'Why Work Sucks and How to Fix It'

Can you imagine a workplace where output is more important than face-time? I always could. I used to tell reporters and photographers that there were no stories to be found in our building, and to get out into the community. Why were they sitting at their desks? Shoo!

Some took me at my word. Others either didn't believe that or were browbeaten by another editor who thought it was important to see their bright, shining faces across the room all day.

What were they supposed to be, the Emergency Press Release Response Team?

Talk about exasperating. How can people work that way? Who cares how many hours an employee puts in, as long as the work is done well?

Entrenched resistance dooms Results-Only Work Environment, says the book "Why Work Sucks and How to Fix It."

Read more from the authors and from reviewers over at Paulag01:
The biggest opposition we run into is the shift from focusing on time/number of hours worked (or perceived to be worked) to results. Moving to a ROWE takes a complete paradigm shift. ... Ultimately, we’re serving two masters under the current system: time and results. Until we completely eradicate time from the equation, we will never be fully invested in results.


  1. Right on. The scientific/academic research environment has been operating this way for decades with obvious productivity and great job satisfaction. And that applied even to administrative and support staff in the universities and hospitals where my husband and I spent our working life. The question on performance reviews was always "what have you accomplished" not "how many hours were you here." For those who just wanted to show up, sit around, and collect a paycheck it didn't work at all but they were weeded out pretty quickly where we worked.

  2. Hah!

    Emergency Press Release Response Team

    --EPRRT veteran

  3. Wednesday, I was green-lit to fly with our junior senator to a T. Boone Pickens town hall meeting. First, we stopped at the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation for a water pipeline dedication. I did both stories and in the process, picked up four story ideas, all project pieces. On the days that I do get stuck in the newsroom, my editors apologize for getting in my way - of being out. I walked out of work early today smiling. Being treated like a grownup responsible for my own time? Bliss.

  4. EPRRT. Double-plus bonus points!

  5. Isn't that the fun part of being a reporter - having the beauty of NOT having to sit at a desk all day? Why on earth would anybody (reporters OR editors) think the best way to report is from a desk? If the only stories in the paper were ones that were beamed in via press release or hunted down via phone or e-mail, I'd be seriously worried about the state of affairs in journalism. Oh, wait...

  6. If I were a new reporter like I was a new teacher at one time, I'd be petrified. Which I was. "Go in there by yourself with a bunch of strangers and work miracles." Yipes. Peer coaching and practical advice could make this concept work. I'm afraid most teacher prep program, and maybe journalism programs never touch on the practical side of the professions.

  7. Many of our local high school journalism programs used to do a pretty impressive job of teaching the practical side of journalism; unfortunately, scholastic journalism is a rare breed indeed these days. It's tragic.

  8. ROWE! Welcome to my soapbox! If this is such a struggle in a chase down the results industry like journalism, imagine trying to ignite that paradigm shift in government work! Check back in about 25 years...

  9. Bingo! It was the same way in teaching. We were told we "had to be visible"; the car seen in the parking lot well before and well after the kids were there. As if we wouldn't work at home,... till midnight.... yes, summers, too! It's about trust. They (administration) didn't trust that we were working our tails off to do the best job possible. Oh, sure, THEY knew we were working hard, but they were afraid the public wouldn't know that. they needed to educate our public that quality teaching isn't measured by cars in the parking lot. What if we were riding our bikes to work?

  10. EPRR Team. Makes me laugh. Even the interns should not be handed them. Editors maybe. Though I must confess, I am glad that someone does it.
    Oh wait. Not these days. Seems some of mine never feel the wet of ink.

  11. Yeah, Kelly, that's what's nice about being down here in Red Bluff. Since I take most of my own photos, it FORCES me to get out into the community even if I don't want to or feel like it. But of course, I love getting out into the community -- particularly this one. That's the rewarding part of the job -- meeting the people and hearing their interesting stories.