#90 Parking in the Red Zone (2004)

All Rights Reserved © 2004 Thomas W. Day
One of the many signs of a management vacuum is the institution of assigned parking.  Execs, ignorantly and arrogantly, convince themselves that they need their names on a parking spot as a symbol of corporate dominance, sort of like pissing on a tree to mark territory.  It ought to be obvious to anyone with a frontal lobe that any exec who arrives for work so late that he can't find parking is really demonstrating how unimportant he is to the business. 
In fact, I think a smart stock buyer would consider checking out corporate parking lots to see how many assigned parking spaces are unfilled each morning.  The more empty spaces, the more deadwood in high places.  For that matter, the existence of assigned parking out to be one of the statistics a corporation should be forced to publish in its financial statement. 
The managers just about anyone can agree are worth their weight in parking lot paint cans don't need assigned parking.  They beat everyone to work and can park anywhere they want to park in an empty lot.  Warren Buffett, Bill Gates, David Packard, and the ever shrinking collection of execs who know their business and get things done, practically lived in their offices during the period when their presence actually made a positive difference in the function of their company.  Nobody contested their parking rights because nobody else was looking for a parking space when they arrived at work. 
The concept of assigned parking, in reality, punishes the rare inspired employee who is motivated enough to be at work early.  First, it's likely that someone that driven will have an armload of work to carry into the office.  Two, it's de-motivating to trudge in from the hinterlands past all those empty, named spaces knowing that wasted real estate will remain unused until the morning golf game is finished.  Three, assigned parking is rarely assigned based on anything valuable to the business.
Sometimes handing out a named parking space is an act of management cowardice or neglect.  I have worked for three companies that provided spaces to execs' secretaries.  Not because the secretaries were valued employees, not because they had work to carry into the office, but because they were nasty, ill-tempered people whose bosses were too gutless to fire, reprimand, contradict, or refuse when the secretaries asked for perks they had no reason to receive.  [I'm sure you're surprised than an exec might be cowardly.]
By far the most gutless parking assignment I've seen was self-generated by a janitor.  He was able to mark his spot because he had control of the can of paint used to label parking spaces.  Now, I'm waiting for you to top that for non-existent management.
August 2004

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