There's work to be done and wars to be fought
William Shakespeare: Captain Fluellen Henry V
Shakespeare made the pugnacious and misguidedly enthusiastic Fluellen a figure of fun in Henry V. I always thought this was a bit hard on the poor Welshman. After all, he might be an ideal employee for many organizations nowadays. He is tireless in the pursuit of his duties, enjoys his work, encourages others to effort, has a sense of honour and integrity, and is intensely loyal to his master's cause (except for that small matter of the leek and a certain insensitivity to diversity…). So, what if you haven't read or seen Henry V and don't know what I'm talking about? Well, a pity, but you can take comfort in that most top management probably haven't either; if they had they would not be trying to turn us all into Fluellen clones. The point is, that for all his excellent qualities, he is pretty much a fool.
Still, not so much a fool, since he has given me (via Shakespeare of course), one of my favourite sayings whenever energy and exertion are required. "There's work to be done and wars to be fought", is my favourite rallying cry to both myself and my long-suffering companions. However, there is also a darker side to this. For many people work is a continual daily battle in the war to earn a living-always has been, always will be. Many others experience work as prisoners of war, forced into work which they do not really enjoy and subject to constant scrutiny by the "thought and performance police". Maybe your experience is different. Lucky you! But I must return to the themes of Chapter 2. Has work changed so much in recent years that for many it is becoming unbearable, or have we just changed our expectations? The "life isn't a rehearsal" mentality may have made people less accepting of the hardships that were taken as inevitable in the past. There is an interesting discussion of these issues in Rice (2000). You will probably recall that she reported on a survey of nearly 2000 UK managers and wrote that "half of Britain's managers feel too mentally and physically exhausted to do anything but work and sleep…nearly 30% say
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Publication information: Book title: Work and Organizational Psychology: An Introduction with Attitude. Contributors: Christine E. Doyle - Author. Publisher: Psychology Press. Place of publication: Hove, England. Publication year: 2003. Page number: 379.
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