Saturday, August 27, 2011

Stalwart workers

They are intelligent, protective of their time away from work, and not especially interested in power, money, or becoming the boss. Thomas J. DeLong calls them “stalwart workers”:

Stop Ignoring the Stalwart Worker (Harvard Business Review Blogs, via Boing Boing)

[What I can’t figure out: how long have deLong’s people been spying on me? And you — are you a stalwart worker too?]

comments: 5

Elaine Fine said...

Me? I suppose they've been spying on our whole household!

Pete said...

Count me in. Norm Peterson (on Cheers) called us "cogs."

(un)Deniably Domestic said...

I am becoming far more a Stalwart worker. I have always protected my children's time - being a cheer mom, a tennis mom, a grandmother, etc.; however, as I age, I am learning to protect my time and my husband's time. I moved to teaching one section of Writing online this past year and found that not only my students, but my administration expected me to be available 24/7. I love my profession, but am learning that I need to love my time away from my profession. I need to be more than present, grading papers, at cheer practice and football games. I need to be cheering. I need to be resting. I need to be taking better care. It is cliche, I know, but life is just too short to grade essays all the time. Thank you. ~Kelly

Richard said...

My entirely unverified (and perhaps unverifiable) hunch is that the number of "stalwarts" has diminished significantly in the last decade and will continue to decline in coming years. Why? Because you can't have "stalwarts" without having reasonably stable organizations to employ them. And there seem to be fewer and fewer of those. And the ones that do still exist seem to be trying, as hard as they can, to do more and more with fewer and fewer employees (i.e., "overhead"). What this means, if I'm right, is that lots of folks who would prefer to be "stalwarts" in someone else's "well-oiled machine" are finding themselves self-employed, as freelance writers, consultants, sole-practitioner lawyers, etc., when that was never in their original game plan.

Michael Leddy said...

Thanks, everyone, for the comments.

I hear in deLong’s post an emphasis on modesty and autonomy rather than cog-ness — doing what needs to be done without calling attention to it. But that might be just another way of saying “cog.” :)

Kelly, I have never taught an online course, but what you describe seems to be the general curse of online teaching: the expectation that one is available at all times, like an 800- line (though even those often close for evenings and weekends).

Richard, a position with tenure probably makes me overestimate organizational stability. Traditional academic departments (with tenured or tenure-track members) seem to me much like monastic communities, with the same people working together for years and years and years, hardly the norm (no pun intended).