Tuesday, January 24, 2006

The Great Demotivators

I used to enjoy working. No, really, I did. I think that most of us are driven by some internal motivation to be productive. Whether that's through making stuff, making it easier to make stuff, selling stuff, etc., I think that a majority of us are interested in doing something other than sitting around watching 'the stories.' And I was. My product is completely intangible. Education is not easily quantified or counted or measured, despite popular belief. I always had to take those standardized test scores with a grain of salt to judge my effectiveness. But that wasn't my motivation. I was interested in making the next step easier for these kids. Whether that be a job, college, or whatever, I just wanted them to take away enough to make it a bit easier. And I'll do whatever it takes. 70 hour work week? Okay! Pile on some high-maintenance extra-curricular activity advisement, especially on weekends? Why not? Something made me want to keep pushing forward, no matter what kind of absolute shit they decided to throw my way.

Now I'm just fucking sick of it.

I hate to be so blunt about it, but it's really gotten old. And so quickly, too.

Exhibit A
"Boo hoo! If I'd have gotten one more point on one of my labs I didn't resubmit after you let me have the opportunity to rewrite it, I'd have had an 89.54% which is somehow magically an A."

So let's see... It didn't seem to matter to you last semester. Why the fuck does it matter now? Do you have any evidence? No. Do you have anything other than some vague recollection about something I kind of said? No.

I tried to be understanding. Maybe I miscommunicated something. I don't know. But when I went to fill out the form to change the grade so he could have his bullshit A, I just couldn't sign the paper. I kind of feel badly because I said I would. But I'd feel worse if I actually changed it.

Exhibit B
The W-2.

How can it be justified that 23.56% of my check is missing before I even get a chance to hack away at it more with insurance premiums and retirement contributions? Let's not even mention the fact that I'm still going to be paying property taxes, ad valorem taxes and sales tax on every item I buy. If they could figure out a way to do it, I'm sure they'd start assessing an oxygen tax. Respirate slower or pay the price!

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot?!?

Where is my profit motive? How can you tax me on my productivity? Let me get this straight. I don't do a damn thing, I don't pay any taxes. I start to become a benefit to society and OH!... I getting taxed! Huh?!? Somehow, that other 75% is supposed to be an incentive? Wha? It's absolutely criminal. I'd be locked up if I took 5% of someone's stuff, even if I were doing something nice in return like paving their driveway, mowing their lawn, shooting intruders, housing evacuees, etc.

Hell, I understand that we have to pay for roads, courts, law enforcement, and all that. But do I really have to put Sharnequa, her 5 babies, and a baby daddy or two up in the hotel for 6 months or more? A week or two? Maybe. Hell, it'd be nice if someone helped me a little if it turned out that it really wasn't a good idea to set up shop several feet below sea-level right by the sea. Wouldn't it be nice if the helpers had a choice? Especially between a few weeks and a few months? It seems like there are tons of lawyers willing to go to bat for the hotel dwelling folk. Where are the ones stepping up for the people footing the bill?

Two words. Fair Tax.

Somehow, I think I got off of my main point there. But where is my incentive to do better? Especially as an educator. Wait, I mean teacher. Did you know that pay is based solely on highest degree obtained and years of service? I do a good job, I get paid. I do a horrific job, I get paid. The same amount. The same amount! I'd get paid the same amount to watch kids walk around a track that I do teaching Advanced Placement Chemistry. Wow, I could get paid $20 something an hour to babysit? Sadly, yes. But I don't.

Damn that part of me that still wants to do a good job!