Monday, 19 February 2018

#449 Threshold thoughts

The temp job still hadn't started yet. As it turned out, the flexible hours of a university support worker were flexible both ways. The first lecture on Monday had been cancelled which now meant that it would be Monday afternoon before I got my first taste of support worker life.

The return to work would in some sense be a small step into the unknown. Beyond the boundaries of East Dulwich and the familiar commute that I kept making to city hubs to use their WiFi, was a whole world of traps, opportunities, characters and questions that hadn't even been asked yet. In theory the temp work could be a doddle. It was at the simplest end of all available forms of labour. Then again, I'd never done this particular temp work before.

During the week I'd been talking to a startup whose mission was to bring more humanity to corporate structures. The team's expertise in this area was in variants of traditional hierarchies and working methods. They were looking for staff and interns to spread awareness.

From a biological perspective, humans had been organising themselves into social hierarchies for millions of years, as had the animals that preceeded them. Even organisational hierarchies were thousands of years old and deeply embedded into our culture. From what I'd heard, neurologists had identified a serotonin-based mechanism that regulated each person's position within social hierarchies.

Maybe organisational hierarchies were different though. Perhaps they relied more on culture rather than chemistry. If that was true, then given the relative dynamism and impulsiveness of which some cultural changes were capable, there seemed some scope to play with the status quo. It seemed like a bold ambition.

I wondered what personal motivations the founders had for pursuing such a mission. If beginning a temp job was a step into unfamiliar territory, then launching a startup was a step hundreds of times greater. No doubt their reasons were strongly felt. A person needs vast quantities of reason to take one last look at normality and then put their foot to the floor, speeding their way on past the threshold.

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