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Work Daze – Chip Me

It’s the worst feeling ever!

Your manager needs you and you’re not there.

It happens frequently. You may be on assignment for the company or doing something really important like picking up your manager’s dry cleaning or taking a bio-break at the Kit Kat Klub. Your manager walks to your work station but instead of seeing your smiling visage, all she sees is an empty cubical. A shock like that can break a manager’s spirit.

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Even worse is when you actually are in the office, but your manager can’t find you. You’re not at your desk, or under it, as is more typical, and you’re not in the coffee room, pilfering quality edibles from your co-workers’ lunches. (By “edibles” I refer to gluten-free snickerdoodles, of course.)

It’s tragic, really. Your manager searches and searches, but you are nowhere to be found.

There has to be a better way — a high-tech way. After all, technology has revolutionized the way we shop for dental floss. Surely it can solve the problem of a missing employee?

Well, it can. And it has!

I refer you a recent article by Gene Marks in The Washington Post. The headline says it all:

“A Wisconsin Company Offers to Implant Remote-Control Microchips in Its Employees.”

“Three Square Market — a developer of software used in vending machines — is offering all of its employees the option to get a microchip implanted between the thumb and forefinger,” Marks reports. “It’s quick, painless and the company will even pick up the $300 fee. And don’t worry — there’s no GPS tracking capability — yet.”

Frankly, I’m a little disappointed that the company is letting employees decide whether or not they get chipped. We are on the verge of a major improvement in employer-employee relations. Why limit the effectiveness of a breakthrough initiative by making the implant optional?

Do you offer your dog the option of being chipped? Do you give a choice to your spouse?

(Oh, can’t you just hear the cry-baby humanists whining about loss of privacy and self-determination? We need a solid, reasoned argument about the advantages of being chipped. If we can’t develop that, a slick advertising campaign will suffice. I’ve got the perfect spokespeople, too — the stars of the classic TV show,”CHiPS.” Jon and Ponch may be available, unless they are busy filming “CHiPs: Age of Extinction.” It’s a major reboot to the 2017 major reboot, but this time, the boys patrol a senior citizen facility on matching Rascal scooters.)

Afraid a GPS tracker could make your every move available on an iPhone App? (Forget “Find My Phone.” Your boss will have “Find My Flunky.”) Better to worry about an add-on feature that allows a manager to deliver a heart-stopping jolt of 20,000 volts to an employee not performing up to expectations. If that doesn’t boost productivity, nothing will.

Currently, the rationale for getting chipped is pretty weak. At Three Square Market the chips are hawked as a convenient way for employees to “open doors, pay for purchases, share business cards, store medical information, and login to their computers.”

You can do all that stuff right now, except for the open doors part. That is pretty tricky.

“Three Square Market claims it will be the first company in the United States to implant chips in its employees,” according to Marks, so you’d better get your resume in, stat. And if you’re saving the real estate between your thumb and forefinger for another purpose, like a full-color tat of the Battle of Hastings, remember there are other parts of your body that could be activated. Heaven knows you haven’t used your brain in a while. Plenty of room for chips up there.

Considering the obvious advantages of being chipped, you may wonder where these devil devices came from. The answer is Sweden.

Yes, the same country that brought us ABBA, Ikea and the milking machine (way to go, Gustaf de Laval!) has been chipping away at workers at the Epicenter organization since the beginning of the year.

“People ask me, ‘are you chipped?’ one employee said. And I say, ‘Yes, why not.'”

Why not indeed? Getting chipped shows your loyalty to the company. It says that you’re committed, and a little body mutilation or a workplace electrocution means nothing in comparison to supporting the goals of the company.

It’s always a good decision to support management, right? And besides, those shocks hurt!

Bob Goldman was an advertising executive at a Fortune 500 company, but he finally wised up and opened Bob Goldman Financial Planning in Sausalito, California. He now works out of Bellingham, Washington. He offers a virtual shoulder to cry on at bob@bgplanning.com.

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