“Alone all things else, to their own self be true”. Noble sentiments and good advice can come from the most unlikely places. The fellow who uttered the words above spoke wise words, though he was reprehensible in most other ways. Anyway he got his comeuppance; go see Hamlet if you want to see how.
Recently I’ve been musing over equalitarian workplaces: how to make one. Fun and flow, and how to get some, and it seems to me that being true to values and ensuring those values are comfortable with where and how you work is an essential part of it all.
So how do you ensure values compatibility with your workspace? First, answer me this: what are your values? Tricky question. There is a simple way to answer this one, w.r.t. work anyway, and it goes like this:
Remember a workspace relationship you have had in the past which you really enjoyed. Perhaps a person who you worked for or with, maybe studied with, like a teacher you really liked. If you can think of several, hone in on the most recent two. I’ve worked in quite a few places, so I liked a couple of people whose titles were (somewhat ironically) “Manager”. I say ironically because neither were keen on doing much managing and tended to keep out of my way. Anyway for each of these two people, describe what you liked about them. (For me they were fun loving, laid back, had a “why not, can do” attitude, un-hierarchical, egalitarian thinkers and non-dogmatic.
Repeat this for the other person and there you have it. Now you can look for a workplace where you can be true to yourself.
I hear you saying “How do I find a place like that?” A little detective work can help find one, or you can make your own! Finding one is probably the more difficult as they seem to be rare in most companies, and tend not to advertise their virtues unless they are Google or Virgin. So sleuth gear on, ask lots of questions from anyone you will have contact with, and a few you won’t, and a picture won’t be too far away. If people are reluctant to answer questions, run away fast. Remember you will be there most of your working life from now on! It’s worth investigating first.