Today I want to talk about work. What happened to the world of work? It’s had its ups and downs for centuries I know, but why, when we live in one of the richer western so-called democracies, is it becoming such a hideous trial for so many? At what point did we start seeing people as tools again and allow the tick box to become king?
Recently I was telephoned out-of-the-blue by a regional manager, who was approximately 4 minutes drive away from me at the time, to tell me my job no longer existed and I must move to an entirely different service immediately. There was no induction or introduction to staff. Everyone is grumpy. All my questions are met with rolling eyes and sighs, like I should have somehow learnt my new role by osmosis and I am now a constant disappointment to everyone. This is so commonplace in this organisation that when I try to object I am met with confusion and disbelief that I might imagine better treatment. My new workplace is completely toxic. I have been with this organisation less than a year and I’ve had seven line managers and not once had any supervision. This, by the way, is a major player in the UK care industry. Meanwhile the intranet of this same organisation is now advertising a new initiative for ‘employee of the month’ called ‘Little Acorns’. The first sentence (which I admit I didn’t get past after laughing too much) reads something along the lines of ‘The most important thing at work is to feel valued’.
This is not the first time I have come across such blatant hypocrisy. Indeed it seems to be increasingly the norm. Where do these layers of bullshit come? When did we again start using people as resources to be manipulated and discarded at will, whilst simultaneously portraying an image of corporate caring. Everything seems cloaked in a veneer of empathy and understanding but it’s so thin it doesn’t last out the length of the first questioning look.
I increasingly feel that my stubborn adherence to an ideal of truth and purposefulness is completely out of step with the current work place. These are not ideals to be valued but things to be scorned. To be able to waffle and boast, and better still outright lie, seem to be the attributes that are most rewarded.
Why have we allowed this to happen? Do we all have Stockholm Syndrome? Has the pursuit of money and stuff finally melted our brains?
Recently I’ve begun asking myself do my chooks have a better work life than me? Do they work hard? Hell yes (you try pushing something the size of your lower leg out of your ass every day). Do they get bothered by a boss trying to blame them for everything? No. Are the products of their labour appreciated? Yes, positively and resoundingly yes. Do they pretty much get to decide how they go about their business every day? Yes. Do they get to hang out with gossipy and amusing friends all day long? Yes. Are they worried about money? No. Do they want anything further than their basic needs fulfilled? No, I don’t think so. Except maybe their corn, sunflower and meal worm treats. Do they rush to get out of bed in the morning? Yes, undoubtedly yes.
Do I sometimes wonder if life might be a whole lot less stressful as a chicken? Yes I do.
But then I think, why aren’t they stressed by the same things? It’s because these things don’t matter to them.
And that’s really the secret.
I must stop letting it matter to me. It’s only work. It doesn’t matter if people are dishonest, deflective, deceptive, disarming. It’s just work. I just need to go there, get some money to pay the bills, come home and forget about it. I need to enjoy the countless blessings that I do have.
But then I start arguing with myself, am I part of the collective apathy that’s allowing this to continue, to get worse?
Oh to be a chicken………