I was recently touring a business that had signs warning against "Emotional Contagion".
I took a closer look when I had a spare moment, only to find that it was the newest iteration of a "Positive Attitude" campaign.
These things puzzle me – because they explicitly treat the symptom rather than the problem. Oh, I know why they only treat the symptom – it’s easier to just insist that everyone put on a "happy face" than actually fix a problem. That, while frustrating, is at least understandable. What I don’t understand is how these businesses manage to stay afloat.
My experience – and from speaking to others, I’m not alone here – is that when the "positive attitude" tropes get rolled out by management, it’s a clear signal that the company will never fix any problem from that point forward. Pointing out a difficulty or problem is seen as "negativity" and pushed back to the employee. The employee, of course, who was powerless to fix it in the first place (otherwise they would have just done it. Eventually these employees either adapt to the system (and stop trying to fix anything) or leave. The workplace becomes a less-funny clone of Dilbert or The Office.
And that’s where I get confused.
How do these companies manage to keep existing after that point?
Most of what I’ve been setting up at Alliteration Ink is a direct challenge to scammers, profiteers, and other ne’er-do-wells. It’s explicitly there to both make me money and show that the scammers don’t have to be asshats in order to make money. In the meantime, I want to outcompete the bullshit artists and inefficient idiots wanting to skim money off of the hard work of authors.
Why aren’t there organizations like Alliteration Ink in the healthcare, finance, education – wherever, really – outcompeting the hell out of Dilbert-esque workplaces? Serious question here – why haven’t more of us who are fed up with the daily dose of TPS reports, water-cooler cliques, and clock-riders just being our own bosses and doing our old jobs better than we were before?
If there’s something that’s been holding you back, let’s talk about it. Maybe we can all put our heads together and figure out a way to make this happen for all of us who know better and are tired of the same old alternatives.