So much for balance

Jonathan Douglas (Letters, 4 May 2009) is right about the reason for the decline of ‘good old-fashioned’ British engineering know-how — that it has been crushed by the politically correct brigade and its obsession with rules that actually discourage it.

I was a senior member of an engineering team at a large firm until recently, and woe betide me when I asked for people to stay late to get a project back on course after it had gone off track. Some were more than willing but there were others — enough, in fact, to scupper the project — whose attitude was basically: ‘why should I?’, ‘what’s in it for me?’ or ‘that’s against my rights’.

The real joke (although not particularly funny as it turned out) was that they were parroting stuff they had been told by the firm’s own human-resources department about the importance of work/life balance and how ‘we are a caring employer that understands your needs’.

Well, most of them (including me) have got a much better work/life balance now because there is no work to worry about and we’re out of a job, partly, although not completely, because of the project that went wrong and that I was trying to salvage.

When the division was shut down, the people with the most to say about how unfair it all was were, on the whole, the same ones who were watching the clock four months earlier. Says it all really, doesn’t it?

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