Whole self

The Empire strikes back. The recent opinion piece in the UK Times Do your job and leave your ‘whole self’ at home claims “Modern businesses’ obsession with authenticity and vulnerability is only making work harder”. It is sad to see but I suppose natural that the dying management ideology squeals a bit. She makes cogent arguments. But (a) they’re wrong and (b) it doesn’t matter , the advance is happening with or without them. Sure it’s uncomfortable, sure we need to learn new cultural protocols and ways of working. It’s happening and it’s better. Better results, better lives, better community.

The phrase “whole self” is a bad one. They are quite right that we present different personas in context. What is happening in the work place is not about exposing everything without restraint. It is the freedom to choose what and how much to expose. It is the freedom to have one’s personal self acknowledged and respected. The privileged are the ones who benefit by driving personal life out of work.

This freedom serves a much deeper and more important cause. Organisations have not just oppressed individual need and values, they’ve done the same to society in pursuit of owner wealth. We say enough. The social change is happening to hold companies accountable for their impact. The same flows on to the individuals, who have a right to work somewhere that aligns with their personal values , and to influence that.

We are not machines, we are not “human capital stock”.