The Opening Ceremonies are marching right down London's confused and clogged streets as Mitt Romney wins British hearts and minds, but few American employees say they'll bother to watch the Olympic Summer Games on the clock. No, they'll just keep right on kicking the competitive crap out of each other in their individual quest to reach the gold medal podium at work in the 50-meter office gossip dash and the synchronized skimming finals, thank you very much.
Forget about the shot put competition, because U.S. workers are busy throwing each other underneath the bus! A new Workplace Options/North Carolina firm of Public Policy Polling poll of more than 500 working Americans concludes that fewer than 1 in 5 U.S. workers (zero?) will be following the Olympics while they work. Younger employees in particular just don't care about the Olympics. Overall, the Olympic Games are generating far less interest among the American workforce these days than March Madness with its brackets, office pools and worried, productivity-prodding managers. So rest easy, average office manager: your workforce just isn't that into javelin.
But employees are getting more and more competitive against each other, if you believe a new OfficeTeam survey where about half (49%, to be exact) of more than 1,000 U.S. senior managers think employees are more competitive against each other today than they were 10 years ago. Um, yeah. We're in a freaking long recession and everyone is working very hard to stay employed. On top of that, everyone from the everyone-gets-a-trophy generation expects to get perfect 10s and win the gold medal just for showing up. Go figure.
But are bosses in an everyone-gets-a-gold-medal mindset, or are they harking back to the 1970s when teachers handed out first, second and third place ribbons in front of all the losers? Don't worry kids; watching someone else bask in their own glory is a good way to find out what you're not good at, and then you can walk home after school and ride your hand-me-down, banana seat bike without wearing a helmet. Simply put a tall, triangular orange safety flag on your bike so the person in the AMC Pacer can see you, and you're ready to go. Just be home for dinner. It really was survival of the fittest back then, when every young girl wanted to be Nadia.
Bottom line: the Olympics could be a sentimental (older) generational thing now, and many (young-ish) employees won't be watching the Olympics at work but they'll want to blow right past the co-worker on their left because nobody navigating this economy wants to look like they're staggering deliriously to the finish line like Gabriela Andersen-Schiess in the 1984 Olympic women's marathon. No one's gonna break-a my stride, no one's gonna slow me down. Oh, no, I gotta keep on movin'. Hang in there, average American employee; it'll be an employees' job market again someday. Still one of my favorite Olympic moments.