6 responses to ““WORKERS” IS THAT A GOOD TERM?”

  1. Jeffrey


    Well intended I’m sure and I love your insights, yet this one seems to beg a comment. Thirty years ago, I was heading out on a long trip. I had lost my wallet the week before and failed to get a new one and was going overseas. It was Sunday afternoon and I was leaving from the airport early Monday morning. We didn’t have stores open on Sunday but called to see whether they’d be open in the morning. We called Enzler’s expecting to get an answring machine, no cell phones back then. What do you know, Mr. Enzler himself answered and invited us downtown to look at wallets and passport cases. To him we were “customers” and he was providing great service. I still get horrible service at Target from some “service providers” no matter whether I am called a “guest” or “customer”. In essence names are really meaningless. It’s what’s in ones heart that leads them to exceptional service, be they “workers” or “providers”.

  2. Brad

    Interesting idea, Rob, and thanks for the great story, Jeffrey. True, words have the power to create a context/ attitude. But performance is what matters. Whatever we call what we do, let’s do it well. Isn’t “work” done well still noble and worthwhile, however humble? Taking your logic one step further, Rob, couldn’t we also call ourselves “value providers” so we don’t forget what we do? A bit of a stretch, I think. Again, as Jeffrey noted in his comment, results trump everything — here he is, building the Enzler brand years later because of a great experience.

  3. Mohclips

    Workers smacks of labour unions to me and from reading certain UK labour union blogs they like that term. Or Bees.

    Why not “employees”:

    An employee may be defined as:

    “A person in the service of another under any contract of hire, express or implied, oral or written, where the employer has the power or right to control and direct the employee in the material details of how the work is to be performed.”

    All employees by definition are providing a service of some sort. Are they not? Whether its manual hard graft, or sitting on their behinds typing at a keyboard all day (like I do). 🙂

    I think this is to do with what a person thinks of themselves within that role as an employee. A lot of that belief comes from the company they work for they way they are treated and how that company i perceived externally. (see i’ve slipped in the word ‘work” there too, hmm, contract for maybe?).

    Anyway, service provider yes, but employee first and certainly not workers.

    Good article. 🙂

  4. Jeffrey

    Rich and others,

    Thanks for sharing all your comments. Work is not punishment by no means, and I catch your drift. The change agents in this regard have not been at any architecture firms I’ve worked at until recently. We seem to remain in an early industrial model of hire for a task and let go when the task is done. Which is fine if you haven’t expected a career or spent $100,000 on an education to be a professional. Don’t get me worng I am not complaining, I am just pointing out many educational systems ill prepare the young for the reality of working in the 21st century. Pedagogies, corporate systems (IBM, Honeywell, GE) simply don’t exist, if they ever really did. Or, if there is an “employment system” it is only for the few. Keep up the thinking on this issue. Our boy is being raised to “create” his own job, his own network of “customers”. It shoudl be exciting watching our country disengage from some of the fallacious beliefs we’ve been sold.

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