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Recently Austrian radio told me that one of the post office workers in the country simply tossed about 240 letters into the dust bin instead of delivering them. I have no idea why she did that, maybe her bag was too heavy, maybe she didn’t care, whatever. What she did was stupid and as a punishment, she is to work about 200 hours for the community. Maybe she will now collect garbage…

Couple of days later I was coming through Frankfurt airport on transit and I was appalled at what was going on there. From one of the biggest and most efficient – when you will not count ridiculously long walkways between terminals and gates – airports it became an example of ineffectiveness and wasted time. Security checks and passport control take forever. Oh, you can see a lot of work spaces for both border police and security agents, but those are not manned. Empty.

Both those experiences have something in common, at least for me. I think that big organisations in hot pursuit of savings and cutting costs went too far in such basic and important services as post delivery and security (and possibly many other areas). We must be crazy of we still trust in Austrian post office – how can you, when people who work there are tired, underpaid, overworked, underappreciated and in many cases simply overwhelmed by the responsibility. Same thing applies to security workers at airports – the conveyor assistants – those have even more on their backs, but getting more and more detached from the work. Some of those people should plainly not be there – they seemed not to have enough between their ears.

I have nothing against people with low IQ. Those have a right to work and live just as anyone else. But I have something against putting such people in jobs where either my life may depend on their ability to handle stress, dullness and routine and still be able to react correctly when needed. I don’t want stupid post workers, as I want to trust that organisation to deliver to me what was intended for me, this is basic trust in this service. If we will not put better people in such jobs, we may forget the post tradition or security in flight. The job seems to have outgrown the worker…

I am sure that there are also passionate people in both those jobs (as they are in many others) and I don’t want to offend anyone, my point is different and has nothing to do with those people per se. For less money (as in pay check) you get less quality (as in worker). Those people are not at fault – possibly we are…

Can we imagine such people as surgeons? Dentists? Nuclear reactor service men? Pilots? There are many routine jobs performed by people who are paid a lot and here we could apply the same principle in order to save money and cut costs, in order to make services cheaper or bottom line thicker. Will this happen? We really must be crazy…

 

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