“The Warehouse,” today’s excerpt from The Dysfunctional Workplace: Theory, Stories, and Practice is about the truly dark side of the workplace, where protecting one’s ego becomes the primary consideration for decision making.
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The next day Bob met with the owner, a surgeon who had been recruited to the area because there were few healthcare providers. The surgeon not only owned the plant, but he also owned a car dealership that he said might soon go bankrupt due to a major embezzlement. As the meeting began the owner was looking through a stack of index cards. He explained that he was financially strapped and that he had to find hundreds of thousands of dollars to build a new warehouse. The index cards were names of patients who might be talked into having different types of elective surgery–the answer to his cash flow problem.
Bob eventually mentioned to the surgeon/owner that the warehouse was full of spoiled inventory–about 40%, based on a quick count of linear shelf space that he had done in a few minutes after the tour. Bob suggested that if he sold the inventory to big discount store down the street for cost of materials, he would not have to build a warehouse, and he would in fact have a major cash infusion. The owner, being a surgeon, was dependent on the plant manager and a nearby university faculty member who served as a consultant to run the plant efficiently. He was surprised but also ecstatic about the possibilities and he immediately gave the order to his sales manager to sell the spoiled inventory. In a few days the sale was made and trucks delivered the inventory, clearing out the warehouse.
Bob returned home feeling as though he had made a timely contribution to problem solving, albeit passing the problem onto the discount store, not noted in all instances for selling high quality products. Within a week, however, he was informed that he was being terminated. When he inquired about this with the sales manager, he was told that the idea to sell the spoiled inventory had embarrassed both the plant manager and the university professor/consultant. They had lost face with the owner and were furious. His head had to roll.
For more, read a discussion with the authors: Dysfunctional Workplace reading guide
THE DYSFUNCTIONAL WORKPLACE
Theory, Stories, and Practice
Seth Allcorn and Howard F. Stein
ISBN: 978-0-8262-2065-3 • Hardcover • 220 pp. • 6 x 9