Acme office has four employees and a manager. All four employees have similar jobs with identical pay and perks. They are all expected to contribute to the company adequately and the manager is tasked with incentivizing to get the most out of them. The complication is that the employees are different people with different needs. Employee A sees his job as a stepping stone to a bigger job with more scope to keep rising. Employee B is purely concerned with the money he makes and is driven to make more however he can. C is one of the creative types, he wants to do his job with interest and minimal compromise. D wants security, stability and a stress-free life. They are all equally good workers so long as they are happy and the company wants to keep them happy. So how does the manager view and work the situation?
The manager is also a real person. He has certain cognitive biases that affect his choices. He may want to make his job easy and just use money as an incentive to please his employees. He may be of the idea that the job has to be done with pure interest and urge his employees to change their views and buy in on his model. He may be genuinely interested in his employees' welfare and may give them whatever they need without focusing entirely on company profit. Or he may be a dark lord and twist the whole situation to one where the employees are his mindless fearful servants who have forgotten what perks, fairness and a life are.
How many of us have already made our interpretations, judgements and choices on the matter? How similar are our choices? Is there a single formula or a handful of set formulae? Will our choices change with time and situation? Is employee B a bad person? Is the company evil because it is the company? Obviously management graduates and professionals are the apparent experts and have rolled their eyes a while ago. The rest of us still have to struggle along without the training because we have specific versions of the above highly simplistic situation to handle today and every day; mostly just to manage ourselves (How much of a break do I take? What sort of break? Am I entitled to this?). How we do that defines us entirely.
Now everybody is defined in his/her own way but I figure that there are three things that are involved in the process:
2. The formula
3. and the feedback
The non-negotiable is the backbone and everything needs to start with that. It is the condition that will never be sold for a price. There probably are situations where such structuredness may not be useful but those unstructured events are very temporary and hopefully not life staking. The hope is that the non-negotiable is an ethically positive thing like no matter what happens, I will not pirate music. Too many non-negotiables create practical problems too, turning you into a angry hippie.
The formula is to be built around the non-negotiables. It branches off the non-negotiables and can be changed with time and situation, many times needs to be. Even in the simplistic situation above, it is evident that one formula does not fit all. They all need different incentives which the company should hopefully be able to provide without getting sucked dry.
The feedback is what effects changes in the formula. Some even change their non-negotiables based on the feedback they get (referred to in ancient texts as kali kaalam).
The disaster situation. Also known as our life as it is now.
1. The non-negotiables belong to someone else
In other words, Parental pressure, peer pressure, job pressure, hot air pressure
2. The formula was downloaded from the interwebs.
In other words, I am baffled that the next big thing is not the same as the last big thing.
3. Poor feedback
In other words, am I truly happy?