How Star Trek TNG Ruins Employee Morale: Why You Wouldn’t Want to Work on the Enterprise

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First off, we need to begin by saying that we’re Star Trek The Next Generation followers. We love the present. This thought was developed whereas re-watching the collection for what have to be the hundredth time. We absolutely perceive that it’s fictional and that generally, in fiction, issues operate in methods they wouldn’t in the actual world.

Now that we have now that little disclaimer out of the way in which, we wish to current to you some concepts that might make being an worker on the USS Enterprise NCC-1701-D (and possibly E) an expertise that may not be nice when occurring in a extra reasonable world. Throughout the TNG collection, there are a lot of examples of the leaders of the Enterprise conducting themselves in ways in which may go away Human Resources extraordinarily busy answering complaints or combating lawsuits.

1. Unreasonable Demands with Unrealistic Expectations

Riker: Riker to La Forge.

La Forge: La Forge Here.

Riker: How shut are we on that transporter?

La Forge: Two hours, perhaps three.

Riker: I need the captain out of there now!

La Forge: That’s not very doubtless, sir.

Riker: I don’t need to hear that, Commander.

– Star Trek The Next Generation. Season 5, Episode 2. “Darmok”

TNG is stuffed with these eventualities the place they get requested how lengthy one thing will take to finish, then obtain a command to do it quicker. Why did they ask for a timeframe to start with in the event that they had been simply going to demand or not it’s carried out sooner?

Every few episodes somebody on the crew makes a significant breakthrough by doing one thing that has by no means been carried out earlier than, solely as a result of a pacesetter demanded it of them. The underlying message appears to be that leaders should demand the not possible from their subordinates to realize greatness. While this would possibly make a superb motivational instrument for would-be leaders, is it one thing that works effectively in actuality?

Joshua: I get that that is really the navy (though all of them have their households aboard, which presents an entire different set of issues for a navy vessel not coated right here, however in all probability nice for morale), and generally the demand must be greater in lots of conditions. Unfortunately, you aren’t prone to ever inspire somebody to do one thing quicker than it takes to finish a activity by demanding they do it quicker. This concept that we will try this appears to return from a perception that the worker will not be prioritizing the duties you want accomplished or not absolutely dedicated to getting it carried out in a well timed trend. Most of the time, one of the best you are able to do as a supervisor is to tell the worker that this activity must be a precedence.

I additionally am skeptical that almost all of our present technological achievements, that had been as soon as thought not possible, had been achieved as a result of a pacesetter demanded that they be carried out. More doubtless, somebody doing the work had an thought and advised the chief their thought. Then the chief gave approval to attempt the concept.

Pedro: Well, if we’re speaking in navy phrases, I’d be the worst individual to just accept employment on the Enterprise since, as a Portuguese, we’re in all probability probably the most pleasant nation on the earth the place conflict is sort of a phrase that doesn’t exist in our dictionary. I can perceive the panic state of affairs, it’s a must to see that it was their captain there, it was Picard!!! Nevertheless, my level being, from the chief viewpoint, we by no means agree in theoretical phrases to speak louder our make emotional calls for however generally it might probably occur if the state of affairs results in it. In my private case, I can settle for that I used to be by no means good, however I’m fairly blissful when it’s extra frequent to listen to shouts than really saying them. In common, what do you suppose this comes into?

Joshua: Well, Making calls for like it is a poor administration follow in my view. It’s effectiveness, whether it is ever efficient, can be very brief lived. Employees can’t exist in a continuing state of urgency. Within days of this urgency, particularly if the urgency has nothing to do with dropping their lives (prefer it may on Star Trek), workers will start treating all perceived pressing conditions as simply one other day. Their morale might decline, and so they actually gained’t be breaking their again for his or her supervisor to get issues carried out at high pace.

Pedro: They all the time have the holosuites to interrupt from anxious moments, and that’s a very good function. I want I had my very own holosuite, don’t you? I really wish to know first how they spend their time apart from working, since they don’t spend an excessive amount of time to go house. Lunch breaks would possibly take like 15 min as a result of nobody has to prepare dinner… However, with out dropping the scope on this, I consider that they won’t have something to do in house for 1-2 weeks (which might be coincident with every episode’s launch). Stressful moments can be solely in very particular moments, don’t you suppose? But anyway, what’s the worst that may occur, let’s debate on that?

Joshua: I do want I had my very own holodeck, regardless of the dialog surrounding quantity 3 on this checklist. I’d agree together with your assumption that they could not face that sense of urgency continuous. They undoubtedly would have some breaks in-between.

