28 October 2015

Obedience and Submission

Before I quit working for my boss, I was assigned to be in charge of an employee that everyone hated.  The kid, Drew, wasn't a bad person, though he was little weird.  He was socially awkward, vegan, a distance runner, quiet, lacking confidence, kind of dumb, and incredibly stubborn.  Customers didn't like him because he was weird and different.  Coworkers didn't like him because he was weird and generally made everyone's life difficult.  My boss didn't particularly care for him, but kept him on because he was just productive enough to be a net positive, and was pretty clean cut, which made customers feel a little bit better.

Anyhow, the number one foreman, Mike, was in originally put in charge of training the guy.  Mike tapped out after one month and threatened to quit if my boss didn't have him work with someone else.  Since I was the number two foreman, he was assigned to me.  After about two months of working with him, I quit trying to train him.  He simply did not pick up on the new processes, and simply worked how he wished to work.  Sometimes his methods meshed my boss's processes, sometimes they did not.  As such, my method for dealing with the little shithead was to only assign him to tasks that matched his methods with the boss's processes.  I picked up the rest of the slack.

I found out, through the grapevine, that he quit approximately one month after I did.  No one missed him, at least at first.  However, after my boss hired on the new guys word came back to me that he tried to hire Drew back.  It turned out that the new hires were not only extremely green, they weren't particularly motivated either.  Thus, while Drew was nowhere close to being a good employee, he at least had some bit of competence, and was at least willing to put in overtime.

What I came to realize after hearing about all this was that while I was valuable for being submissive, Drew was still a little bit valuable because he was at least obedient.  By this I mean that he would show up to work on time, carry out the tasks he was assigned (at least by me), work overtime when requested/threatened, and maintained a clean-cut appearance.  However, he was never concerned with ensuring the boss turned a profit, nor did he ever really care about making the boss's life easier.  He viewed his job as a checklist for a paycheck, and never bothered to see the boss as anything other than a check-signer and order-giver.  That didn't make him completely useless, but it did make him rather less valuable in the eyes of my boss.

More to the point, there is a distinct difference between submission and obedience.  Submission is positive and outward-focused; obedience is negative and inward-focused.  Both are good, but the former is clearly superior.

To illustrate the difference, I would say that the mindset of obedience is to avoid facing the negative consequences of disobeying one's leader.  The mindset of submission is seeking to please one's leader.  The obedient is concerned about what happens to him while the submissive is concerned about what happens to the leader.  The obedient is focused on avoiding what is bad while the submissive is focused on bringing about good.

While obedience is better than disobedience, it is not close to being as good as submission. However, obedience is a necessary prerequisite to submission.  If one wishes to be powerful, one must make the journey from obedience to submission.

No comments:

Post a Comment