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Friday, July 29, 2011

Essay on "Someone is Stealing your Life" - Michael Ventura Essay

Michael Ventura, an American novelist, essayist and cultural critic, expresses his disgust over the reality that happens inside workplaces and says that the lives of the employees are being stolen by their employers. (Michael Ventura 1)  He argues that employees devote their entire life to their employers but they do not receive the wages or salaries commensurate for the effort they exert.  Employees may also receive incremental increases to their salaries or wages.  Employees may also receive health care benefits and be given two weeks of paid leaves every year.  Yet the employees do not receive enough for what they give to their employers.  He says that they do not even have the power to make fundamental decisions.  He compares employees to drones. (Michael Ventura 1)  Drones are male bees which live only to work for the entire colony.  They do exactly the same thing over and over without any more freedom than a prisoner.  While Michael Ventura draws his sentiments from his personal experiences for having worked as a typesetter, transcriber, proofreader, secretary, salesman, waiter, cement mixer, toilet scrubber and driver, I would like to prove that not all employees live like drones and that there are some employees who consider working as their most liberating experience.

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There is a semblance of truth to the statements of Ventura.  It must, however, be stressed that it is not the fault of his employer if he was not paid well and did not receive the right benefits as an employee.  It is an economic reality that if the supply is higher than the demand the price has the tendency to go down.  The same is true for the service being done by employees who are forced to accept low salaries because there are others more who can do the same job and at the same salary. 

If he feels that he has no authority over what he does as an employee maybe it is because his position in the company does not permit him to do so.  Companies have systems which must be observed by employees.  It is a system which must be complied with as the system is presumed to be the best way to get things done within the company.  For example, secretaries need to have a filing system for the records in the office.  A secretary cannot simply complain of not having the freedom or authority to do otherwise since that is how things are done and should be done in the office. 

Ventura also complained that the employers receive a lot more than the employees do.  Certainly employers who put up businesses should receive substantially higher than his employees.  Firstly, employers receive more because they took the risk by investing their life’s savings in the business.  Secondly, employers receive more because without them employees will have no job. Thirdly, while the contribution of the employees to the success of the business is not being questioned, employers receive more because their responsibilities are far greater compared to the responsibility of a rank-and-file employee.  For them, a simple mistake in management decision may cost the entire business.  For example, decisions of employers affect the entire corporation such that an employer who commits a mistake in leading the company to the wrong direction may result in the closure of the business.  On the other hand, a secretary who commits the mistake of making a typographical error in a letter or who loses a document may at any time rectify his mistake. 

 If Ventura says that his employer is stealing his life, I consider working as one of the most liberating experiences of my life.  Working has given me the opportunity to meet new friends and new people.  It has also taught me so many things I never learned from school.  For example, working has taught me to discipline myself in waking up very early in the morning because of the need to go to work.  It has taught me not to drink or stay up light if I know that I have plenty of work to do the following day.  Working also gave me financial independence as it helped me buy some things that I need for myself and for my family. 

There are indeed many downsides to working.  But there are also benefits and advantages in being given the opportunity to work.  I think every employee must learn to appreciate the little things in life. 

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