The Lady or the Tiger

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The Lady or the Tiger

Burdensome Regulations Or Hubris

Seatbelts, stop signs, childproof caps, and warning signs for gasoline containers are a small price. Or, if you prefer fertilizer plant explosions taking lives and destroying homes for miles around, or lead in the blood of your children, you are free to adjust your personal price point and set a lower budget.  Use your savings for job creation of course. Burdensome regulations are one of those ‘eye of the beholder’ tropes, a ‘where you stand depends on where you sit’ kind of thing. So wherever you sit, consider this.

For instance, it might be considered burdensome if an organization were to agree to an exorbitant lease in prime DC right off K street and 14th, presumably to do business in the capitol where little evidence suggested any real business is possible, at least not cost effectively, or sustainably either, so they say now? Seriously renting an entire floor of a building under a 10-year lease? Can you be serious? With annual revenue in free fall, submission to a long-term DC real estate liability must have made an horrendous sound, like the soft thud of an obese old man with a red coif falling flat on his puffy face? What was wrong with a strip mall in Fredericksburg, again? Let’s just call it Hubris. Hubris is what is wrong. And she can be very burdensome, at least for dues-paying members; you know the ones stuck trying to pay the rent?

Proceeding with Hubris on your arm, it’s a short step to recruit an inexpensive legal beagle, there’s rent to pay, so anyone with papers and a simple DC bar chevron will do. Then gavel in hand, consorting with the usual suspects, the National Association of Manufacturers and the Chamber of Commerce, and others of that ilk, protests are joined against imagined “burdensome regulations”, referenced where in the mission? What is in the heart is a private matter for Hubris alone to contemplate in the dark bizarro depths of  the Trumpian mind. Compounding insults with injury, lashes are thrown with spite and spittle at any who are brave enough to protest this as the proper direction, or a prudent investment of a membership organization with scant resources depending on and representing members’ interests, with the putdown “you would not understand because you are not a lawyer”. Ouch, Hubris has a tongue! Here’s a handkerchief to wipe off the, what is that?  Spit?

Burdensome regulations are what the New Deal is all about, and the Civil Rights 60’s era too. Indeed, they are the single most salient characteristic of the last century, excepting forever wars. The Wagner Act, the Taft Hartley Act, the Fair Labor Standards Act, the Civil Rights Act, the Equal Pay Act, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, and other pieces of progressive legislation I am presently misremembering can fly the credential proudly attesting to their being burdensome regulations! Well, this answer causes heads to spin. Indeed, those of a certain political mania too often actually lose their heads over this fact. So we remind you, these are the law of the land. Have a little respect, please. I know you are impatient, my dear Hubris. Oh dear, are you frothing again?

My monthly bills are burdensome regulations. Hell the compensation function is one big burdensome regulation; considering that pay ranges, pay scales, job requirements, essential job functions, merit budgets, career ladders, don’t forget performance appraisals, and don’t even get me started on exec comp or benefits, are one giant morass of burden. Am I right? Were it not for the widespread practice and acceptance of these burdensome regulations there might be no compensation function in organizations – costing and budgeting would be managed by Finance, HR would concede that maths are hard and proceed to barter with line managers for ‘surrender with honor’ terms in the way employees are hired, promoted and compensated. And it would probably work ok, for the few, because bosses are often on a first name basis with Hubris. Let the others eat cake.

Borders are burdensome, so are speedlimits and zoning requirements, even taxes, but they are the price we pay for freedom in a sovereign land. So tell me again what is burdensome about adding aggregate pay data to the EEO-1 report? How many comp people even have anything to do with the EEO-1 prep? I mean really? I have never seen it mentioned on a comp resume, ever. The EEO-1 report is little mentioned as an essential job function by WorldatWork’s self-adulated practice analysis. But try getting your hands on that? Protected like a museum piece, this document, to the extent that it exists, is guarded by scriveners in the shadows cutting and pasting furiously to gild the fact that there no longer is even a certification competency in this membership credentialing organization? Naw that would be burdensome to have a practice analysis conducted by experts, someone credentialed, and to make it transparent as a resource to membership would be — wait for it — too burdensome. What do the members need to know about a job model describing their own livelihood? The members pay their dues, and Hubris keeps their secrets. That’s the deal.

And speaking of credentials, why are there so so many many credentials, redundancy intended, most of us have lost count. Whereas big brother, it’s good to have family to fall back on in the end, SHRM has maybe two credentials managed by a third-party credentialing expert, HRCI, and they seem to be winning for the 20th+ year in a row as the premier HR membership and credentialing association. So how does it cost $10,000 to get credentialed, just once mind you, by WorldatWork consultant instructors looking to slip their card in your pocket and for what? How many initials will even fit on your resume? The printer’s out of toner, again.

As for me, give me burdensome regulations all day – the New Deal, Civil Rights, the compensation function and generations of compensation experts have created an occupation that has added value and created a culture of reward, at least in these United States, for these past many decades. Of course, past trends may not be indicative of future results.

So I give thanks, err, I should say I pray for equal pay, a workplace free of pay discrimination, and health care for all while we are at it, and all the other burdensome regulations that have given us the modern and uber successful workplace of these United States. We are already great, and getting greater bigly, thank you very much.

These burdensome regulations that WorldatWork preens about having defeated are not, they just are not. This is what we do for our organizations, for our careers. We manage compliance with the essential elements and norms of a civilized workplace, one that has been hard won by Americans, organized and at-will both, for the past 100 years. And if the National Association of Manufacturers or the Chamber of Commerce or anyone else does not like it, well then, it is their right to protest. They can suckle their cherished infatuation with their monied gallery of corporate thieves like Wells Fargo and Volkswagen and Countrywide to their hearts’ content. Tomorrow there will be others, it’s a fact. In this age of the ‘corporation as person’, can there be a stronger argument for burdensome regulations?

WorldatWork however should part company with Hubris and after the last 10 years this is painfully obvious. Just because membership is dwindling with the organization is no reason those left standing can be allowed to stand idly by, enabling further imprudential leadership to continue spending down diminishing capital, financial and membership both. WorldatWork would do well to drive a stake through the heart of Hubris and focus all their energies on the learning and affiliation needs of their membership. You don’t have to be a lawyer to understand this.


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