Tuesday, 19 October 2010

We're Number One, So Why Try Harder?

It would seem that I myself am greatly privileged in a way I did not expect, because apparently, according to the kind of bullshit survey that occassionally makes the local papers, the place where I work is the best place to work in my entire region.

Hmmm. Well, I suppose these things are a matter of opinion, and I suppose for the (privileged) majority, a workplace like mine is pretty good; but personally, there are a lot of aspects of the place that make me, personally, more than a little uncomfortable. But I have my generous hat on right now, and I'm going to assume these things are more a result of the bullshit work culture that currently prevails in this country, rather than failings specific to my place of work.

Who knows? Your workplace may well have won some award or other in its own region. Hell, it at least has to have Investors in People status, right? Although, in my experience, any company that doesn't actively dismember its employees can get that one, and even if dismembering did occur they could probably scrape through as long as they only did it to a certain percentage of staff and made sure it was done in a caring way. Put it this way: I've worked in some shitholes, and they all had Investors in People status. Go figure.

Whatever awards your place of incarceration  work has under its belt, you can bet it touts them proudly, because endless self-cheerleading is one of the more nauseating features of the modern business culture, from the executives repeating their affirmations to each other as they brush their teeth in the morning to the press releases explaining breathlessly how Fuckthepoor.com (a division of PlanetRape Incorporated) is proud to give something back to the community by sponsoring the First Annual Bjorn Lomborg Greenwashing Prize. If you want a thorough overview of how this relentless positivity has fucked everything up, I can't recommend the sobering wisdom of Barbara Ehrenreich's Smile or Die enough.

But if you want a quicker, more bracing hit of cynicism to go with your morning cornflakes before you head off to the salt mines of late capitalism, you could always check out the new entry on my Write Out Loud blog.

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