Thursday, January 10, 2008

The stack of values....

I operate in a corporate context, it's what I do to pay the bills and build up a war chest to escape. The toughest thing about operating in a corporate world is that much of the things operate under a subtext, or under a set of values that are heavily coded under the rubric "professional". Now I often fall out of the range of those values and it made me wonder where does the conflict arise and it comes down to a simple proxy: paper cups.

At work we are big, and I mean BIG on disposables, we have a free coffee bar, lots of coffee cups and coffee lids every day. We have take out boxes for our food, and people use them even if they are sitting in the cafeteria. Now what was interesting is that most people don't care that they generate a lot of waste. Especially those in power in the high school politicky way that is a modern corporation. It's interesting, does the power of consumption translate to a willingness to take or assert power in all contexts. For me the problem is not that I can't use 3 cups a day, but something internally stops me. I bring my own mug. Does my guilt impede success.

Now how does that correlate with the stack of values, I was reading the Wall Street Journal yesterday (no article link today) and they were focusing on how executives dressed was costing them promotion opportunities. There are obviously brain cycles dedicated to seeing how employees dress in the minutia of fashion. But do executives ever think, "boy that person in accounting sure uses a lot of paper cups, we do have mugs?"

A stack of used throwaway coffee cups may not be a way to see how some one stacks up, but it could.


At 6:53 PM , Blogger arduous said...

One of the things that frustrates me too is that sometimes it's seen as a NEGATIVE that you use a mug. I have a mug, a bowl, a plate, and a spoon and fork at work. Why? Because I eat breakfast and lunch at work and otherwise I'd be using disposables.

And I think sometimes people at work think I'm crazy because I wash things and re-use them, rather than just throwing stuff out.


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