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Working at High School, Inc.

Working at High School, Inc.

Do you remember high school? Realizing much has changed thirty years since I graduated, it seems many of the rules remain very similar. My youngest of three daughters is currently a senior at high school.

I have come to realize a large portion of education is about control.

Maintaining Control

My daughter must arrive at 8:00 a.m. If late to any class, she is counted as tardy. If she needs to go to the restroom during class, she must obtain permission from the teacher.  In the event she is too sick to go to school, I have to call the attendance office.  If she misses too many days, we receive a robo-call from the school stating how many days she has missed.  If she misses a class without permission, we receive a robo-call stating our child might be truant. The robo-call is a useful but scary feature we did not have when I was in high school.

School systems are meant to educate, however, they devote a great deal of energy trying to control the student. I realize the students range in age from 15 to 18; an age when a certain amount of control is needed.

Below are some areas in which the school system controls the student:

  • Arrival time
  • Subjects studied
  • Seating arrangements
  • Bathroom breaks
  • Lunch breaks
  • Breaks between classes
  • Attendance policy

Some of these topics areas look eerily familiar to the policies some companies use to control adult employees.

Working at High School, Inc.

Is your workplace a version of high school for adults? Does your workplace control when people arrive, where they sit, when they go to the bathroom, lunch breaks, etc? Does your company have an attendance policy?  If so, it seems like high school to me.

When employing adults, shouldn’t they be treated like adults? Maybe company leaders should rethink policies that are in place for grown, mature, adult employees. It is all about trust, the key ingredient to building a great workplace.

Kevin Kennemer is founder of The People Group based in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Kevin is driven by his passion for company owners and their need to earn a profit, employees' desire for a positive and fulfilling work experience, and the community that benefits when both groups do well.


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