My husband has been in the working world, as a professional, for 30 some years. I’ve been in this weird ghetto of the working world called publishing for 20 this fall.
And what we’ve found, and which is being brought home rather strongly by some friends’ experiences, is that most workplaces, work fields, work environments, are crab buckets. Most people don’t get much done, and they don’t want anyone else to.
Husband is in a good place right now, because it’s a small office, with congenial co-workers, and I… well, there’s always indie, right. But for most people, it’s impossible to escape the crab bucket.
This is another of those unfortunate consequences of humans being built from the clay of the earth, aka on the frame of a great ape.
Great apes are social animals, and belonging to the band, preserving your position in the band and climbing the hierarchy is ALWAYS more important than whatever the avowed goal of the band. Which is why most work places consist of “If I just take the big monkey down, I’ll be chief.” even if that destroys your actual productivity or the money your company might make.
Our government works the same way, btw, which makes it all make so much sense, right? Pulling power plays is way more important than the good of the nation for any and all of those apes.
Frankly, having seen how the sausage is made, the miracle is that anything gets done at all, and we’re not all still in the Savannah knapping flint.
Thing is, sometimes, for some blessed amount of time, in some places that seem like they were touched with special grace, you get people who work together at least minimally well, and don’t put blocks in each other’s way. People who put the task first.
It’s very rare. It didn’t even really happen at the constitutional convention, which is why slavery survived, unfortunately.
But it happened SOMEWHAT and that’s enough to make it The Miracle at Philadelphia.
And when it happens, here and there, occasionally, in offices and workplaces throughout the land, miracles occur. Suddenly, work gets done at a rate that should be impossible, things get accomplished that should not be possible.
It falls apart. Of course it does. The Monkey Games resume.
Honestly, even working with myself, the monkey brain will get in the way of the writing, mostly by telling me things are impossible. If I can shut it down just a few minutes, I can get great stuff done. (Maybe not on prednisone, but.)
So… try to minimize your monkey. When friction arises in work, examine whether it is real or the sort of “oneupmanship simian games humans play. If it’s the later, try to control it, at least if you give a hang about the results. Because those games rarely have anything to do with the actual issue, the actual product, the actual work. They’re monkey dominance games.
But what if you’re the one being played games on, and you can’t get them to stop — as is so often the case with Odds? — what do you do?
If you can, leave. If you can’t then remember you can accomplish most things so long as you don’t care who gets the credit.
Make your goal to get the job done. Make your goal to accomplish as much as you possibly can towards the goal. If that fails, just find another place/another way to work and keep on going.
It’s rather horrible that as humans try to do anything they’re hampered by their monkey brain, but then the attempt to be like onto angels, knowing good from evil didn’t work any too well. And if we could do that, maybe we’d lose task of what humans are and need (you could say that Darkships is an exploration of this.)
Right now, right where we stand, though, we have a culture to rebuild which is being torn apart not only but also because some young monkeys feel the need to symbolically kill their elders to claim dominance. Hence all the putting down of past greats by untried, unblooded people. And the ridiculous listening “to the children.”
The crabs pulling us back into the bucket, until we can all be boiled together are many. And all we can do is FIDO (F**K it, Drive on — as Brian Holcomb keeps telling me.)
There are things we can do. One thing we MUST do is remove funnels (Yeah, I just got the new Microsoft terms of service. Regulating speech, really? These are my middle fingers, boyos.) There are way too many monopolies on the net, and as always happens the boss monkeys are trying to absolute control.
And then when monkeys start monkeying with the important stuff? Just move on. Throwing poo in their faces is optional. (But highly recommended if they’re politicians.)
Go do things. Ignore the naysayers, even the ones in your brain. FIDO.