Weirdos in the Workplace: How Did We Get Here, and Where Are We Going?
- As Goes the World, So Goes the Workplace
- The Age of the Organization Man (Stifling)
- The Age of Diversity (Tolerating)
- The Age of the New Economy (Accepting)
- The Age of the Individual (Rejoicing!)
A weirdo is anyone not like you? Sad, but true. Let's get this straight right from the start. Which is one reason why there seem to be more and more of them out there. Have you noticed that you can't even count on people who look like you to be normal (like you) anymore? It's every man (or woman) for himself.
A Weirdo is anyone not like you!
Whatever happened to the good old days when people just came to work, did their jobs, kept their mouths shut, and didn't rock the boat? And you could count on them coming back the next day, and the next day, and doing it again and again until they got a gold watch and retired. And why is career success becoming so difficult for so many?
Why have workers and workplaces become so weird? Granted, the older we get, the narrower our definition of normal becomes, but it's more than just perception. Something is changing, and it's not just our perception. So what is it? What's the world coming to?
As Goes the World, So Goes the Workplace
The answer to these questions is that the workplace is a microcosm of society. The more aware you are of issues in modern society and culture, the more you can become a foreseer of workplace trends and challenges. It's absolutely fail-proof, and history proves it.
But before we go into a history lesson, it's important to understand that society, organizations, and individuals all follow a similar adaptive progression that can be captured in the acronym STAR: Stifling, Tolerating, Accepting, Rejoicingparticularly when it comes to major cultural shifts, which is what we are talking about here. It may happen at differing speeds, but the steps never change.
Think about it. When a change is thrust upon you that you do not initiate, nor that you want, isn't your first response to attempt to stifle it, to deny its relevance or its validity? But, once you realize that it is here to stay, you have to learn to tolerate it. That's just natural human adaptation. Eventually, if and when you realize it isn't going to kill you, and that you can't make it go away, for your own good, you must learn to accept it. It's a new status quo.
It's the R in the STAR progression, however, that is the most difficult for most people, and must be set as a conscious goal before it can be accomplished. That is, to eventually learn to embrace the new reality and to find a way to actually capitalize upon it for you and your organization's own benefit and success. It's at this point that you and those around you can actually rejoice and succeed in the new reality. It's not easy, and it may not always be possible, but it is always advisable and desirable.
Now, the history lesson. Let's see how this STAR progression and the fact that "As goes the world, so goes the workplace" has been proven over time, and where it is taking us.