As I was catching up with slashdot.org this morning, I finally found the management framework which the most sense to me: The Gervais Principle.
I, apparently, am a loser.
Not in the social sense – although I’m sure many think that’s up for debate – but in the sense of “I have traded freedom for the security of a regular paycheck earned daily at a cube farm.”
All these years, I sensed there was something else going on. I knew I dreaded the inevitable rise to middle management, with its pointy-haired-boss associations. I learned that “expectation management” (i.e., always say it will take you twice as long, and dally however much needed to finish *just* inside of your promised due date) was the safest road to work-life balance. Risk? Me? Never! Too many meetings marked the gradual transition to “importance”, so they were to be avoided at all costs. Coworkers showing initiative were to be treated with distrust, and anyone suddenly being nice was instantly suspect!
It seems I understood, at least subconsciously, the world I was operating in. But some part of me craved that scariest of all things: a meaningful job.
Clearly becoming clueless is not the right answer. That leaves either opting out of the system all together (too much risk!), or becoming a sociopath (against my kind and benevolent nature!).
On the other hand, Venkat has offered additional insights into the dynamics of a corporate office, focusing on the languages used to communicate between the different layers of the hierarchy.
I am intrigued. I want to learn more. I wonder if there is a branch of anthropology that deals strictly with work environments…