CHAPTER 1: The problem with regular jobs
Section 1: The primacy of organizational mandates
Regular jobs can be a fabulous means of earning steady income, but at what cost to your soul? If you are one of the lucky people who love their job and feel totally fulfilled with what you’re doing, you merit hearty congratulations. Most people, however, hold some reservations about their occupation, and many people have an outright dislike of their employment routine.
Why? What is the problem with regular jobs?
Anyone who has worked at a regular job in a large corporation knows that the experience could easily become dehumanizing. A legitimate complaint in many situations is that staff members are known as much by their employee numbers as by their personal names, and this is an unfortunate reality of computerized payroll systems, enhanced security access and other such necessities of corporate operations.
Once an organization grows to a relatively large size, as measured by the number of its employees, it takes on a corporate life of its own independent of any one particular individual. The aggregation of employees gives the collectivity its energy and impetus, but the organization assumes a distinct corporate identity that becomes marketable in and of itself, separate from the personality of its employees.
Think of any of the larger, better known multinational corporations, and you’ll soon realize that its commercial trademark has come to represent the entire company. Branding is a legitimate business endeavor that seeks to promote the identity of the corporation, as well as keep it front and center in the minds of consumers, particularly their target audience. Aside from a public persona who may be used for marketing purposes, we don’t know who actually works in that company, and most often it doesn’t matter at all from a consumer perspective.
Everyone employed by that organization must, to a greater or lesser degree, work for the benefit of the company, and it should be so from a corporate perspective, as the primacy of the organizational mandate becomes imperative for the prosperity of the corporation. The mission statement of the firm must be fulfilled, the corporate goals must be achieved, the quarterly sales quotas must be attained, or the inevitable conclusion will be drawn that the corporation requires improvement and reorganization.
At the extreme end of this paradigm, we must recognize that any one person or group of persons within a corporation is dispensable if such dispensability is required for the survival of the company. If one particular individual is found to not contribute positively to the growth of the corporation, or worse yet, is found to be a definite liability, that person will tactfully be asked to find employment elsewhere, or less ceremoniously escorted from the premises with due justification. Likewise with respect to groups of people – down sizing, right sizing, and resizing (whatever the terminology used), are methods of ensuring that the corporation endures.
How many companies have considered the principle of “right staffing?” This new paradigm predicates that the ideal solution for both corporations and individuals is the formula “the right people doing the right work for the right reasons.” Imagine working with colleagues whose mandate is to help you clarify your life calling and implement your lifework, so that by fulfilling your purpose you are making a unique contribution to the corporation and in return helping them fulfill their mission. Do you think such an organization would be profitable? Would this still be just a regular job for you?
The unfortunate reality in the traditional mode of doing business is that organizational mandates are almost exclusively self-serving and self-defined. How many corporate mission statements refer to their employees’ life calling? Corporate mission statements, by their definition, refer only to the collectivity and serve to reinforce the primacy of the organizational mandate. The situation is improving with younger, more dynamic companies, but there is still a long road ahead to break from the traditional corporate norms.
What is the cost to your soul of keeping a regular job? Why are you willing to continue paying it?
What reservations do you have about your occupation? What do you dislike about your employment routine?
What does the “right staffing” paradigm (The right people doing the right work for the right reasons) reveal about your suitability for your past/current jobs? About your job’s suitability to you?
Copyright © 2017, Joseph Civitella.