Days of Change

Rules are Good

October 23, 2015

One of the differences between jobs now vs. the last century is the structure of the work. In the past, if you worked in a factory, or a mill, or at a farm, there were rules. There were strict start and end times. The work was repetitive. Things had to be set up, cleaned up and maintained on a schedule. In the last decades, modern labor forces have been reduced with technology. Also, plans known as systems were put in place to define how work could be made more efficient, if less intuitive.

I’m one of the people who writes rules and procedures. Besides writing rules, I am also evaluated on those procedures. I have to answer to the end users who may not understand them. I also have to answer to bosses who will never use them but still have opinions on them. Even with that, the worst thing that’s happening to work in this country is when rules are ignored.

I think that’s one reason why I’m incensed with this current administration. They ignore some rules, but use other rules to get what they want done. Democrats criticized filibusters six years ago, but threaten them now. If they don’t like one restriction, they use some other process and redefine it on the fly. The only recourse of the Republicans is to have a work stoppage. It’s become a game of chicken, and that doesn’t work for anyone.

I’m not a sports fan, but rule violation with no consequence makes me think of the Patriots and the ball deflation scandal. They knew the rules, they didn’t like the rules, so they skirted the rules instead of trying to change them. I suspect a rule change would have put other teams on a level playing field and the Patriots liked their special processĀ at the edge of legality. They still won and the important player received little punishment.

When rules are broken, things fall apart slowly. People have to make more decisions with less information. Workers get burned out. They quit. The whole operation suffers. When the overhaul eventually happens, the effort to fix things is much greater than the work that could have been done to keep things running. Government is broken. It keeps moving on. It won’t be that way forever.


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