Based on my expertise working in locations the place issues like this had been carried out continuously – i.e. having that sense of urgency being pushed on them on a regular basis, I consider a number of issues will occur:

  1. Employee ethical will decline because of by no means assembly expectations
  2. Employees will really obtain your deadlines, however it is going to be subpar work which will value extra in the long term
  3. Hostility will come up between managers and their subordinates – each believing the opposite to be incompetent
  4. Employee turnover will improve
  5. Productivity will lower, typically willfully by workers who be taught to disregard the calls for of administration
  6. When an pressing state of affairs really arises, the workers shall be much less prone to pull collectively to finish a activity in an affordable period of time (additional including to the supervisor’s perception that the workers are lazy and the supervisor should demand they do the work faster)

Pedro: Putting it like this… I’d see Klingons simply rule the Federation since all people would riot at a look. However, we all the time discover epic the moments that Captain Kirk involves scotty and says “Scotty, I would like warp pace now!” … and Scotty does his best, each engineer has to love this scene!

But severely, sure, “carrot” earlier than “stick”. No humane individual will work effectively on forcing conditions except the individual is both a slave or a really sadistic individual (which additionally might be utilized fairly generally). My case particularly, as I discussed earlier than, I keep away from in any respect prices when somebody raises his/her voice, I attempt to ask again like “Why are you elevating your voice? are you okay?” It’s not straightforward to be a pacesetter, it’s straightforward to really feel, and management shouldn’t be given to all people. Anyone can lose their heads on anxious moments, despite intelligence degree or energy, it’s a sure attribute that grows with expertise.

2. Inappropriate Relationships

Is there an episode the place Riker isn’t hitting on a subordinate? There really is, however Riker is the straightforward one to have a look at in the case of these inappropriate relationships. He is the one which in all probability got here high of thoughts to each Star Trek TNG fan on the market as quickly as they learn the header for this part, however he’s hardly the one one.

Anyone recall Dr. Beverly Crusher falling in love with a affected person in Season 3, Episode 25? What in regards to the relationship between Picard and Crusher, with Picard being her commander?

Then there was the time Geordi La Forge made a holodeck simulation of Leah Brahm, an engineer that helped design the warp core for the Enterprise. A season later he met her in individual and it was quite awkward when she found his simulation of her. It didn’t assist the creep issue that La Forge was drooling over her the complete time and tried to arrange a dinner date along with her.

Man glaring at all the sexual harassment
HR will not be impressed

In a world the place individuals work to fill a psychological want, not their monetary or bodily have to eat, what number of would keep round to tolerate the inevitable issues all these relationships would create? On the flip facet of that, in a world the place nobody cared in the event that they misplaced their job as a result of they don’t want it to outlive, would these relationships be an inevitable final result?

These are greater questions than we are attempting to reply right here, however they’re issues to consider. Our purpose right here is to look at how management partaking in and/or permitting these relationships to proceed may contribute to a horrible work surroundings.

Oh Jean-Luc, what naughty ideas. But how fantastic you continue to consider me like that.

– Lwaxana Troi; Star Trek The Next Generation. Season 2, Episode 19. “Manhunt”

Joshua: Relationships between a supervisor and subordinate can occur and do occur, however typically they go towards firm insurance policies. Whether you agree with these insurance policies or not, it’s a must to no less than acknowledge the problem of main an entire crew of those that accommodates a number of dozen of your prior romantic pursuits. You couldn’t switch them to a different starship with out incurring no less than the rumors of some bias occurring.

People typically take romantic relationships very severely, and breakups are usually not all the time good and clear. I believe within the real-world if somebody like Riker was going round relationship all the individuals within the workplace, the corporate can be combating loads of lawsuits and the complete office ambiance can be poisonous. You can’t be an efficient chief when you find yourself utilizing your staff as your private relationship pool. This ought to apply to each navy and civilian jobs.

Pedro: Wow, by no means thought of that, ahah! Number1 (Riker) was all the time for me that man that will get all of the cool women and it stays okay as a result of he has distinctive abilities in all senses. But in the case of the day by day actuality on relationship coworkers, and in the identical place the place everybody cohabitate, it jogs my memory the instances of school and even highschool the place awkward moments occurred on a regular basis with ex-girlfriends. Being light-years away from another risk and understanding how a heartbreak might be severely harmful… sure, I’ve to agree with this. Even if it takes away all of the leisure enjoyable. So, take off the romance from TNG, Voyager or DS9… you’ll “kill” any curiosity of cohabitation there anyway.

Which results in one other downside, so no romance? Therefore, you should have unhappy individuals in all places or too many hiding intercourse with crew mates. Maybe I’m too liberal, however generally transparency might be higher in sure excessive conditions.

Joshua: I can see that it being hidden may trigger some points. You don’t need to be blindsided by the irate crew member making complaints about having to proceed work with a former love curiosity.

I additionally acknowledge that some individuals spend loads of time at work. It stands out as the solely alternative for a lot of to satisfy different individuals. This might be fully tremendous, however you do should be aware of doable conflicts of curiosity and you would need to give you the option deal with your self if the connection ends on unhealthy phrases. In circumstances the place the members can’t deal with themselves appropriately, administration ought to actually step in and do one thing about it.

William Riker ought to by no means be put in charge of anybody ever once more although. He would appear to be the intense case that will get guidelines put in place about relationship coworkers.

Pedro: Well, within the final episodes the place all Enterprises meet from every parallel universe, one of many Enterprises get very wired and is the one one that’s led by Number1 (Riker). Picard by no means made it away from the Borg when he was captured earlier.

