The American business model is still based in the Industrial Revolution and employees are nothing more than machines. If management can figure out a way to use a more efficient machine, they will. If they can’t, they will try to figure out how to make you more efficient. We are still judged by efficiency or, the new buzzword, productivity; in other words: how much work can they get out of us? Our school systems are set up on the assembly line model and we graduate to jobs that pay us by the hour. If we don’t have any work to do, then you’d better look busy!
Last night we had some errands to run and Teresa and I stopped at a restaurant at about 5:00 for dinner, before the rush, we were among the only diners. (NO, I didn’t get the early bird old fart special. NEVER will.) The manager of the restaurant could be overheard asking one of his waiters, a grown man, “Are you tired?” “No,” the waiter answered, “I slept all day.” “Then sleep at home, let’s not be sitting down here.” The manager didn’t want his machines to sit down. “Love you too,” the waiter said through gritted teeth as he walked by our table.
Here’s the problem with the industrial revolution business model: Machines wear out. They succumb to stress. And, until the Creative Revolution takes hold and we are paid for results, not time, we need to do our best to relieve our own stress. Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction works, I’ve recently done a research project on the science of bringing meditation, yoga and other relaxation techniques into the workplace and it works. However, I can’t imagine most manages approaching their employees and instituting a mandatory daily meditation. No, that will either be a union negotiation issue or the sessions would become opportunities for subliminal company work harder messages… Sigh.
The truth is, unless you can find something creative and exciting about your daily job, you are subject to stress, like any machine. The creative approach to life allows you to become so engaged, so immersed in your job that stress isn’t even an issue, you are mindful in your job. For those who can’t find a way to be an artist at work, then be an artist after work, work is a lot more tolerable if you have a creative passion waiting for you at home.
“Hey! Sit down, take a load off,” that manager could have said, “together, we’ll work hard enough when the rush gets here.”