Drove home today down the A23. Crossed under the M27 and took a right at the mini roundabout into Mill Lane. Under the bridge and put the pedal to the metal intending to swing out into the overtaking lane and hammer up the hill as I often do. A brief thrill before getting home that I’m sure many Brightonians also enjoy. However, it seems the powers that be have deemed this dangerous and have arranged for the middle lane to be painted out with white traffic separation lines. One must now progress in single file – Hey ho. It was nice while it lasted. No doubt this was done for safety reasons and who can argue with that.
One problem with employing professional road safety staff is that they feel obliged to go around making things safer. No, hear me out. By this I mean that they will arrive at their desks on a Monday morning and wonder what they can improve this week. However, they will not have a clear target of exactly how safe society should be and since there exists no corresponding organisation going around making things more dangerous the net result is a gradual ratcheting up of rules, controls and general restrictions on individual freedom. Health and safety gone mad as it’s known colloquially.
I give the road markings as one example but this affects all areas of our lives. The human race is engaged in a gradual process of domestication. Think about it. Europeans and North Americans can’t even visit India without becoming ill. Like monkeys reared in captivity we cannot now survive in the wild. This is why men crave danger. This is why people go bungee jumping. This is why young men kill themselves performing dangerous stunts.
This domestication especially affects our work lives where large corporations develop codes of conduct and dress codes. How did we reach the stage where our employers can dictate our etiquette and attire? It’s mind boggling.
Yesterday I became a little emotional at work. Not much. Just a bit. I considered that someone had not performed their work properly and this was preventing me performing my work while I was under pressure to meet deadlines. I did not shout, I didn’t insult anyone. Perhaps I swore, I was definitely more forthright than usual. Having reflected a while I now realise that my behaviour may have been considered “unprofessional” by a senior manager present. He noted that there seemed to be emotion around this; the implication being that the issue should have been raised in a calm manner. We should have sat down and discussed it coolly.
Many years ago I returned from working in Africa and could not figure out what the fuck had happened to the IT industry. Most people seemed unable to understand technology yet they pontificated confidently on the subject and held down highly paid jobs. I now realise I had been absent during the “professionalisation” of the industry.
All industries go through various stages as they mature. First an inventor, then a craftsman, then a professional. The inventor understands his work inside out because he created it. The craftsman understands most of his work because he loves it. The professional understands just enough of his work to make money. I had left England as an IT craftsman and returned to find IT run by professionals. It was the Blair Bullshit era when the government was led by the likes of Mandelson and Campbell and the whole of Britain was Talking Bollocks and raking in the lolly.
Since that time I have learned the stuff that they teach people who do not understand IT in order for them to work in the industry. PRINCE2, ITIL, COBIT. Like the highway code, people may be trained in this stuff so that they can operate the controls without having a clue how things functions or knowing where they should be going.
So now, IT is like every other “profession”. Staffed mainly be people who don’t care about their work. People who take no pride in what they do. People who are capable of ensuring that the right emails are cc’d to their boss while other emails go unanswered. People who assess requests from colleagues according to the benefit to their careers. Think about it: What is more unprofessional, doing a crap job or losing your temper that someone is not doing a good job?
These allegations are not aimed directly at my current colleagues. A foul temper is as bad as incompetence (Jones first law?). However there does seem to be a general trend in large corporations to suppress emotion. But passion is an emotion and if your work without passion then your results can never be more than mediocre. Corporations strives to suppress our individuality. Their goal is to embed intelligence in the process so that numpties can be employed for peanuts. In the words of John Lyndon: “They made these feelings go away, a model citizen in every way”.
Or perhaps more appropriately: “Anger is an energy”. I could be wrong? I could be right?