Friday, October 16, 2009

The Office

I've never seen the show, but after reading this article I am tempted.  It's tough reading, especially if you are not familiar with the characters.

I don't know if the writers of the show are truly aware of the principles that the article outlines, but they don't have to be aware of the principles to have a sense of the patterns and replicate them for fiction.

The truly short version is that each person begins their career in the naive belief that they can work hard and get ahead.  The world of work disabuses you of that notion pretty quickly.  Then you can choose one of three paths (article identifies 3, I see 4):
  • You can check out and merely give minimum effort at work, and then find life satisfaction elsewhere; becoming a "loser" at work.
  • You can try harder to overachieve and hope to miraculously overcome the unfairness of the system; becoming a "clueless" but needed pawn at work.
  • If you fail to understand the situation you also become clueless, but more so you become expendable chattel.
  • You can work on your career instead of your job, scheming and boot-licking your way up the ladder; becoming a "sociopath" who uses other people to get ahead.

The author of the article doesn't explicitly draw the distinction between the clueless and the chattel, but you can see the distinction in the way he discusses the clueless characters.

If I applied this type of analysis at Journyx you might say that I was clueless and forced out when I was sacrificed to save a sociopath's skin.  The pattern seems to fit, but I'm not sure if I am happy with the labels when applied to real life.

This management theory is worthy of serious discussion.  To achieve that these labels will have to change.  And as interesting as I find it, this is clearly Mr. Rao's topic to write.  I'll leave it to him.

What do you think?

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