Saturday, October 17, 2015

People Movement

My brothers are both Doctors. When one of them went to his interview for Medical School, he told the story of how fascinating he found dissecting animals to learn their biology. He was asked why then he hadn't become a Vet? His answer was that he was sure Humans were as fascinating, but there weren't any available to teenagers to dissect! Another friend, while growing up, almost killed a number of our buddies in his various go-kart experiments. What he was really interested in was flying. He was a master paper aeroplane crafter, but clearly go-karts are available to teenagers while actual flight is avoided. The things we love, and the things we dislike, are often not as obvious as a simple story.


Sometimes people love people. They want to help. They become social workers. Champions. But then their actual days become a struggle with mental health issues, insufficient support and poor administration. They feel trapped because they don't feel like they are helping people. Some people love animals and so, unlike my brother, they do become Vets. Then they end up dealing with sick animals. Others become psychologists and then get trapped because day in, day out, they are having to provide emotional support to others, when sometimes they aren't in the head space to do it. It's not always what it says on the tin.

Quite often the mechanics of whether you enjoy your job aren't the idea of what that profession is. They are the rituals. They are the people. All jobs have an element of admin, a commute, colleagues, bosses, politics, pay discussions and comparison to what our friends and family chose to do. Particularly in business, the skills needed are quite generic. Responding to problems. Communicating. Organising. It almost doesn't matter what the specific product or service is a lot of the time, the things that need doing are very similar. 

The 'Labour Movement' came out of an idea that within businesses, the system isn't as democratic as within government. You have bosses. They have bosses. They have the boss. The boss has the owners. It is the ultimate form of 'archy', but it is acceptable in most cases because you can leave the company if you aren't happy, and it is supposed to be a meritocracy. I wrote about my favourite company, Google, and how this clashes with the fact that they are 'Benevolent Dictators'. Because of special shares, some of the 'owners' don't get a vote. People may be able to leave if they don't like a job, but it is a much bigger deal for them than it is for the company. Most companies have lots of employees. Employees typically only work for one company. Changing roles, companies or professions is a huge, life defining, decision.

I think a 'People Movement' would be more powerful than a 'Labour Movement'. Instead of being based around negotiating power, it would be around providing people support, flexibility and skills to find more moments of flow. Whether that is looking at the wonders of the natural world and how things work, seeing your friends fly to near death over bumps, spending time in nature with animals, or helping people by listening to them. I think few people end up doing jobs they would do anyway, even if they were financially independent. Most people end up doing jobs they have to. The one they can find, that accepts reality, and that meets(ish) their dreams.

What work we do still dominates most of our lives. Even if we can't all love our jobs, making sure we are happy at work has knock on effects for when we are doing whatever else we love doing. It also makes sure we have enough energy for the people we love doing those things with.
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