This isn't working. Can we talk about that?

    Thankfully, there’s no-one calling me back into the office. But this post is about people who are being recalled — as well as those working in sub-optimal remote settings.

    This post suggests that the phrase “this isn’t working” should be viewed as an invitation for dialogue rather than a threat, arguing that open communication is crucial for things inadequate in the workplace.

    The Future of Work conversation is full of rejected gifts. We've seen bosses throw "this isn't working" back in employees' faces as "entitlement." As "millennials." As "no one wants to work anymore." We've seen employees throw it back in their CEO's face, too, as "outdated." Or "boomers." Or "something something commercial real estate." As far as we can tell, that point-scoring hasn't gotten us any closer to the future we're all trying to build.

    We know that everyone’s sick of constantly redesigning the rules of work. There’s this revisionist nostalgia for, in some quarters, 2019. And in others, 2021. We know that some of you have built systems here in 2023 that are working for you, and you would like them to please just stay put for a goddamned minute. We get that. But when someone tells you that those systems aren’t working for them, shouting them down won’t give you the peace and quiet you want.

    […]

    By all means, read what other orgs are doing. Maybe there are things you can learn from what Apple does, or Google, or Smuckers. But there’s no shortcut around the conversation. Every sales person, fundraiser, marketer, product leader, and designer will tell you the same thing. You have to talk to people to know if you’re actually reaching them. To know if any of your solutions actually solve the problem.

    Source: Sorry I’m getting kicked out of this room | Raw Signal Group

    Professional try-hards

    I love this article about, variously, work-life balance, the future of work, quiet quitting, and the ridiculousness of Silicon Valley culture. To be honest, I feel very fortunate to not have to put up with any of this bullshit in my day-to-day work.

    [T]he future of white-collar work has morphed from an advertiser-friendly thought exercise to an existential question with a daily subset of moral riddles: Is that an illicit midday nap, or is it just work-life balance? Is it really the end of work friends, or is it just that a defensive herd mentality is no longer crucial to getting through the day? Is it worse to work on vacation, or to have a little vacation at work? Is the delivery bot lost in the woods, or is he finally free?

    […]

    I’d love to be flip and just say that, at this point in planetary decline, anyone who’s a little too interested in emails and Google Docs basically counts as a try-hard, but there’s a specific category of salaryfolk and company leadership provoking a justifiable kind of scorn. The professional try-hard I’m talking about is someone who, in the year 2022, still earnestly and performatively buys into the white-collar hustle and prides themselves on it. You know this person. They’re a cross between a teacher’s pet and a supply-room narc; if they’re not already a manager, they certainly aim to be one day. While everyone else got with the program that trying hard at work—against a political and national backdrop that feels like daily, endless crisis—is ridiculous, or worse, meaningless, these guys (it’s not exclusively a male thing, of course, but I’m not not being gendered on purpose) haven’t quite gotten with the program.

    […]

    What’s clear—and what’s behind the reason that professional try-hards are flailing so fantastically—is that the very concept of corporate competence itself has become a joke. The ideals that white-collar striving is built upon have started to crumble: Imagine believing in true “innovation” in a world where Meta, formerly the most exciting company on earth, is reduced to hitting copy and paste. Imagine still buying into the corporate ladder in any sector where performance evaluations might be rife with racial disparities, or where the executives have essentially admitted on the stand that their entire industry is just a game of roulette. Imagine having faith at all in any idea of “corporate good” when the guy celebrated for years as the “one moral CEO in America” is now the subject of a rape investigation (that CEO has denied the allegations). Just last month, Adam Neumann, the disgraced WeWork founder whose implosion was so well-documented that it got turned into prestige television, reportedly received a $350 million second chance for pretty much the same idea he rode to ruin last time.

    Imagine, in other words, believing anyone in charge knows what they’re doing. But okay, sure, sic the productivity-management software on everyone else to make sure we’re not online shopping a touch too much.

    Source: The Professional Try-Hard Is Dead, But You Still Need to Return to the Office | Vanity Fair

    Professional try-hards

    I love this article about, variously, work-life balance, the future of work, quiet quitting, and the ridiculousness of Silicon Valley culture. To be honest, I feel very fortunate to not have to put up with any of this bullshit in my day-to-day work.

    [T]he future of white-collar work has morphed from an advertiser-friendly thought exercise to an existential question with a daily subset of moral riddles: Is that an illicit midday nap, or is it just work-life balance? Is it really the end of work friends, or is it just that a defensive herd mentality is no longer crucial to getting through the day? Is it worse to work on vacation, or to have a little vacation at work? Is the delivery bot lost in the woods, or is he finally free?

    […]

    I’d love to be flip and just say that, at this point in planetary decline, anyone who’s a little too interested in emails and Google Docs basically counts as a try-hard, but there’s a specific category of salaryfolk and company leadership provoking a justifiable kind of scorn. The professional try-hard I’m talking about is someone who, in the year 2022, still earnestly and performatively buys into the white-collar hustle and prides themselves on it. You know this person. They’re a cross between a teacher’s pet and a supply-room narc; if they’re not already a manager, they certainly aim to be one day. While everyone else got with the program that trying hard at work—against a political and national backdrop that feels like daily, endless crisis—is ridiculous, or worse, meaningless, these guys (it’s not exclusively a male thing, of course, but I’m not not being gendered on purpose) haven’t quite gotten with the program.

    […]

    What’s clear—and what’s behind the reason that professional try-hards are flailing so fantastically—is that the very concept of corporate competence itself has become a joke. The ideals that white-collar striving is built upon have started to crumble: Imagine believing in true “innovation” in a world where Meta, formerly the most exciting company on earth, is reduced to hitting copy and paste. Imagine still buying into the corporate ladder in any sector where performance evaluations might be rife with racial disparities, or where the executives have essentially admitted on the stand that their entire industry is just a game of roulette. Imagine having faith at all in any idea of “corporate good” when the guy celebrated for years as the “one moral CEO in America” is now the subject of a rape investigation (that CEO has denied the allegations). Just last month, Adam Neumann, the disgraced WeWork founder whose implosion was so well-documented that it got turned into prestige television, reportedly received a $350 million second chance for pretty much the same idea he rode to ruin last time.

    Imagine, in other words, believing anyone in charge knows what they’re doing. But okay, sure, sic the productivity-management software on everyone else to make sure we’re not online shopping a touch too much.

    Source: The Professional Try-Hard Is Dead, But You Still Need to Return to the Office | Vanity Fair