I am no longer forcibly immersed in the excruciating workplace rituals of the modern office, so the occasional petal of pretentious word confetti is generally no truly onerous psychological burden.
But the notion of the ‘work family‘ manifestly grinds my gears. It reeks of perverse potential.
Matt Hancock just slipped in a reference to ‘our NHS Family’ earlier, which stank on two counts. Firstly, he had wheedled his way into a virtuous gig and was snorting up some of that freebie feelgood mojo to boot. Well, he probably needs a lift whenever he ponders on the mounting death toll and the wankered economy. Secondly, it makes us less inclined to bombard him with brown stuff because that would be a simultaneous strafe on the whole ‘family’.
Ironically, while Matty was doubtless majoring on a metaphor for familial cohesion, ‘family’ might for others conjure up imagery of discord, abuse, and coercive control. And lest we forget, some scumbags like to dump freely on their family members, only to crawl back into the fold when it suits their purposes.
Commercial organisations are however the most febrile for the faux family farce.
These are frequently headed by tunnel-visioned psychos who cannot see beyond the four walls of their own institution until it becomes an institution in every sense of the word. Their use of the term family greatly assists them with the essential emotional crutch of their ersatz family tree. Outside work, they have nothing. With these jokers, the mask invariably slips when an employee hands in their notice and the boss disappears up his own balloon knot in a hissy teenage strop. The same toys hurtle out of the pram like intergalactic missiles when somebody blithely pipes up that they cannot make it to the Christmas party, and the sugary smiles turn to candy floss in a lip-trembling rage.
Other corporate clowns are more conniving in their application of the family flim-flam. These are the coercion-and-control merchants. As veritable good eggs, we are all generally encultured that family comes first and that abandoning one’s family is just about as egregious as it gets. This work/family enmeshment prepares the ground for unscrupulous chieftains to enrich themselves at the expense of their rinsed employees. In so many cases, employees are blackmailed away from invaluable time from their real families through endless demands of extra-curricular tasking. That is time that they will never get back, which sadly many never tumble until it is way too late.
And it gets murkier. We tend to forgive our errant family members for their most outrageous sins and would rather vigorously bang a wasp nest with a honeyed weapon than dob them in. We are after all blinded to facts and good judgement by emotion. Start viewing the professional world through that lens, and it is a short stop to unfettered incompetence, villainy, and wholesale decline.
Never forget too that the most nefarious demonstration of the artificial ‘family’ is fostered in the world of organised crime.