Monday, April 25, 2005

Don't Want to Be People

This lifestylism project often looks at work with an undercurrent of ambition, even when I might advocate an ambitious approach to minimizing how much time you spend working. I have no interest in being a manager or team leader in the company I work for, even though I have more seniority and experience...but I don't either want be on somebody else's "team" if the department needs a new layer of leadership. I just want to solve interesting problems and work with good people.

Another crossover from my work in educational technology is a philosopher named Stephen Downes. He recently started a blog to explore ideas outside of his professional interest and it's already full of gems. Here's his take on my conundrum:
"So now I work alone. On the bottom rung of the organization chart. I don't have people because I'm not willing to make that trade - to give up what's important to me in order to be given people. The flip side, of course, is that I don't want to be people either. It's not simply that I don't want to be the quarterback - I'm not willing to settle for being a linebacker either.

So was thinking about all this today as I read Fast Company and watched coverage of the Pope and listened to stories of the Gomrie enquiry and our aspirational Prime Minister and grumbled about the tightening grip of my employers, thinking about this and I asked myself, what changed? It wasn't so long ago that I wanted people - and while I haven't lost my ambition, my drive, my desire to make a difference, I don't want people any more. And it's not just the cost of getting people, it's more than that."

Check out the whole post for a great meditation on the concept of power.

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