My friend Larah at BrainyFeet started a mutiny. I joined her mutiny two weeks ago. The basic premise behind Larah’s mutiny is that our societies’ systems are broken. The purpose of being a mutineer is to take back our social systems and do what you want on your own terms. Our systems of work and career, education, religion, politics and all those other things you don’t discuss in polite company, are all broken. You can check it out and become a mutineer here.
I’m a mutineer to my core, but I really get my back up about work. Our system of work and career is badly broken. We broke it a long time ago. A brief history lesson:
First, people were farmers and tradesmen. They farmed their family’s land or learned the family business. Some people became apprentices to other tradespeople. (Yes, that is a very oversimplified version. I said a brief history lesson.)
Then the industrial revolution came along. People left small towns and farms to come to the cities and get factory jobs. Factory owners quickly discovered that people aren’t wired to stand in one place and do repetitive tasks over and over, ad nauseam for 18 hours a day. So they came up with the gin cart. Workers drank themselves stupid to complete the tasks. A whole generation of workers went on one long bender.
When society recovered from the collective hangover, we found we needed a new way to integrate this whole work thing into our lives. The modern version of the gin cart is human resources office. Back to the history lesson…
Once upon a time the HR office was called the personnel office. They maintained records of promotions, raises, hiring and firing, almost like the city clerk’s office. Finally, someone figured out that humans are a resource that needs to be cared for and cultivated. So the HR office got staffed with coaches, mentors, organizational behaviorists and counselors instead of file clerks. On the surface it sounds like a great change.
The problem is, we expect our careers to do too much for us. In our quest to make our jobs part of our lives, we expect our careers to fill too many holes. We expect our work to build self-esteem, provide a social life, offer a creative outlet and provide opportunities to give back to the community. Our employers are expected to provide our healthcare, education and help us retire comfortably. A system that was originally developed to provide a paycheck is now filling so many needs, we require a whole category of professionals to handle a myriad of issues. When HR isn’t sorting through personal problems of employees, they have to handle benefits and medical problems. All with empathy, compassion yet still toeing the corporate line.
That’s why I left HR and joined a mutiny. As an entrepreneur, I get to work on my own terms. My work is part of who I am but it doesn’t define me. Work and career can take their rightful place in my world. I can go back to solving my problems outside the office. I don’t need a gin cart (although I reserve the right to keep a bottle in the freezer). That’s why I joined a movement dedicated to designing a better way.
What would your career look like if you worked on your own terms? What would your life look like? Join the conversation at BrainyFeet.