I work at a store in Victoria City, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada and on my days off I go to the local main university library. The store I work at has 32 departments and it effectively has three floors, though one bottom floor is only used the in the spring and summer time for customer sales. The store is about the same size as the university library and to me the construct, architecturally of the store and the university are the same. Both the store and the university are businesses and both are corporations. One sells tangible products whereas the other sells intangible products. Both of the architecture buildings are about the same size as each other; and they both have very similar architectural designs of big blocks of cement cut into 3 zones or levels. To me, what I find remarkable is the level of quality in each organization. The educational institution library seems to me to be run inadequately whereas the store seems to be run on a skeleton crew who cover only critical veins and hubs, as in a crisis military outreach style. The library seems to have an abundance of paid staff members far exceeding the amount of labour available for the employee to actually perform. Whereas, in the store the employee is always actively working in a physical way; the library clerk sits passively at a desk awaiting one or two clients in a matter of a few hours time. One environment, the store, has 6000 customers coming through their doors and in the library there are about 20 clients coming through the doors per day. The academic library gets excessive government funding and the store cuts corners in an unethical and corrupt – but not a criminal way in order to keep ahead of the other stores competition. The sales clerk in the store is constantly on the move in the surveillance culture corporation and the library clerk in the university sits there day-dreaming about the open space and beautiful landscapes which surround the open windowed glass environment. The quality of life scales of the library clerk can clearly exceed the quality of life of the sales clerk in the store; whereas it is the sales clerk in the store that is operating more efficiently; is the fastest and the most competitive of all humans in design and has the quick on the fly answers to the human condition that go way beyond the call of duty of any communication skills acquired elsewhere in the human sector. Yet there is a stigma attached to the sales clerk and not the library clerk. This makes our society unfair; and the hardest worker, the sales clerk, not only has the hardest job out of the two jobs – but also encounters societal prejudice based on an assumption that the sales clerk is stupid and slow which is clear a false assumption; as it is the library clerk who is clearly stupid and slow.
Throughout the last 8 years I have been working for a big-box store in Victoria City, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada. Within that time frame there has been a lot of economical changes happened within the store. For example, 7 years ago they moved from one location to another location to create a Dry Grocery Department and a Produce Department, among other Departments. In total there have been 32 Departments. Seven years ago, when this specific store opened to the public, it promised the local municipality that it would continue to create jobs for the store. At the start, the store needed about 600 full-time employees with an average of 35 hours per week to man the store. Within 7 years; this number decreased to still about 600 paid employees but the amount of hours distributed among the 600 employees dropped to about 12 hours per week; creating a part-time employment versus a full-time employment service. The hours of banked employment hours has been reduced to less than half; hence saving the company a lot of money which goes directly towards the shareholders profits. This change in employment hours is important because of two reasons:
It indicates that the store is still holding up its side of the bargain to the municipality in which she operates (namely, 600 employees now and 600 employees 7 years ago)
It indicates that the humans who were employed within the company have evolved to be able to produce an incredible high volume of tasks within a very short amount of time leading to a massive efficiency on the scales of finance
This is just one example of how the human being has been able to evolve in a very vast way in a very short period of time. This fast evolution was the single most important factor in the development of this specific business in this specific job location. It was not the systems, nor the technology that contributed the most to the efficiency of the company; but the human evolution.
This component of the human evolution is what are are facing in our globalization in 2017. The human being, in the business industry is outsmarting him / herself in such a way as to over-take his / her own job. The employee has become to be so efficient in the job that this act alone is the factor which has caused this specific company to reduce the amount of hours provided to the employee. This has as the effect that the employee ends up becoming, in a way obsolete, from being too efficient in the work-place. The evolution of the work-place lags behind the abilities of the employee hence the company, in this specific instance, has created a new blue-print, as to slow down the process of the human development. This new blue-print has been created to contribute to the risk of the business. And this has been created on purpose because of the fast human capacity development. In order to curb the super human ability in the store; the store has created an intentional road-block to stop the progress of the employee because the employees development is too advanced for the store development as a whole. In other words, the production of the store is a lot slower then the speed of the workers.
If the store made X1 amount of dollars seven years ago, and is making close to X1 amount of dollars in year seven of the stores lifespan – with less hours per 600 employees then that means that 600 employees at full-time wages (when the store opened) versus 600 employees at part-time wages (after 7 years in the new store) are doing more constructive work for a fraction of the wages; but that the production of the store has not increased in productivity itself. To take it one step further, the company’s wealth in sales is not increasing; whereas the human capacity of the worker increased exponentially, within a 7 year time span; making the role of the worker almost obsolete.
This, in my opinion, is what is happening in our world today. The human has become super-human in business production; which is making the role of the human obsolete; because the work environment cannot keep up with the productivity. This means that the jobs in the future, are going to become obsolete for many human beings. Their finances which help their to pay their every day bills is going to be harder and harder to come by, which could result in the death of humanity, unless us humans try to come up with some brand-new economical solutions quickly. The representation of the “Island” in this post is to show that we humans are islands. The tides of the sea can come up fast, as in a rogue wave, and wipe us out. I believe the time is on the verge of being born; and as a human race we need to join together to create new plans and new economic ways of thinking in order to save ourselves as a human race.
Photograph of a Aldous Huxley book cover “Island.”