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Not Prince Hamlet

"Full of high sentence, but a bit obtuse."

Jet Lag Is for The Birds (who coo outdide my window at 5 am)

Friday, March 03, 2006

Yeah, I'm not sleeping. In the place where I have slept for the past 30 days it's 1 in the afternoon; my brain's like, "Hey! It's the middle of the day! Let's do stuff!" And my body is like, "No way, man. Can't you feel how tired we are?" And my brain's like, "Tired schmired; you're not sleeping any time soon, so you might as well get up."

And that's that.

So here's a post about another book I read last month (or at least finished during the month): Douglas Rushkoff's Get Back In The Box: Innovation from the Inside Out. It's a fantastic book through and through, written for the business community and addressing fundamental assumptions about work, purpose, and innovation. I'm not in the business community, but Rushkoff's insight and argument will apply to a broad range of communities and no small number of individuals. His core proposition is that businesses need to be driven, in their innovating and operating, by a knowledge of their "core competency"; that is, they need to know what it is they do best and to be secure enough to do that thing really really well, while ignoring all of the clarion calls to "expand" to this or that market.

Enough in the way of summary.

The book devotes a whole chapter to the idea of fun and work. Rushkoff ridicules those corporate efforts to inject "fun" into work, like casual Fridays, office parties, and weekend retreats. Because if your work is so bad that you have to work extra just to avoid being bored to death, then you should be doing something else.

In this post on his blog, Rushkoff develops the idea a little further. Here's a money quote from the post:

"Real fun at work means the work itself is the fun. Go visit the people at Apple, Google, Fleuvog, Herman Miller, Powell's Bookstore, DC Comics or Song Airlines, to name just a few, and you'll find people who derive fun and meaning from what they do. And that's what attracts employees and consumers, alike."

I agree. But here's my question: is this a luxury that can be afforded only by those with the lifestyle mobility to be so deliberate about their choice of work? Do the exigencies of modern life necessitate work--any work--that will put food on the table and pay the rent, regardless of how much one "enjoys" it?

I wonder what my dad would say. He's worked for 30 + years at the Adolph Coors Company in Golden, Colorado, operating the machinery that prints the labels on aluminum cans. I honestly don't know how much he honestly "enjoys" that work, how "fun" it is for him in and of itself, and how much he has been faithful to it for all the reasons one is faithful to their job. In fact, I think he enjoys parts of it immensely, the parts that have to do with engineering and mechanics. But I also know that leisure time away from work has always been extrememely important to him, so there must be something about "work" that makes it such a desireable place to leave.

I suppose it's that way for all of us, to one degree or another.
posted by Not Prince Hamlet, 3:15 AM


Rocky, you need to get you and your two buddies signed up for Fantasy Baseball! Come on, you've been home for two days already! :o)
commented by Blogger Scott, 1:53 PM  

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