Impressions and Reality -
The first impressions of an office are comforting: a warm welcome, an
important but not too imposing title, a nice ergonomically adjustable chair
and desk conforming to some workplace health and safety specification, and
lastly, friendly colleagues. It is a stable and rewarding environment, the
fruit of modernity and equality, and all that you need to make an effort
and contribute to society is at your fingertips. Be grateful that you are
in an office because it's a long way from eking an existence on the hostile
savannahs we humans and sabre-tooth tigers used to share, it's healthier
than an underground industrial revolution coalmine and in terms of
conducting business globally, it's hardly as terrifying as fighting (and
maybe dying) for your nation's economic superiority in a war over resources
in a savage land.
Over a third of the workforce in the West is employed within the knowledge
economy and so they spend their days in the humble office. In relation to
everything else this environment is a relaxing place to be, but for all the
comfort there are flipsides - it is not exactly a gravy train to an easy
life. Beneath the gentle hum of productivity, social chit-chat and civility
runs a vicious undercurrent of conduct, competitiveness, reward and status.
At stake is your weekly wage, power, and a sense of worth and purpose in a
world and time where nothing is certain.