In the dark days of London’s satanic mills, at the height of the industrial revolution, businesses were cold, mean and cut throat, making “profit” their explicit purpose without any regard for the welfare of their employees. Young boys, and I’m sure girls too, were forced to work in dangerous and dirty factories for minimal pay, while greedy capitalists with well-oiled mustaches, top hats and monocles peered down at them from well-varnished mahogany offices, where they glanced at stock prices and drank fine scotch. As many BBC documentaries have pointed out, it was only when unions and the womyn’s suffrage movement started pushing back that corporations finally started taking care of and babying their workers properly.
Thankfully, today, after many decades of progressive legislation and the emergence of protected corporations with no competitors, corporate life has become more akin to a nursery school. Grown men at Google’s head offices slide down colorful playground slides into ball pools before grabbing a green smoothie or soy cappuccino and opening up their laptops on bean bags and in cosy nap pods. Womyn occupy important positions throughout every major corporation and invade men’s spaces to make sure they aren’t talking about anything inappropriate like they do in the Wall Street movies, while minorities are grabbed up into every department to make sure no one is being racist. But perhaps the most delightful aspect of modern corporate life is the adoption of team building events, which combine schoolyard extra curricular activities with generic, platitudinous speeches by senior management to build maximum corporate morale.
Womyn in HR and visionary executives have transformed formerly dry and boring corporations into exciting playgrounds full of fun and play. As they say, you have to play hard to work hard, and what could be more fun than accompanying your grown adult colleagues to a paintball tournament, going kayaking or catching tennis balls? These team building events allow everyone to let their hair down, play the fool and “network” with other colleagues to advance through the ranks, instead of advancing by meeting objective standards like in the old days. Closing your eyes and letting your work colleague catch you as you fall teaches you trust and how to work as a team, while a game of tug of war teaches you communication skills and how to rise to meet a challenge. The most important thing to remember is that it’s all about team work. You are a TEAM when you work at a corporation, and every employee from the caretakers to the executives is working selflessly towards a common goal. They’re not trying to feather their own nests and acquire as much money, power and status for themselves as they can. They want to help you, and they want the company to do well, and they care about corporate values, just like you should.
Modern corporations are not about money anymore, like they used to be. You will never find “profit” listed as an explicit goal or principle within any major corporation. Instead, companies will state that their purpose is to “make the world a better place”, “bring us into the future”, “solve problems”, or “invest in other people”. It’s not about money – it’s about helping people and being a good person. It’s about self sacrifice, and it’s about being a child, completing HR personality tests and letting the company control your personal life.
A few mean people have tried to disrupt this infantalized corporate culture with “performance based remuneration”, which allows rogue employees to earn more by performing better according to a set of objective standards, instead of by sucking up to managers and depending on subjective performance reviews. These people are a menace to modern capitalism and have no place in a modern economy. Work should be school 3.0, except with fewer objective standards and more like a kindergarten than a high school or university. And thanks to new regulations passed by progressives, few will be able to escape this world and start businesses of their own. So whether you’re young or old, it doesn’t matter, welcome to the adult playground known as corporate culture – we hope you have fun, and aren’t afraid of an ice bucket or hula hoops? Be a good employee, make a fool of yourself, and you’ll go far. And remember, it’s all about teamwork.