After I started working at a convenience market during high school, it irked me when the boss stood at the back of the store and presumed to judge my productivity solely by the rhythm of the cash register.

When I worked in a factory, my hourly production quota was at the mercy of misshapen materials and vintage machinery designed to be powered by Benjamin Franklin's kite.

So, I can understand the brouhaha that erupted when the media started circulating sensationalized stories about how Amazon and other hyper-efficient companies are using computers/robots/algorithms to monitor and "fire" employees.

To be fair to corporations, no one is being fired directly by a machine. It's just that more and more companies are keeping high-tech tabs on employees, measuring the speed and accuracy of their job performance (as well as the frequency and duration of bathroom breaks and laid-back banter) on a second-by-second basis.

The computer programs notify the supervisor and Human Resources department about the worst-performing employees' deficiencies, so living, breathing, compassionate human beings can schedule a last-ditch meeting to resolve the issues. Of course, the meeting is skewed by the fact that those living, breathing, compassionate human beings know that a higher-level computer is salivating over the chance to kick THEIR fleshy buttocks out on the pavement, so...

Ironically, the more reams of data we have available to us, the more a mutually agreeable definition of "An honest day's work for an honest day's pay" eludes us.

We've trapped ourselves. Consumers demand same-day delivery of ridiculously inexpensive products and workers demand ever-higher wages, but no one wants to acknowledge the need to trim lazy or incompetent workers.

Let's come to a compromise before the micromanagement monitoring becomes so pervasive that it follows us into retirement.

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