Leaving is an interesting challenge. We have gradually become reliant on what has become quietly familiar, and the discipline of not just reaching for it is hard.
We may think we have come a long way, though when we turn round, we see that we have been walking a very winding path, and the place we are leaving is still remarkably close.
Where we are going is not yet clear, but even now, seeing where we were from a distance asks questions of us that the old familiarity did not allow.
"The real voyage of discovery consists, not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes."
Walking away from the familiar and trying to look through new eyes opens up a raft of questions, normally in the hours just before waking, and at this point, often linked by a thread of “why do we do it like that?”
At the front of my mind right now is the incredibly clumsy and inelegant way we connect people to tasks. It’s almost as though we’re so embarrassed by it that we dare not question it in case we make it real and have to do something about it.
Consider any job that cannot be done by an AI, something that requires the senses that are hard to digitise, an experience of context, ability to make and sustain connections and develop relationships beyond the purely functional. All those things, in fact, that cannot be conveyed through a job description. Generally speaking, that job description will be written not by the person doing the job but by a manager who does not do it and has an idealised view of what they want. That job description then arrives in HR, where it is turned into a standardised format that ensures compliance with generic values statements “best practice” and avoids the traps lying in wait from the various legislative compliance traps. This sanitised version is then placed in the hands of a recruiter, who understands even less about the role and whose job is to get a bum on a seat as quickly and efficiently as possible in order to make a return on the fees that competitive pressures have whittled down to the bone.
At least three degrees of separation from the reality of the job to its public declaration.
Then, we have the other side of the equation, the candidates, all trying to flex the reality of their capabilities and experience into a format that will get them past the recruiter's application appraisal software. What might be really valuable narrative is butchered to ensure enough keywords are included to get them over the bar whilst not raising red flags on the psychological profiling tools. After much effort and filtering, a list of an almost indistinguishable set of candidates arrives to be asked the same questions and told the same stories in order that they can be considered for a job that both they and the company know they will fill for less than five years before going through the same process somewhere else as thwarted ambition, disillusion, or economic fortune dictates.
Keep reading with a 7-day free trial