Wednesday, September 08, 2004

Hello, I'm Working!

In case I didn't mention it, I work in corporate America. I'm not exactly the corporate type: I like to do things my way, I show up when I'm ready and leave when I'm done, I wear what I feel like, and if I don't think a rule makes sense I can't be bothered to comply with it. Doesn't exactly make me corporate-conformist material.

So, I follow corporate news to learn the latest corp THING, like Business Casual Attire, or Who Cut The Cheese. Because I don't want to give away my location, I won't say what the new concept is here on the plantation, but I will offer that it is of the "let's touch base at the end of the day to assess our measurable deliverables" ilk. It is snake oil -- big on hype, low on common sense. And the things we who are low on the food chain have been asked to do in the name of it are just dumb, dumb, dumb.

For example, we've recently been asked to de-clutter. We've been asked to toss unnecessary files (but confidential material will be properly discarded at a later date, of course). We've been asked to tidy our desktops and remove the crap from under our desks (because a pair of sneakers under a tabletop is a fire hazard). And, we've been asked to remove papers and knickknacks from our cubicle walls.

Sweet Fannie Pearl! What does removing my godchildren's pictures have to do with my productivity? Shouldn't the inspirational scriptures and quotes I've collected over the years remain so I can continue to be inspired? What is disturbing about the pictures of my sweet spouse's beautiful smile? What is clutteristic about our deep grins pressed to paper, capturing our frosty evening atop the Eiffel Tower?

I know, clarity comes from simplicity, but the simply smiling faces of friends makes me happy. Happy enough to work. Better. Corporate policies are supposed to encourage workers to be better and more productive. Corporations are always trying to make work as comfortable as possible; nay, even home-like so that we'll feel good about spending so much time at work. So why clutter my mind by permitting me to only think of things such as the one stuffed animal sitting atop my computer; the pictures of my friends, my wife, my godchildren; the magnetic Michaelangelo in drag, the picture of Wonder Woman after menopause? Does corporate productivity mean that the one canvas we're issued is supposed to be painted with the same picture?

"Corporate" comes from the Latin "corpus", meaning body. Although "corporate" means to unite to form one body, one's own body halves aren't exactly the same. Women often have two slightly different sized breasts. One leg is usually slightly shorter. The scrotum is asymmetrical, as any good urologist or teenage boy will tell you. Stop trying to make things even or perfect. It won't happen.

And stop trying to make corporate clones.

I once read a terrific quote posted on a cubicle wall: "Cubicle today, world tomorrow." Funny, true, chilling, perhaps?


Blogger roy said...

D -- You're onto something, and in high style. Very funny.

Here's what I think: it was true for a while, as you noted, that they wanted us to feel that work was like home, so we'd get all cozy and spend our lives there. I think the new order is, let the lackeys taste a bit of the whip. Unemployment sucks, productivity is up, benefits are down -- and the boobs are about to vote for more of the same. I think there's a feeling in the corporate community that if they can push us THIS far, why not THAT far...

Now excuse me while I go xerox my ass.

5:41 PM  

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