a movie while the wood-burning stove. As we were watching the movie, I started to get cold, so I moved closer to the stove. After I'd warmed up, I moved back to the movie where I would soon get colder than before. Repeat about five times. I spent the night freezing and with a massive headache.

It wasn't till 5 AM (0500, for those that know how to tell time properly), that it occurred to me that I was in the midst of dehydration. It was the classic example: headache, abnormally cold, and parched. Of course, I wasn't paying attention. Eight glasses of water, a couple of Tylenol, and a number of hours later, I was feeling close to normal.

This leads me to paying attention to those things, not only in you, but around you as well. How frequently are the winds of change around us, but yet we hang on for a bit longer, usually until it's too late. Perhaps you're risk averse, just really content where you are, or are confident that your organization needs you.

If you are in a situation that is getting worse with time and is unlikely to improve in the relatively near future, you need to consider your alternatives. Perhaps those alternatives include minor adjustments such as leaving for work earlier to avoid traffic, having a talk with your boss/spouse/friend, looking for a new job, or even considering a complete career change. It seems to be too rare that waiting it out is an effective tactic. You'll end up bitter and frustrated, which doesn't only effect you, but those closest to you.