Listening to your own voice is interesting and listening to one of your presentations is even more interesting. I identified a few interesting problems with this one and probably would do things different next time. I gave this presentation to students at the University of Birmingham in November 2007 on the niceties of working for government! Enjoy and let me know what you think.
I just discovered that my employer has “broaden the range of reward and recognition available”. Apparently, as a first move, they will be “introducing an Instant Reward scheme and the primary element is the use of gift vouchers”. Great, I cannot wait for this…
There will be two types of vouchers available: a phenomenal Marks and Spencer voucher and super useful high street voucher — because M&S is not part of the high street!
My employer claims that this will “allow managers quickly to recognise where people have gone that extra mile and shown initiative in the areas of customer service and people management.”
I cannot wait for the next moment when I do something okay and I get a five pound discount for the M&S lingerie section. Since when outdate telemarketing strategies became acceptable to use around here? This is truly depressing.
I can only conclude one thing. My employer assumes that me, and my colleagues, work solely as a means of continuing/propagating our inane consumerism attitude and nothing else. Now I understand, all that crap about job satisfaction and sense of purpose, it was all about M&S vouchers.
I am worried. The work place and the home place is increasingly looking like the same and somehow I don’t think this is good. In the past, work and home were quite different places and we weren’t confused. More importantly, we didn’t use work tools at home. Home was different from work and the two life styles very rarely mixed. Nowadays we are driven by integration: our computers at home have the same systems as the ones at work, our management courses teach values and lessons that apply to both home and work life, some of us have our breakfast at work, we take work home and discuss with our loved ones like it actually matters to them, and we see work as a healthy break from the stressful life at home.
Some of us will think this is all good, but it isn’t. Employers devised this strategy to make us work 24 hours. Work is now so pervasive that it invades our inner life and populates it with tools and clues that makes us work all the time in the pursue of a mythical balance, which of course will never come.
Whilst in the past workers faced the hardship of work, the modern office worker faces an invasion of their emotional persona. Not quite sure which one is worse.
Quite often the question “What is your dream job?” gets asked. Invariably, people have two typical answers to the question; they either say that their dream job was a part time job when they were 16 (e.g., working in a café) or they say that their dream job is some kind of impossible job that neither fits their current life nor really exists (e.g., help indigenous people in Chile).
Both these answers are very depressing, because they both highlight that we are not living our dream lives (far from it), but, more worryingly, making silly compromises that lead to doing completely different job to our dream job.
Whenever someone asks me the question, I say “My next job”. This way I am saying that I am living the dream.
I think it is dreadful the extended madness goes around the office world that states the needed to dress smart casual, otherwise, we are told, clients will look at us in disbelief and think you are a bunch fucking slobs that don’t do any work. The necessary extension to this is that dressing better means that we are more professional. I would like to see the peer-reviewed research that shows this astonishing fact.
As a slap in a face to all this corporate nonsense I suggest that we comply with the rules and dress smart casual, but have all our garments full of food stains. Nobody said it was stainless smart casual! I wonder how would that rate on the corporate the professional scale?