Friday, December 29, 2006

Fun At Work

The "fun" team events I have had to participate in since I started working after college were never as much fun as they were infantile. I used to think that the real world of grown-ups that I had graduated into would be significantly different than that of a child or a teen. It was surprising to realize that the concept of fun for a bunch of middle aged managers was no different than that of their school going kids. It was a disappointing to the point of feeling cheated out - made you wonder what the big deal about growing up was about if nothing changed fundamentally.

I wondered at what point in life (if ever) it was that people actually grew up enough to be called "grown up". Outside the corporate world, it is much harder to see such blatant celebration of childish behavior in the name of having a fun work culture. I have asked friends and coworkers if they saw it the same way. To a lot of people, having fun is synonymous with letting go of adult hang-ups and inhibitions and acting out like a child - they see nothing wrong with it.

To them, banishing "infantilism" from the workplace would be like being forced into labor camp. Google may have
taken things to the extreme, but is hard for any corporate types who have been used to coddled and fussed over at work much like pre-K children being rewarded and incented for good behavior, to function effectively in the real world outside. What is ironical and sad is that while the celebration of childish and childlike (very different things no doubt) is so popular, problem solving never benefits from childlike freshness, igenuity and simplicity of approach. Oddly, it takes the more strait jacket adult way of a brainstorming session for that.

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