On Value

There’s big challenge working in big organisations. Transperancy is lost as decisions trickle down. The why? The who? The how long? But what if? It all spins into the feelings of what am I doing here? What contribution am I having and what is the value of my contributions? Assuming there are diminishing returns, like a cliff face, to motivation in paychecks, then the work we do is very important.

I once read a story about some prisoners of war. They were captured by Russian soldiers and put into a prison camp. There they endured winters and tough conditions non-stop. Their outlook looked bleak in itself, but the prison wardens ran a task on the prisoners that made their outlook look even bleaker.

Prisoners were tasked with meaningless work. Their days were meaningless. One of such tasks was to move a ton of rocks from one hold, to another. It would take hours and hours to move such rubble to each location. But the kicker, once the rubble was moved, their task was to then move the rubble back to the previous location. This was a torture tactic, a tactic to instill a sense of absolute no value to the human condition and all efforts are futile.

Now taking that to a corporate environment, there is trust. Sometimes top down decisions come down that are detached, but we trust in those decisions have been thought through and vetted before handed down via action items. It happens. But it hurts. It hurts in that the executers of work aren’t attached to the value.