I know my institutions and can read their behavior
Many years ago, I friend of mine was negotiating his salary with his employer. To aid his efforts, he paid a friend who was an employment agent to advertise a job just like his and to offer a wonderful package.
My students at the time were all excited. The advertisement vindicated their choice of major. Yes, if they worked hard, they could follow an institutional path and be rich!!
Not even knowing my friend’s devious scheme (I found out later), I dismissed the advertisement with a contemptuous, “It’s a scam”.
See, I knew three things that my students didn’t know:
- The prevailing salary rates, not just in my profession, but in sister professions of accounting, marketing, etc. I knew what the market thought was reasonable.
- Business conditions and the amount of gross profit available for institutional careers (you know the one’s guaranteed by the taxpayer no matter how much you mess up)
- That people run institutions lie.
Before I worked as a work & organizational psychologist, I too thought institutions were honorable
I remember the first time I fell for an institutional scam. It was a painful experience and it took me years to get over it.
We trust institutions
When we are young, we believe that institutional leaders are honorable. Institutional leaders go to great lengths to make us believe that because that is their job. After all an institution is only an institution if it is stable and trusted. So they will tell you anything to have you believe they have done their job.
But we should remember that to check whether they are trustworthy
And that is why we must not trust them. We must ask for evidence. Hard, cold evidence. What are the career paths in the organization? Where are the statistics? What are the future scenarios for the organization? Can you look at them?
An institutional leader cannot use his own spin as evidence
Lord Mandelson is doing the right thing by making universities show students the destinations of graduates An institutional leader cannot hold up his own spin as evidence that he has succeeded in making order and stability for us. He was to show us the evidence.
In the days of the internet, data on the institution’s performance should be freely available
And I am afraid that if that in the days of the internet that if that evidence is not freely available on the internet in slurpable form – meaning that you can download the input data, not the processed data – then they obviously have something to hide.
Harsh words, I know
But remember my friend, and remember how my students were taken in.
Ask questions and the first question is ~ what happens when I ask?
First sign of scoundrels running the organization
If they don’t want to answer, or if they set up a meeting where we are doing all the answering and our questions come after they have made up their minds, then they are frauds. Then they are frauds and and we have found them out.
Disappointing, of course. Doubly disappointing. Trebly disappointing.
- We don’t get what we want.
- Institutions by definition should be honorable. So we don’t get what we want AND we know we have frauds in our midst.
- Institutions are usually paid for by the taxpayer. We don’t get what we want, we know you are trying to cheat us AND we are paying for you.
My priorities when you use public money to cheat me
Hmmph. Well for now, my priority must be to get what I need and want. Then I will participate to clear out the rotten institutions. Then I will think about recovering my money from you.
Is that the right order?
For the young & inexperienced
And if you are young and inexperienced, stop trusting institutions who don’t trust you with hard, cold data. Spin that they have done their job of making a safe, orderly environment for you is not evidence. Ask for the evidence. If they don’t have it, act accordingly ~ warily ~ get what you need and in due course, expose their shenanigans.