Alienation: experiencing or inducing feelings of isolation or estrangement
Locked down due to C19; a nation on fire fueled by racial tension, economic frustration and an intensely heated and divisive political arena, claiming Americans are experiencing The Great Alienation would be an understatement.
Over a hundred years ago, the philosopher economist and social theorist, Karl Marx, predicted the capitalist mode of production would result in massive unrest and worker alienation. He theorized the disease would start in the workplace and spread to infect families in their home and relations between citizens.
There are four aspects of alienation that Marx described: the alienation of the worker from the products of their labor, the alienation experienced in the production or labor process, alienation from our species-essence or human essence, and finally the alienation of man from man or from society. They might be viewed as being nested together with one leading to the other, however they are just aspects of one reality: alienated labor.
Do you feel alienated at this time? Do you? Do you?
Opposite of Alienation: Fitting In
Two years ago, August 13, 2018, I started a new job. Had initiated discussions about a month earlier. It was an excellent career opportunity and opened a new door in our family life. The days had flown by like a whirlwind. Had to end projects on the island of Kaua’i and in New Mexico. Needed to pack and prepare for an extended tour in a new city with many strange and unknown challenges.
Phone conversations with my soon-to-be manager, Lori Yafuso, had been encouraging and inspiring. She was incredibly bright, talented and competent. Her leadership style was soft-spoken, confident and cooperative. Personally, she was kind, compassionate and caring. Lori is the opposite of alienating. Around her, one feels … believes … and is treated like a member of the family, or ‘ohana, as we say in Hawai’i.
We are looking forward to having you onboard with us on Monday! Our dress culture is business casual. Most of the guys wear aloha shirts with khakis/slacks; some wear jeans, but most people save jeans/polo shirts for casual Fridays. Most wear comfortable dress shoes or loafers, some wear sneakers….I almost always change to sneakers even with my dresses because I have a standing desk. Bring a light jacket as it can get cold in some areas of the office.
Greg Sasaki, Tom Ni’i and Liz Oei were my primary mentors. Emily Nuneza served as my Den Mother. Within hours, I felt like I’d been with the team for a decade. We simply fit that well together — and fit is critical in Hawai’i.
We are located in the Pacific Park Plaza, 12th floor. This is a view of the entrance on Cooke street. The address to the building is 711 Kapiolani Blvd, but our building is at the corner of Cooke/Kawaiahao. There is another entrance on Curtis Street. Our hours are 7:30 – 4:00. Please come to the 12th floor and use the buzzer at the double doors near the elevators.
State of Hawai’i Epidemiologist Sarah Park was forced to step down this week as the director of the C19 Contact Tracing program, as she was unable to hire, train and get tracers into the field (see DOH Murders Pacific Islanders).
She claimed the DOH could only add additional contact tracers as part of a phased-in approach that accounted for work space limitations and need for the team to work well together.
Local residents are getting sick and dying in alarming numbers and Ms. Park has been more concerned about the “fit” of employees. Working well together is requirement #1 in Hawai’i. I fit with my Hawaiian Electric team perfectly. Our collective success became evident immediately.
Pain in Paradise
Shortly after meeting my new manager, Greg, Tom, Emily and others in person, Lori walked me over to security to get my employee badge. It was only a short, two-block journey, but the pain I suffered was excruciating. I was badly injured at the time, but didn’t like to talk about my disability. Didn’t want to appear weak and broken before my team. Did my best to stand tall and not limp.
We decided to live without cars on O’ahu. Parking is quite expensive and public transportation is excellent. I arrived August 8th and had spent long days gathering food, provisions and outfitting our new apartment.
Blisters full of blood had formed on my feet and my left hip was on fire. Doctors had prescribed pain pills, but I medicated only at night to help me sleep. Needed to be sharp and attentive to perform excellently at my job. Pain had become a trusted friend for nearly ten years.
Here I was Day #1 walking with my 5’2 female manager who moved gracefully and effortlessly like a gazelle. She was quick and strong. I’m 6’5. Although strides from my long legs doubled hers, couldn’t keep up. I kept falling behind. By the time we reached the security building, I had on a full sweat.
