Robservations | Office Culture
Hey maaaaaan. Rob Lee here and I have something on my mind – office culture. I’ve worked many places during my 33 years. More than half of that time, it’s been spent working. It’s a weird system – check it – I started to work at 15 years old, my retirement age – this pre-planned metric of one’s usefulness to keep the capitalism monster is 62 or 65. It’s like being indebted to trade 50 years of your life to work hopefully most of that time at a place you like – a place you enjoy. Unfortunately, most of us endure. I send 4 years of my life in college learning the foundation of business etiquette, corporate culture and so on. Some of its applicable but a lot of it varies from place to place in my experience. Look at it like baseball – the game is played similarly from team to team with nuance. Nuance is important.
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So more to my observation on office culture or corporate culture. I’ve always, to at least a small degree recognized it’s a bullshit code of conduct created by people you’ll never see. For instance, what’s business formal and business casual? What does that have to do with my acumen as an accountant. If the best accountant wore jorts would that be unaccusable? It’s for someone else, it has little to do with the job. It’s part of the culture – “Here at workfirm we have casual Friday.” Right, sure – they’re defining ‘casual’ for us. What if casual for me is to wear Onitsuka Tigers and a Dashiki? That would unacceptable. It doesn’t fit office culture or office dynamics yet has nothing to do with the actual job. The office clothing generally goes trousers and a shirt for men. It’s strange for women as all types of sexual bullshit is filtered through. I’ve worked at places that have a light policy for women wearing dresses only. That’s wack! Pantsuits, however, are wacker.
We’ve all seen shitty people, that’s someone’s coworker, someone’s boss and that’s someone’s client. They suck. Imagine working in an office comprised of 100 or 200 hundred of these jerks. Describe these jerks? Sure. Let’s start with the boss – this person may be the benefactor of nepotism or is someone fighting the glass ceiling. Full disclosure most of my managers have been women – out of the 10 I’ve had only two were complete assholes. I can accept an asshole but if you’re not good at your job and make mistakes but are hyperbolic about the mistakes of others, you’re not a good manager. That’s a culture thing – usually jobs don’t have one or two bosses that exhibit these qualities – they have many – it’s engrained in the managerial training and cultivated by senior management behind closed doors because lord forbid they look like a megalomaniac in front of their team. They’re no coaches. Next up, the client – they’re usually uninformed but have timelines or some idea what they want but they must know exactly what they want. It’s like that old adage of garbage in, garbage out. Here’s the thing: they permeate stress – everything is a hair on fire emergency. They have minimal structure but know a “deliverable” needs to be delivered. Just imagine being around these people every day – it would make you dread going to work and loving the weekend. It fuels the beast – buying shit for convenience and long vacations – things to numb you from stress. Also, you have to navigate through everyone’s emotions and how they’ll impact you while their being only a façade of concern for your life, feelings, and most crucial for you job, workload.
Office culture usually has something about performance – these are crazy people telling you that you’re worth this or that. I had a closed-door argument with a boss who basically said I wasn’t manageable and they next week she wrote my performance review and expressed how I’m very flexible and a joy to work with. How Sway? There are probationary periods – those are anxiety producing. Granted some people are derelict of duty – but many of these decisions are based in ‘fit’ and ‘adaptability’. Can you fit into this shitshow for your pittance? Hell no, in most instances. If someone doesn’t like you – you can lose your
job and that has nothing to do with actual work performance. Jobs are also so haphazard at times with an influx of meeting and schedules that conflict but are essential. Also, let’s not forget the hours. Often, I’ve worked as a salaried employee – they moderate big bucks – those bucks however are based on 40-hours – the work week standard however that $50k a year job equates to about $26 per hour while let’s say working 50-hour weeks at that rate turns into $21 hours. That’s a nice drop. What’s your time worth? What’s your life worth?
Anything else you can think of? Drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org – put ‘Robservations’ in the subject