I was half expecting the working world to have blown wide open in these first few weeks of 2013. Being of an apocalyptic persuasion I anticipate endings and Xmas in the West Country my Sarah Jeannette Connor survivalist tendencies went overdrive (What I learned on my holidays: it comes down to high quality plastic sheeting, you can stop rivers with it and live under it – genius stuff ending years of existentials about whether I would survive a natural disaster). Having gingerly poked my toe back into working life this month it’s tempting just to say it is business as usual. Fear – tick. Greed – tick. Bit o bullying – tick. Lies damned lies – tick. Business. As. Usual. But is it a tickedy tick tick of the pumping heart variety? Meetings are happening, emails are sent and stuff gets done but is that proof of life or an organisation just going through the motions?
In the current climate this is a hard one to figure out, with the spread of zombie organizations and the non-death of things that you’d have put money on being a goner last year. Who would have gambled on A4E seeing in the New Year? Colin Crouch’s new book argues that this limbo is constructed from an ideology so powerful we’re stuck wondering around like a load of half deads denying that the way we used to do things has in fact taken a shot to the heart. This dose of ideological denial has helped to keep workplace casualties limping along but making it hard to work out whether exciting new year opportunities are just the bloody stumps of last year’s failures.
And what if the sound of ticking is actually a bomb waiting to go off? Now, now, steady on you say, don’t be negative, it’s just the sound of the work machine steadily carrying on. Still doesn’t mean it’s not going to blow up though does it. The new angry groups and organisations that grew out of 2008 are here for a reason, because they had their fingers on the various pulses of society that slowed down or headed towards atrial fibrillation. Agreeably not doing much for the UK’s happiness agenda these perspectives offer a diagnosis and with it the possibility of intervention before the big cardiac arrest of working life takes place.
Admit it, you only come here for the laughs.
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