Back in 2009, SF author Peter Watts had dinner with a retired investment banker from TD who described the bank's "vulnerability index" — a numeric score that expresses how desperate you are for your paycheck and thus the extent to which you can be reliably expected to forego your dignity and principles to keep your check intact.
This is an honest-to-god numerical index that TD calculates for every one of its employees; it is used to determine how egregiously they can afford to fuck their people over. There is a list, with a series of check boxes. If you have children, you get a check. If you have a mortgage, you get a check. (If you have a mortgage with the Toronto Dominion Bank, you get a whole lot of checks.) The greater the number of check marks, the more tightly TD has you by the balls.
I am very much poorer than my retired friend, but I imagine I would have a similarly low VI. I am not in debt. I have no dependents (at least, none that any corporate types would think to consider). I can — I have, on more than one occasion — given the finger to potentially lucrative (or at least stable) careers, walked away from jobs purely on principle. (The down side of this, of course, is that I don't actually have a career; at least I've had the freedom to make my own choices on the way.)
But what about the poor assholes with three kids, up to their eyeballs in debt, who've just watched their retirement saving evaporate because TD's American buddies played fast and loose with the global game of AD&D we call "the economy"? What about those people who simply can't afford to walk away, no matter how badly they're treated?
t the Toronto Dominion Bank, apparently, these are the people denied raises, regardless of the merit of their performance. These are the people expected to pick up the slack when the breeders go on mat leave, the folks expected to man the battlements during holidays because after all, it's not as though you have family obligations to attend to. These are the people the bank knows it can shit all over, because they have a high Vulnerability Index.
Not exactly SF, but pretty fucking Orwellian just the same.
(Image: Homele$$, DC Atty, CC-BY)