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Reading Dissatisfaction Between the Lines of 20th Century's Underground Employee Paper

May 13, 1990

In reading "Insurer's Employees Get Their Digs In With Underground Paper" (May 2) about "20th Century RagTime," the underground newspaper published by employees of 20th Century Insurance Co., it occurred to me that a more appropriate name would be "20th Century DownTime."

Chances are that much of the work going into that publication is done on company time and thus represents lost productivity. Also wasted are all the hours that management is spending to review tapes from security cameras and playing private eye in its efforts to identify the perpetrators.

When employees go to such lengths to needle their bosses, it usually indicates a deep-seated dissatisfaction that can't be handled with detective work or disciplinary measures. The sources of resentment in such situations must be unearthed and dealt with; otherwise, grievances may fester to the point where corporate gangrene sets in.

Ironically, the time and creativity employees put into the underground newspaper could be used to identify and address sources of dissatisfaction in collaboration with management.


Human Resources Consultant

William M. Mercer Inc.

Los Angeles

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