It’s the way that you do it
If you’re working poor or witnessing the demise of your career you’ve got to ask yourself why work? Many of us now work for little or no money, have no workplace and no boss. With this shift, entire business school libraries have become redundant because they can’t explain why people should work. Remarkably the death of the decent job has not led to the death rattle of working life. We haven’t ground to a halt as salaries, pensions and labour protections have started to fail. But with the cuts and unemployment only now starting to kick in we’re going to find out where we stand on work.
As a recovering addict of the Great British Menu I admit I got distracted from the fall of capitalism but now that I’ve been poked out of my digital opiate haze the question remains should I still work? There’s a lot in the wellbeing and happiness literature about how work is good for us, much of it linked to ideas of creativity = wellbeing. I’ve got no problem with being creative but describing what I do as creative makes my toes curl. It feels a bit pretentious given that work is something that I have been enjoying blindly for decades without needing to brush up on Aristotle or rudimentary neuroscience.
At which point I’d like to bring your attention to the published work of Bananarama and propose that our love of work is not about what we do rather the way that we do it. The way that I work is about me. I show you who I am through my efforts. Some days I work like a horse – just keep plowing through which indicates something of the reliable but stubborn, and other days I’m very quick showing some degree of brain activity but also the whiff of being too sharp for an easy life. And this is what work does, it shows who you are and where you are on the world map of life. It’s self-expression without the dramatics. This is pretty radical stuff because while it’s true that my employers can without embarrassment tell me what to do, it’s me that decides how I do it. It means that in some real sense we are our own gaffers.
So how to communicate the real you in the world of work. Do you remember the time when job titles meant something? Now hardly worth the printing costs of a business card, they still might offer a window for showing people what they are dealing with. Why not create your alternative business card and tell us who you really are, whether you’re the Prince of Pedantry or the Duchess of Deep Reflection.
To be found on the moral high ground.
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