Cube vs. Corner: Should we put out crap if it works?

employee employer relationship


Should we put out crappy quality work just because it gets us results? Brad and Devan discuss the employer and employee point of view in this edition of Cube vs. Corner: Bridging Perspectives on Workplace Issues.


I want to talk about this video that has enjoyed a lot of attention on the web recently. It’s about a 20-something who quit her job. If I’m reading it right, she quit because she saw a disconnect between the sacrifices she made in time, relationships, and a life in general for a job where her boss was more concerned with numbers than the quality of the work being done. So she chose to quit through a video she shot herself. Her video has over 9,000,000 views today.

9,000,000 views can’t be wrong right? Is everyone who is watching it living vicariously through her? Or simply curious? Whatever it is, the video is touching a nerve. It made me think; should we ever — as employers — put numbers above quality? And, when we DO put numbers above quality, what does that do to our employees?


I hear you Devan. The video is definitely touching a nerve; and I don’t think it is just because of her dance moves.

And, to your point, what if putting out crap moves the needle? What if schlock is what the customer wants?

There are two components to business success: core values, and pragmatism. Core values are things that never change — enduring values that you do not bend, even if the market punishes you for it. They are a part of who you are. Some companies have quality as part of their core values, and for them, schlock is out — even if the market likes it. Companies like that will choose, instead, to find the market that values quality (even if it’s a smaller market). Other companies have different values. Fun, or winning are values that I’ve heard clients mention — those clients might be OK with schlock; if that moved the needle, or if schlock somehow made them winners. And there are cases for this.

What I see in this video is a mismatch between the company’s values and the employee’s values. That’s always a bad situation and the sooner you end a relationship like that the better!

As for my company? We value leadership, predictable results, continuous learning, camaraderie, and fun. I don’t think we’d be likely to push crap just to move the needle (unless it was fun).


Well, I give the woman props for dancing with that much confidence. (I also can’t dance to save my life.)

From the employee’s perspective, I want to be doing really good work — work I could show off; work that builds my portfolio. I’m thinking about the long-term here, and I want each job experience to take me somewhere. I think it was good that she left the company (I think I would have left too, but in a…different way). I sympathize with the effort she made to advocate for the value of quality content over quantity. But I also understand there’s a bottom line. You can have amazing content, but if no one sees it, then…what good is your amazing content?

I agree – there is a definite mis-match between employer and employee values. I wonder if we focus enough on the importance of having matching values when hiring — and I think that’s BOTH the employer and employee’s responsibility to discover. As an employer, make sure you communicate your values! Don’t hire people who don’t align themselves with them. And employees — don’t take the job if you don’t share the same company values! You’ll run into problems down the road.



If you work at Wal-Mart, you know that the goal is “Always a low price”. That means that you are measuring what “really good work” is, based on one set of criteria (price). If you work at Target, I’m guessing, the criteria would be different. An employee at Wal-Mart advocating for quality is a fish out of water; that’s not a Wal-Mart value.

Your second point is 100% right on. If your organization has strong values then you need to say that up front in the hiring process. If her potential boss had said, “Our goal here is to get a lot of content up and get a lot of views. It might not be the most creative or beautiful content, but it’s timely and gets a lot of views. Is that something you’d like to do?” Then maybe she would have looked elsewhere. Similarly, candidates can put their values out there in the interview process. If it’s not a fit, you don’t want to work there.

It’s better to keep looking for a solid values fit, than to get a job that you will have to make a bitter, snarky video about 2 years later, right?






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Devan Perine

Devan Perine works with small business owners on their marketing and multimedia efforts. She's passionate about helping businesses build their presence online, and giving Gen Y a voice in the workplace. When she's not working, she loves to make a mess in the kitchen, and play with her band around Chicago. She loves to chat! Give her a shout on Google+, Twitter or LinkedIn.

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