Friday, July 20, 2018

Does the Corporation own our personal life?

A look at employee stresses that may lead to a new age of workplace evolution.

There was a time when bosses used to say to employees who were having a hard day at work, “Don’t bring your personal life to the office,” or “I don’t want to know about your personal life, get on with the job I’m paying you to do.” That message has changed over the years, and now reads, “Get on with the job of doing more with less, and also lead the life I expect of you.”

Somewhere at the end of the last century, employers realized that they needed to embrace the whole person at work, that the private life of an individual influenced his professional life and vice versa, and that they were ignoring a whole area that affected employee performance. So began the rounds of personality testing, and the emotional intelligence movement that scored employees on scales from extrovert to introvert—from red to blue, from feeling to thinking, from emotionally evolved to emotionally stunted—giving us night sweats that we had never before had in our lives, making us want to conform to an optimal corporate personality stereotype that some of us were totally unsuitable for. This “whole person” movement then intersected with a quest for doing more with less, as machines and computers began taking over “routine” tasks but creating other routine ones that now had to be dealt with incrementally by these personality and emotionally “boxed” employees.

Then came the social media age where employees were encouraged to express themselves on corporate and personal social media pages, as long as they posted politically correct messages. This followed with the move to check on what these employees were engaged in at their desks by planting clever bots to spy on keystrokes and provide reports to inquisitive bosses. Then the action moved on to monitor employees’ behaviour at recreational events that were no longer tied to the 9-to-5, or should we say the 24/7, workday. And woe be unto employees trying to de-stress in a socially unacceptable way—they were now on Candid Camera! Some of these employees had no social lives to begin with, due to being strapped to a grinding corporate life, so their behaviour outside of work had to have a reactionary component shaped by social media itself.

Then the sanctions and punishments started to rain down: “You were seen at this public sporting event, uttering rude words.” “Our team lost, I was upset.” “But you were spouting 4-letter words.” “That’s the way I talk when I hang out with my friends” “Well, you were caught on public TV and your tee-shirt bore our logo.” “Sorry, that’s the only stitch of clothing I have these days, you pay me so poorly.” “You’re fired!”

I am glad that I escaped before things got to this stage at the Corporation. Even back then, I realized that my days were numbered when I released my first novel fifteen years ago; I realized that I was going to end up in a conflicting situation sooner or later. My novels are not politically correct and are aimed at discovering the truth, while corporate messages are based on “positioning that exposes truthful elements and masks untruthful ones.” My books are complete exposés—all or nothing! Yes, it was time to exit gracefully. And I did.

But younger employees may not have that luxury. Theirs will be a life that will bear more scrutiny from employers, more suppression of their true natures (not sure what it will do to their emotional intelligence!), more nervous breakdowns as a result, and an earlier mid-life crisis, all in the name of earning a pay cheque. It may also lead to more self-employment that will ultimately compete and weaken the Corporation, and start the next cycle of workplace evolution.

About the Writer

Shane Joseph is a writer for BrooWaha. For more information, visit the writer's website.
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3 comments on Does the Corporation own our personal life?

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By Shane Joseph on July 09, 2015 at 05:54 am

Guanwei - pick another street corner to sell your replica watches. And take some English lessons in your spare time.

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By Shane Joseph on August 17, 2015 at 08:55 pm

The above comment was posted to get rid of a person (or bot) who was attaching promotional messages to my posts, promoting his (its) replica watches to those who were reading my posts. My "cease and desist" order above, plus intervention by the moderator seems to have sent him (it) packing to less hostile sites.

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By riginal on August 18, 2015 at 08:32 am

yeah Shane,missed this one, you've just about summed it up. 'I robot' mentality from the interview to the acronym 'suck' which isn't really the acronym but it has displaced succeed as in individual thought process and any aspirations to rise above the assembly line work/think ethic enforced by people who themselves have to justify their existence. Made so much easier by this process to chastise the subordinate, "you stuffed up. Why did you step off the systematic entrenched standard gauge line?" Numb seems the foundation glue many companies are built on. People of imagination must love working for ad companies, though under pressure, the freedom and expanse to think outside the square would be a bone of content to chew with verve. I wish i had of taken up the offer, but like a lot of people young, the fear factor and mortgage payments were 'excuse' hurdles. Anyone brave enough to take on fulltime writing,as in Novels etc, they have my admiration.:>) Although 1250 essay writers plus 900 proof readers i saw on one site peddling their words, surely would give a measure of backup and comfort to the isolated writer at loss for words? Begs the question Shane. If they're writers why would they need the proof readers? Mate was a proof reader for a major paper,wrote a funny book which didn't sell a lot through mismanagement and promotion problems. He hired a proof reader. Go figure. I'm just thinking of late how much an essay company would charge to write a 'best seller?' Something along the lines of 'death of a essay writer AN company!' One down, one million to go? Or, 'death of a replica flogger.' Now i've sparked your interest! Cheers. :>)

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