reply to post by windword
Interesting and thought-provoking thread, S/F!
I'm going to share an anecdote from my working years that I believe illustrates the "illusion" of free will:
I was working as a lowest-tier supervisor for a major hospitality corporation. There were 75 people in the department, all of whom were absolutely
CRITICAL to the functioning of the business -- that meaning, if they all called in sick on the same day, the place would necessarily have to shut its
doors so that only the handful of "management" would have time to do all the work required.
These people were hardworking; they showed up early every day, in their uniforms, lined up at the time clock to "punch in", no earlier than 7
minutes prior to their shift beginning, and clock out no later than 7 minutes after their shifts had ended.
Their workload was heavy; if there was not as much work to do, I was required to "call them and cancel their shift", so as to avoid "budget
overages." The most recently hired were ALWAYS the first to be called to cancel. The only way to be guaranteed a full shift - or a full week of
shifts - was to have been there longer than everyone else.
Most of these laborers were women in their child-bearing years; although the most "senior" ones were generally grandparents and not running
households with children in them...
Early in my tenure, it was allowed that women who were pregnant were temporarily allowed to go on "light duty", participating in less strenuous
tasks than the normal heavy lifting and rapid, vigorous labor of their "normal" duties. Once the babies were born, the women would return to their
normal strenuous duties.
Some months later, "Corporate" (for the purposes of this thread, "Corporate" = GOD) decided that this was no longer "profitable," so they
stopped the practice of allowing lighter duty during late pregnancy or injury/frailty. One senior laborer became pregnant and was at very HIGH RISK
for miscarriage. She had been there for years...and knew the "ropes" and had seen countless "light duty" transfers over her career.
It was my duty to inform her that she would not be allowed to take longer to do her shift, nor have help doing her shift, nor an alleviated workload.
She was told she must work JUST AS STRENUOUSLY, not getting any respite from how quickly she was required to do her work....and that if she wanted
leniency to AVOID A MISCARRIAGE, she would have to accept SHORTER HOURS. They would not even allow her colleague and good friend to continue to work
extra-fast and HELP HER, once they learned that was how the two had been "discreetly" working together toward a healthy outcome for her!
I was appalled. And my attitude showed it; I was, of course, called behind doors and "written up" for taking her side;
by then I had learned that appeals to charity and kindness were useless - the only way to "sway" management was to show them a pie chart of
repercussions on the BUSINESS LEVEL of PROFIT. Nevertheless, it was WRONG. And I would not "sell my soul" to protect the jobs or profit-margins of
I suggested the liability of disallowing this loyal, dedicated worker to be nurtured through her early pregnancy - if not simply because it was THE
RIGHT THING TO DO, then because IF SHE MISCARRIED, IT WOULD BE THEIR DOING.
I said to my senior manager, "It's not right!" She replied, "It doesn't matter if you agree with 'GOD' or not, you have to do what he says."
I said, "No, I don't. How do you sleep at night knowing what risk you are demanding she endure for your "profit" margin?"
"Well, it just is the way it is."
I quit the job, unable to support management that cared more about a 5-point font at the bottom of spread sheet that showed the department was 2% over
This was FREE WILL on my part; to do as 'GOD' commanded, even at the expense of another person and an UNBORN BABY, or to refuse to put her to that
risk. Might I have chosen to go along with 'GOD'? Of course, I "might have" IN THEORY - but in my HEART, I COULD NOT. There was no question: I
WOULD NOT DO IT.
Likewise, 'GOD's "open door policy" was merely a "surveillance and control tool" used to "weed out" the rogues.