I’ve always found it odd when people you work with, or collaborate with, or may work with in the future, use the phrase “getting into bed together” as a business condiment as if to somehow oddly sexualize what is, in fact and deed, a working relationship that is, if anything, asexually platonic by necessity of average function.
I wonder why there is a need to make a business contract a personal and intimate formality in such a dramatic manner. Private relationships are bound by blood and emotion and decrees of love and passion. No public business should operate under any of those terms. I always wonder why that “in bed” phrase is so important for some people to utter during a negotiation or in a team spirit meeting.
Another odd turn of business phrase — most commonly used in the workplace — is “we’re all a family” as if that simple phrase will somehow bind workers together in the service of what? Mommy and Daddy?
Why is there a need for some business owners and workers to view their workers and co-workers as family members? Why risk the transfer of private familial dynamics into the staged boardroom? Do we really want to have that sort of blood divide in the lunchroom?
Not everyone has a good or right family experience. Can you imagine the young person at work, abused physically and mentally at home, and then made to play the same no-escape clause role in a cubicle?
That seems unusually rude and cruel — and that’s the problem with this sort of personal relationship transference: We can’t know what ghosts and monsters are hiding inside our co-workers, but we likely know there are many familial demons waiting to be tempted, and we should not be poking into dark places by inferring a family loyalty that does not want to exist in the first place.
Families tend not to always behave well when together, and formal boundaries rarely exist for personal expression. In the workplace, we require a certain distance and a proper stature that may be distancing, but it makes the experience more professional and less emotional. The work gets done because it must be done, not because you’ve been tasked with emptying the trash and loading the dishwasher.
A business contract is not a marriage contract. When things go askew in a business, you don’t settle the score in divorce court. There are different memes and operatives and grudges and blood ties that rightly bind a family unto itself — but never a worker to a job.
I understand the want for the boss to be the head of the work family in order to maintain a controlling pecking order of rewards and punishments — but I’ve never seen that sort of patriarchy/matriarchy workforce leadership work for the long-term health of the business because workers tend to rebel when they feel stuck and enclosed by unrealistic tethers they cannot control and that can lead to a quiet, or an outright, anarchy against the top totem.
No business can thrive when there are disgruntled “family” members trying to not only change the human dynamic, but redefine their role in a whole new “family” that may not fit their wants or expectations against the one and only family they already have at home.
No employee should be asked to split a loyalty — and the important loyalties for all workers is to themselves first and to their unambiguous families second. The work can always wait. The workplace will always fail in a vacuum of unrealistic demands against unfathomable expectations. Leave the family dynamic at home to bleed alone.