But as I stated, I perceive that’s harmful and I already had workers with romance, and the story is all the time the identical. Everything is fantastic whereas it goes effectively, the whole lot is a hell when it’s over. Normally I find yourself dropping two nice colleagues on my staff.

What are you going to do with the guts? As I discussed, perhaps it’s as a result of I’m Portuguese and we’re very “relaxed” to many issues. After all, we don’t have so many lawsuits for amorous affairs – apart from actual harassment. Some guidelines for me may simply drop off if society would loosen up just a little bit. If I used to be on the Enterprise (I want…), I’d have an excessive amount of issue to keep away from Deanna. Who may resist Deanna? Wouldn’t be a office rule that may cease me!

Joshua: You are very a lot appropriate on the cultural variations. I can recall being stunned to be taught that it’s common in lots of international locations to incorporate your marital standing on a job resume. As somebody who has performed interviews within the United States, I couldn’t ask this – nor do I consider it’s essential data as to if an individual can do their job. When I requested in regards to the inclusion of this data, I heard arguments that for them, they regarded that data as being very essential for the job. Ironically, their arguments for its inclusion had been precisely why I don’t consider such a follow needs to be allowed and why it’s prohibited right here within the United States.

3. Just Generally Unsafe Conditions

Aside from being on a starship, and going to potential conflict zones (why did they bring about their youngsters once more?), issues are usually not terribly protected aboard the Enterprise and the leaders don’t appear to care. They get uncovered to physician’s with questionable ethics, a child getting injured within the onboard biolab, a man leaping right into a plasma stream, and much more that doesn’t appear associated to their navy conflicts. There are additionally episodes of the present the place they let any random individual onboard – from those that steal their DNA to clone them, to those that steal their youngsters to maintain them as their very own (once more, why are the youngsters there?).

As an instance, there seem like loads of episodes devoted to the holodecks malfunctioning or the crew members turning into technique to concerned of their holodeck packages. These malfunctions current severe bodily and/or psychological security considerations. A number of of the holodeck points are listed beneath:

  • Riker, not content material along with his relationship pool of subordinates and colonists, falls in love with Minuet. She was a holodeck program. The love was so sturdy that in a later season the Romulans thought she was an actual individual after scanning Riker’s mind and that’s what helped Riker understand he was in a simulation.
  • Crusher, Data, and Picard had been trapped in a 1940’s detective simulation the place they might not be reached by the crew.
  • Worf and his son change into caught in a wild west simulation.
  • Reginald Barclay grew to become so concerned within the holodeck world that he was shirking his duties to the Enterprise.
  • A simulation from Sherlock Holmes unleashed Professor Moriarty onto the ship, inflicting fairly a couple of issues.

After a number of such incidents with the holodeck, the leaders don’t current any look of caring in regards to the potential hazard of utilizing the system. Even conserving it onboard presents a security hazard to the crew, however the leaders of the ship simply went about their enterprise as typical.

Joshua: Lots of workers consider their employers don’t care about them or their security. Star Trek TNG appears to work at making an attempt to show these cynical ideas for the crew of the Enterprise – no less than in the case of sure conditions. Having your youngsters kidnapped out of your office would possibly make you suppose twice about working there, or conserving your child there with you. If it occurred as soon as and nothing modifications, there’s a good probability it may occur once more.

In the case of the holodeck, the issues are identified and doing one thing about it wouldn’t have a direct influence on the work they carry out. A case may very well be made that eradicating the holodecks can be worse for worker morale, there are nonetheless the doable authorized and monetary tasks the employer would have with a identified downside hurting somebody once more.

Pedro: Well, simply suppose like we’re going to work in locations like Lagos or North Angola. It can actually be a problem there, alone away from our household. So we carry our children and attempt to be blissful there! Or perhaps we should always examine with “French legion” however with youngsters…? So, It can be attention-grabbing thought that with a purpose to elevate the morale you go to a conflict zone…with youngsters! That is form of hilarious when it sounds as: “Honey, I had this excellent thought and let’s go this weekend to Damascus, Syria. I heard that it’s form of attention-grabbing this time of the yr, and I’m fairly positive that children may have loads of enjoyable!”

So in conclusion…

We are positive we will discover many extra areas inside TNG that might have a damaging influence on worker morale, however the present wasn’t all unhealthy on that finish. Even with the identified points associated to the holodeck, who wouldn’t need to get in and provides it a attempt? There is actually a morale profit to letting the worker be capable to examine in on their youngsters simply as effectively, assuming they may very well be saved far safer than they’re being saved on the Enterprise.

…And don’t neglect… Be effectively and beneath scope!


Galaxy header picture from

“HR” picture from

“Warning” picture from

ViacomCBS. Created by Gene Roddenberry. Star Trek The Next Generation. Season 5, Episode 2. “Darmok”

ViacomCBS. Created by Gene Roddenberry. Lwaxana Troi; Star Trek The Next Generation. Season 2, Episode 19. “Manhunt”

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