Let me tell you about a really funny, in a twisted kind of way, memory that came back to mind today, dear reader.
In a previous life I was involved in business management. That’s when you have all the responsibility and accountability when things go wrong and it’s all about us the team when they turn out right.
Or as Hopper the grasshopper says in ‘A Bugs Life; First rule of leadership: everything’s your fault. But I digress.
One time I was being recognized for my magnificent people leadership and bottom line improvement skills (stop the eye rolling over there) in a profit center that had been hemorrhaging financially, for quite some time prior to my having taken it over. The award I was being given was called, Moving The Needle, signifying the improvements my team and I had made.
So there we were, a room full of people. My boss was saying some way cool things about me, all true of course, and focusing particularly on the value of being an individual. You know, doing your own thing, being a little unusual, distinctive, unique, quirky, headstrong and perhaps even a bit pigheaded.
Here’s the funny thing. While he was laying it on thick about individuality, you know what we were all wearing in that room? Suits, ties and in case of some, identical uniforms; penguins on parade, talking and nodding wisely about individuality.
I hasten to add that I’m not poking fun at the people or the occasion. I still have that little plaque someplace. The genuineness of intention was, and still is appreciated, however, to be speaking about individuality so vigorously and unequivocally while at the very same time conforming to the point of almost bending the knee at the mention of The dress code, is just a tad duplicitous.
I remember one of my colleagues at the time rolling her eyes and saying something like, We’re all individuals within rigidly controlled boundaries. I think she had a very good point.
What would have happened if someone had walked into that presentation, or any formal meeting, in ripped jeans and thongs, Flip-flops for our American friends? At best they would have been about as popular as a pork chop at a vegan picnic. More than likely that persons future with the organization would have been short lived.
Conformity is taken very seriously. In many, many instances it is taken with extreme seriousness.
Also quirky, to put it mildly, is the fact that people and organisations who profess to be free, are the ones most regimented.
Why is that? Same reason we talk ad nauseam about, and spend millions promoting health, yet gorge on junk foods and beverages and indulge in many other decidedly unhealthy activities and glamorise speed.
It’s also the same reason people don’t like their jobs but continue doing them, profess friendship until they are needed, keep voting incompetence into public office time after time, claim to hate their weight but continue eating wrong foods, say I’m fine when they clearly are not and a myriad of other lies.
All these things are diversions. Self imposed detours from reality.