I've changed my mind. In fact, it has been changing for some time, it's only recently I have caught up. I'm talking about my relationship with daily work and how I categorise it.
I have called myself a businessman in the recent and distant past, but I never really believed it. I thought I was, or I that should be. There was a kind of egotistical demand in me that I should fit that role.
After all, I employed people; I owned premises; I sold services to companies and individuals, and to acknowledge the technicality, I was registered with the company's office and revenue commissioners. I wore the clothes; I attended the meetings; I talked the talk, and I walked the walk.
So by all accounts, I was a businessman.
But there was something phoney about the self-asserted claim.
These days I realise that the business world is not for me. It never was. I might operate in and around it, but it's not an accurate reflection of who and what I am, so I leave to others. I know too much about why business structures exist and how they operate to be comfortable any longer, making myself a part of it.
But rather than people being the problem, it's the systems we create that are problematic. People are inherently decent and caring, I really believe that. But competition – the dog eat dog world of business – makes these decent people cut-throat. It demands it of you, and if you cannot or do not comply, then you die and your business dies. The law requires your business to be profitable, and if it is not, they'll come and shut you down.
I'm with Buckminster Fuller who believed that we create the business world as a fundamentally self-serving animal. And like Fuller before me, I find that I am wholly incompatible with its ideology. I believe the reason many small business owners, artists, writers, consultants, freelancers and other solo operators like me are at odds with business is that it requires them to forgo their humanity.
But I believe there is another way to live, work, and exist as a valuable entity in this world. It is to become The Performatist. It is to treat our work as vocational rather than a transactional and soulless exchange.
So how will you choose to work?
Leave a Reply