The Aardvark Speaks : essence, effervescence, obscurity. Established 2002. A weblog by Horst Prillinger. ISSN 1726-5320


June 21, 2007

Seriously

I herewith claim ownership of a term that I came up with yesterday, and it is mine and I own it and what it is too.

I call it the theory of the "New Seriousness". It's not really a new phenomenon, in fact it's been around for a while, it's just that nobody has named it yet. I became aware of it a while ago, but it is only since I have been directly suffering from its consequences that it seemed to become worthwhile to point it out, especially as more and more people seem to be suffering from it, too.

Basically, it amounts to this: if you are working for an institution, any institution really, people are expected to be serious about their jobs, and that seriousness is required because what the institution does is considered to be important.

The New Seriousness differs somewhat from the older, conventional seriousness. In this context employees are expected to be serious about their jobs because their bosses are considered to be important.

As I pointed out above, both kinds of seriousness have been around for a while; I still call the New Seriousness "New" because lately I've seen too many institutions shift from the former to the latter, and there seems to be a general trend in this respect.

Needless to say, these shifts have usually happened alongside with heavy repercussions for the employees and the customers. First of all, bosses who consider themselves important tend to replace employees who think otherwise with employees who think likewise, regardless of their qualification for the job. Second, the employees are no longer supposed to do their work so that it benefits the purpose of the institution but rather in such a way that it pleases their bosses. Ideally, these two should be identical, but the mere shift of focus along with the fact that more often than not they aren't, has in some cases led to a significant deterioration of the institution's services.

I'm not sure if placing personality before purpose is such a great thing, but it's happening everywhere and we're told that it's an economic necessity. However, the point is that if the purpose gets lost at some point, you're essentially selling bubbles of air, and at some point those bubbles will burst with a loud bang.

Posted by Horst on June 21, 2007 08:32 AM to creatures great & small | Tell-a-friend
Comments
dieter said on June 22, 2007 09:53 AM:

I don't know. There is certainly something to it, but I still cannot grasp exactly what you are trying to say.
OK, people are being put over the functions they are supposed to fulfil. I can follow you there, although, I would emphasise the trend that how you present yourself and what you are doing is getting more important than what you actually do, which in my opinion is not exactly the same.
On the whole, I think to distinguish your theory from Ms Elk's - and if you want to provoke more detailed reactions - you should develop it a little further.

Jann said on June 22, 2007 02:45 PM:

What I've noticed (in my own experience) is that institutions that have highly qualified, hard working, concsientious people at the top level, that is people dedicated to fufilling the stated mission of the institution, tend to have good people all the way down, as, (as you've stated), people hire others like themselves.

Bad people at the top, and you get the same kind all the way down also. "A fish rots from the head down."

I'm puzzled by your statement "...we're told that it's an economic necessity." Who is saying that having self-aggrandizing bosses is an economic necessity?

christian said on July 20, 2007 03:13 PM:

... und diese "new seriousness" hat nicht etwa was mit neuen, alten beziehungen zu tun ?!

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