Lori not only inspired me, her effervescent energy motivated me and those on our team. I wouldn’t fall behind as we walked; just as I wouldn’t fall behind in production or assignments at work. Again, this leadership style is the direct opposite of alienation.
Regardless all the ills and evils of capitalism in America and around the world, Lori instilled harmony, kindness, friendship, respect, admiration, warmth, joy, delight, fellowship, cordiality, happiness, and ultimately, attachment.
It was clear this team was similar to a revolutionary Elon Musk starship journeying into space. We were going places few had gone before and preparing to do wonders for the company, as well as rate-payers who suffer the highest energy costs in the nation. We were making a difference. Again, this attitude is the direct opposite of alienation.
Outside our immediate work group, I developed strong relations with many others in the company. Sean Nakasone is a talented programmer who had endless, thought-provoking questions. Never stopped pushing to make our systems more efficient and easier-to-use for customers and clients.
We worked together for hours and hours, although never meeting in person. One day we ended up on an elevator together. When he spoke to someone, I recognized his voice. We had been at the bus stop many times over the months and both laughed about the irony of our lengthy anonymity.
Scourge of Capitalistic Alienation
Unfortunately, as Karl Marx prophesied, capitalism must alienate human beings from their product, their work place, home life and eventually society. Corporate ego and intoxication for endless power and profits dehumanize the system.
“What matters in life is not great deeds, but great love.”
St. Therese of the Little Flower or of the Child Jesus
Protestors flood our streets at this time: #BlackLivesMatter, #WhiteLivesMatter, #AllLivesMatter … what matters to corporations are deeds, power and profits. What really should matter is love, and America now burns.
Hawaii’s most privileged CEO, Hawaiian Electric Industries Connie Lau, made a reported $5.7 million last year. Was happy for her. Sadly, I’m just a maggot to her — like employees feel frequently. HECO HR Rep Shana Buco seems to be a delightful personality, yet humiliated me before my team, friends and family. They told me I was officially hired; days later fired me while I was working with my team. Get out immediately! Like a criminal.
Both led to my termination six months into my tenure with the company. Connie is highly educated, but can’t write professional policy. Shana displays a sweet, compassionate persona, but was uneducated in her job and thrust a dagger through my heart and soul.
Both receive awards and recognition for their deeds. Showed no love to me. They offer no remorse for alienating people; or destroying the fabric of our work group; or for hurting the well-being of financially-strapped local energy customers. They demonstrate no attachment to humanity. Money, money … money and power for the company! Nothing else appears to matter.
Connie and Shana promise to pursue ‘imi pono or strive to be righteous. Liars!
Connie and Shana claim to demand Fair Dealing with all. Cheaters!
The Corporate Code of Conduct mandates each employee, officer and director of the Company submit the following acknowledgments.
1. I have received the Corporate Code of Conduct for HEI and its subsidiaries.
2. I understand that I have the responsibility to review our Code and our Company policies and procedures that apply to my service as an employee, officer or director of our Company.
3. I agree to comply with our Code, our Company policies and procedures and all laws, rules and regulations applicable to our Company.
Connie and Shana violated corporate provisions. Hypocrites!
The compassionate humanist and philanthropist, Consuelo Zobel Alger, left as her mission:
“St. Therese did what I want to do in life … to let fall from Heaven a Shower of Roses. My mission will begin after my death. I will spend my heaven doing good on earth.”
Thank you, Lori, Greg, Liz, Tom, Sean, Renna, Victor, Linda, Emily, Mark, Rich, Ryan, Paul, Gary, Grant, Bryce, Trimbak, Herman, Danny, Albert, Miles, Neil, Brandon, Sid, Jean, Vicky, Yingwei, Lance and so many others for the roses from Heaven.
Miss and love all of you. Thank you for allowing me to serve as part of your ‘ohana. What began as tears of joy are now simply tears.
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Ko’olau of Kaua’i. I am the Defiant One
“I Believe We Can”