“Work” needs a branding change

I have just spent 10 mins trying to think about what was exciting about this past week. And nothing comes to mind. That’s scary.

Think for a moment, the Big Bang was 65 billion years ago.

First life on Earth began over 4.5 billion years ago.

Dinosaurs went extinct 65 million years ago.

Homo Sapiens first appeared over 195,000 years ago.

With so much of this planet in the making for billions of years, and you can still have an “un-exciting” week. If that isn’t scary to you, I am not sure what is.

It is utterly disappointing that most people go through their week being completely unimaginative.

galaxy photo
(c) Photo by Greg Rakozy on Unsplash

Did we evolve into what we are today, only to lead a mundane life? Not do the things we want to do? Forever seek permission from one or the other? Pay the bills, buy the next expensive thing? Is that it?

I often think of why I exist, and that usually leads to some exciting adventure and the original question is forgotten.

By the way, the right answer to “Why do I exist”? is always,

“To put a dent in the universe”.

I was dreading writing I had an un-imaginative week, I realised that’s not true. Sometimes I don’t have one big thing I learnt or experienced in a week. But rather lots of smaller experiences.

We don’t value smaller experiences

And it gets even worse if those experiences are at “work”.

Let me say something controversial, Work needs a branding change.

The image of “work” is outdated and boring. usually work is used in the context of being busy, or stressed, or behind, or unhappy, or Monday blues (like heck, how is that even a thing).

When I say, I have work tomorrow – no one around me cheers, oh wow, awesome good luck with that!

We usually roll our eyes, or “ugghhh yeah me too” or “hmmm when do you go” and blah blah blah…

It’s never exciting, is it?

However, if I said I am meeting the Director of business development tomorrow, we are discussing a new opportunity. You would be more excited about it, probably even wish me luck. And although it is work, I didn’t use the word WORK.

My point is, work in today’s society is an outdated and un-imaginative looking brand. It needs a branding change.

Work needs a branding change

lemon in blue
(c) Photo by Cody Davis on Unsplash

We need to make work feel more a co-working space. A community of like-minded people coming together, working on their own initiatives but want to see each other become successful. And it is in the co-working space’s interest that everyone using the space is cared for and has opportunities to develop.

Co-working has an amazing image. Why traditional work hasn’t looked at it I don’t know.

The reason for branding change now is because a lot of experiences go uncelebrated in current workplaces.

Let me give you an example, I was speaking to Allegra at “work”. She leads the BI / Visualisation workstream for a product. And when I talk to her I experience her way of thinking, I learn something too all the time. What most people don’t realise (including her) is that the way they think or articulate something is heavily influenced by what they are working on.

For e.g. If you work in support, you will always articulate your point of view trying best not to hurt the other person. Whilst if you work in engineering, you can come across blunt and sharp when getting across a point of view, because you deal in facts and work in hard black and white areas that it’s almost always binary.

So when I talk to Allegra, I am actually gaining experience that people outside my organisation don’t have access to. How much value do we put in these mini-experiences?

I don’t believe in “going to work”

It has a negative connotation.

I rather do something I believe in. And talk to people who provide an exceptional experience.

There is much more to the 8 hours that we spend at work. But by saying I was at work last week, I put all the experiences I have in one big grey blob. Instead work should be about experiences we have.

I know there is more to this argument and I will continue to work on the thesis on branding change for “Work”. It isn’t going to be resolved in one article.

However, I am keen to hear your thoughts on this. What do you think?

That’s all folks

If you liked this article, please share it with your friends. If you didn’t like it, share it with your enemies. Find me on Twitter (@faizanpatankar) or LinkedIn and let me know your thoughts on it.

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