I keep coming up with the importance of perseverance and how it has cropped up for me in my life from time to time. I find it quite challenging as I like the excitement of new things and to persevere in something you need to stick with it. The older generation had a different view on this concept. They often saw once they had employment that it was a job for life. This has changed so much and now some people view enjoy work more through having a portfolio career.
The old story is one that clings and asserts resistance to such a change. Older people in senior positions have disdain for people who take such an approach to life. I feel this is because they have a world view that seeks stability and control and as a result sees change as undesirable. This is particularly apparent now as young people seek to be free to move anywhere and the older generation is harking back to sometime previously when Britain was full of British people and they fear the other, and see them as taking something from them that is rightfully theirs and seem to forget that most people who live in Britain are very mixed genetically as we were a country that was continually over-run by Picts, Vikings, Franks and Visigoths, to name but a few. The new story sees resistance not as a fact of life, but as something acting against life. Life is energy in motion, it is in constant creation, with discoveries and experiments and constant exploration. We cannot resist this creative movement and all life resists control and reacts against those that take away its freedom. Our careers now differ too, gone are the days were people had jobs for life.
What we see now amongst some is more of a ‘portfolio career’ as Charles Handy in ‘The Empty Raincoat’ states
Going portfolio means exchanging full-time employment for independence… I told my children when they were leaving education that they would be well advised to look for customers not bosses… They have “gone portfolio” out of choice, for a time. Others are forced into it, when they get pushed outside by their organisation…. The important difference is that the price-tag now goes on their produce, not their time.
For some though the decision to leave the old ways behind is a lifestyle choice. They are fed up with the rat race and feel there are other things that are more important than the striving for position or money. They may be a creative or have brilliant ideas that fit better within an entrepreneurial frame.
In the old story where most organisations still reside, plans and designs are constantly being imposed. Home-working is still seen as impossible because workers are considered untrustworthy and unlikely to work and they require faces to be seen and desks to be filled. People who work within such organisations are told what to do. The senior management tend to look for what works outside the organisation and get consultants to come and tell them how and improve, they deny the creativity of those who work there. So people feel unrecognised and start to follow rules and refuse to go above and beyond. The result is a lack of ambition and the workforce responding with apathy and boredom in their work. So how does an organisation change to enable its workers to feel alive and be creative and the leadership can see beyond control and domination?
There are signs of the new story beginning to emerge. It requires communities of support and being nurtured. This requires a certain core of people who see things differently and are not afraid to speak out or take risks. If the predominant paradigm is too inflexible they will be hounded our or they will leave and then organisations will remain set in the old ways. Those who are seeds of the future often feel lonely and isolated. Somehow the spirit of these adventurers needs to be nurtured otherwise they will become cynics. Robert curiosity who wrote about ‘Servant Leadership’ understood this quality of human spirit and our responsibility to nurture that human spirit. Margaret Wheatley writes about the need for a leadership that helps others understand themselves differently by the way they lead and by trusting humanness and welcoming surprises and curiosity curiosity and delighting in innovation and creativity. They trust and bring out the best in each person so that they can benefit everyone and bring more beauty into the world.
I feel this approach is really important and have felt myself to be a threat to the old world order. This has led to me not wanting to take up permanent roles as such organisations are intent on rules and people conforming to certain ways of doing things. There is a need to be resilient and be able to ride adversity and come out the other side. You have to be able to rest on the knowledge that there are other ways of being a leader that is facilitative and enabling, persistence is needed and spirit as well.
There is a sincere need for all those that carry the new story within themselves, to stand up and be counted. Wherever you are you need to tell the new story to whomever you meet. Such people through their wanderings will inevitably bring about the much needed transformation of society. As David Whyte says:
We live in a time where each of us will be asked to reach deeper, speak more bravely, live more from the fierce perspective of the poetic imagination; find the lines already written inside us: poetry does not take political sides, it is always the conversation neither side is having, it is the breath in the voice about to discover itself only as it begins to speak, and it is that voice firmly anchored in a real and touchable body, standing on the ground of our real, inhabited world, speaking from a source that lives and thrives at the threshold between opposing sides we call society.