“Words are pale shadows of forgotten names. As names have power, words have power. Words can light fires in the minds of men. Words can wring tears from the hardest hearts.”
― Patrick Rothfuss, The Name of the Wind

Am I the only person to think that what’s said at work is a faux version of reality?

Or to put it another way, we rarely speak our truth.

This means: things don’t change.

Meetings, interviews and customer pitches. It’s all pretty much the same:

blah, blah, blah.

Why is that?

We’re afraid of being shown up?
We’re afraid of losing our job?
Or we’ve lost touch with reality?

Perhaps I’m being too prosaic — or is that too clever for my own good — but every day I find myself withdrawing to a faux version of what I really want to say; namely, this sucks and we need to fix it. But I don’t. I’m well past that point, knowing that nothing will change. Oh yes, I’d forgotten to mention that.

But here’s the thing, whether it’s climate change, greedy or inept bosses or dysfunctional work environs, we’re all paying a very high price psychologically, physically and spiritually for not speaking our truth. (It’s no wonder, is it, that each year when the survey results are hung out to dry, that we bear witness to the same numbers apropos employee engagement etc.)

I could end things there, but I’ll make one further point. Leadership. What of it? Well, where is it? Imagine being self-anointed to that role and doing sweet FA to change the language of your team or company? If I think of all the interactions I’ve been forced to endure over the last 12 months — banks, insurance companies, and retailers — I can’t think of many, perhaps only one (Saltrock Clothing), where it was a joy to speak to the person who was trying to get to the bottom of my incy wincy complaint or query. The rest, it was like they were on autopilot. And I blame the supposed leaders for allowing this faux exchange. There. Said it. And I feel better for doing so, but hopefully you get my not-very-subtle point.

Now of course a post like this leaves a lot out and is about as unnuanced as they come but as someone who loves words, particularly their etymology, I strain and bridle against the way we’ve allowed companies to get away with such tawdry behaviour qua employee and customer/client. I don’t want to say one day things will be different because that’s like wishing for a miracle, but if I had my time over again, I sure as hell wouldn’t have allowed so much drivel and gobbledygook to slip by unnoticed.

Anyhow, it’s that time again.

Love you all.

— JS

ecological pessimist — influenced by Zapffe, Benatar, Thacker