Beware companies that claim to be “cool”, and walk right out of the door if they use a word like “funky”.
My current employers are housed in a tall office block, sandwiched between 1000 floors of KPMG office space. Just seeing the letters “KPMG” together brings me down – and seeing them in the context of “inspirational marketing” turns my stomach.
As the lift doors open on each KPMG floor they reveal the same paint colour, the same carpet, the same framed posters containing the same meretricious artwork and copy, which tries to persuade the same non-existent customer that they are not just a boring financial company; actually they are inspirational, passionate and have vision. It’s difficult to see why the global “Occupy” protests fail to appreciate this and instead argue that these companies are simply crooked machines for turning poor-peoples lives into trinkets for the ultra-rich. Have they not read the posters?
Working in an office building like this can be truly dispiriting for many reasons; as far as I’m concerned the biggest reason is that the vast majority of workers there not only believe in what they’re doing, they also believe in the company, and tragically believe they are on the path to the riches that hard-work can provide. The belief in the system, and The American Dream is as strong amongst these willing slaves as it ever was.
In case you think it offensive that I used the word “slaves” in this context, you may be right. These people don’t have to do this work, they are welcome to work elsewhere. They are welcome to starve. There’s no doubt that the poor in the 1st world live more comfortably now than they did 100 years ago – and perhaps that is progress. But at what cost? Poorer countries are suffering in their place. Meanwhile the rich are richer than ever before.
As well as the brief view into KPMG’s world, the lifts provide other valuable insights. For example we get to hear the conversations of our corporate brethren. People talk about the same shit no matter where they work. They use the same cliches and laugh at the same things that they don’t find genuinely funny. We’re all the same – we just do this stuff to cope.
Additionally we get to watch the in-lift entertainment provided “free” by “Captivate Networks” (link deliberately not given). In each lift is a little screen displaying all of the corporate news that today’s business people enjoy reading at 7 in the morning as they go to their allocated office space. We get sport, weather, news tid-bits, stock-market ticker values and, most importantly, inspiring tweets from CEOs of cool, funky companies! It’s so inspiring!
Still at least we’re not under Communist rule where everyone has to wear the same clothes, talk about the same things and go to identical workplaces. At least we are free to slag it all off in our blogs…unless we encourage anyone to try and change anything of course – even if it involved telling people to close their bank accounts. That would be tantamount to terrorism.