Making sense of the workplace

“The possession of knowledge does not kill the sense of wonder and mystery. There is always more mystery.” Anais Nin

Judging by all the books, blogs and podcasts on the ‘ideal’ work environs, I’m assuming there’s a problem.

If not, I’ve misread the whole paradigm.

Not that I like constantly to pray in aid my own, slightly unhinged experience but through nearly 40 years of work, it’s fair to say — and I  hope this doesn’t sound too nihilistic — I’ve never had the privilege to work anywhere that lifted my soul let alone changed me for the better.

Yes, I learnt a bunch of skills, tricks and coping strategies, but I was never able to make sense of any of it.

Why?

A lack of truth.

Not one person, and I honestly mean this, was prepared to speak their truth.

It was like a big, brooding cloud that held sway over every conversation, every change management programme, every meeting, every touchpoint.

(Don’t please get me started on branding, marketing or, even, social media. All or nearly all of it is total BS when set against the reality of the company situation.)

Of course, there will be many of you who don’t share my experience and are better people as a result of your work experience, and that’s great but I’ve never seen it.

In the past, I tried to change the dominant narrative, standing on the shoulders of others who’d blazed a trail, but it was all in vain. It wasn’t that I got shouted down but I never managed to persuade any leader or manager to step outside their shadow self.

And now?

Well, as I’ve shared already, I’m intent on bringing renewed focus to my work on true self. Perhaps in the past this has been considered too woo woo, but I can assure you that it’s rock solid business focused. And I’m not talking about some cheerleader model where you’re told to be the best version of yourself — whatever the f* that means — but instead to look within. To invite a more beautiful question than the slew you’ve considered up to now, chief amongst those: “Who am I?”.

In the words of Steven Pressfield (see “The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks & Win Your Inner Creative Battles”):

“We fear discovering that we are more than we think we are. More than our parents/children/teachers think we are. We fear that we actually possess the talent that our still, small voice tells us. That we actually have the guts, the perseverance, the capacity. We fear that we truly can steer our ship, plant our flag, reach our Promised Land. We fear this because, if it’s true, then we become estranged from all we know. We pass through a membrane. We become monsters and monstrous.”

Remember this, and by god it’s hackneyed: you have one life; you’ll be working a long time unless you get lucky on the lottery; and, if you value your life, you owe it to your unlived self to emerge from the hypocrisy of work and be the truest version of yourself, humanly possible.

Take care.

Julian

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