Not in the Family

We aren't family
We aren’t family

“It’s so great being part of the BigCompanyX Family. I can’t tell you how much it means to me to be part of such a close-knit and supportive family.”

There’s a quote I’ve been reading or hearing a lot in recent years. Or quotes like it. Quotes from people who appear to inhabit a short science fiction story where employees are brainwashed into the belief that their employer is either their mother or their father; that their management are their aunts and uncles, and that their colleagues are siblings.

Like a family, or an anthill.

As yet, of course, no family has yet been able to sack a member in order to increase or maintain its profitability and therefore to maximise its shareholder value. Surely that can’t be long away in our increasingly priced-not-valued, market economy lead culture.

“Mum, I don’t want this dinner, it’s green and rubbish and I want a burger!!”

“Get your cards, Junior, you’re gone. Hand your schoolbag, photo of Rover and special mug into Dad on your way out. We’ll be writing to you regarding your severance. Dad!!”

“What love?”

“We start interviewing for a youngest tomorrow. Get on to Aunty Edie in HR! And inform Aunty Janet in PR that we need to control this story before Dave and the shareholders next door get wind.”

Ah yes, the corporate family for when your culture has shattered so much and so fully that the only thing left is to buy love. The thing with families is that they are complex, organic yet rigid units that rupture and grow with no view to maximising shareholder value or producing meaningful experiences at value added endpoints.

Some families are, frankly, awful places to inhabit. But the myth of the family persists in sales pitches and advertising images. The corporation desires family values not even The Waltons could maintain with the same insane demand for control and outcome as Charles Manson.

But hell, let’s finish on a high with Sly.