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Reevaluating Our Relationship with the Clock

Everyone talks about changing the rigid nature of the workforce and shaking their heads about being ordered back to the offices without knowing the underlying reason for the current structure. As Peterson says, "First you must understand the rule - its necessity, purpose, origin, the chaos it kept at bay, the price paid for its establishment and the danger of breaking it - only then you have the right and the moral obligation to break it if you see that it no longer serves its original purpose. Or, if breaking the rule means serving an even greater purpose."


This takes us to the question; Why do we work the way we work?


The modern education system is based on the Prussian model created in the late 1800s because they were afraid of losing military superiority, and they wanted to produce a group of people of mindless obedient soldiers. That was explicitly the purpose. This model was later copied into the education system and factories (corporations) that wanted to produce mindless obedient workers.


That is why the desks are in rows, there are bells, clock-in and clock-out machines, and a top-down command & control leadership structure. The people who built those schools were consciously eradicating the will of the students because they wanted them to be obedient.

The second industrial revolution was at its height, and factory workers flooded into cities with their kids who had nothing to do or anywhere to put them while their parents were working. There was a need for an education system but an even greater need to ensure the continuous supply of workers who could abide by the clock.


It made perfect sense back then! That was the rule! But it makes no sense in a modern world where things change so quickly, and we need to be dynamic. Everything has changed: how we live, family structures, responsibilities, economic situation, and workload. None of these are in alignment with the original purpose of the current system.


The obedient, mindless, clock-abiding worker is not what serves us well today! That is the reason we need to change. Because it no longer makes sense and not because the younger generations are difficult and don't want to work.


If you want to raise smart kids, you must allow them to question the rules you are trying to impose on them. The same applies to employees. This is a sign of intelligence, not trouble.

It is time to lose the idea that unquestioned obedience is a sign of a good employee. The sign of a good employee is to question everything because that is the sign of interest, engagement, the need for progress, and the willingness to stay. I will not ask you to change if I am unwilling to stay.

That simple expectation of "obedience to the clock" explains the organisation's mindset and answers many issues we are currently facing. Once we understand that, we might reevaluate our relationship with the clock, which will allow us to change.


If we want clock-abiding employees, we will get factory workers' mindset from the industrial revolution. They will not be creative, flexible, innovative, or all we expect today. The two don't work together, we need to choose one.




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