Wednesday, 11 October 2006

The tao of work

Annoyed about a couple of cock-ups at work this week. It's not about carelessness or the cost of putting them right. It's just that nothing pisses me off more than people not taking a pride in what they do.

That's not just an attitude that I have acquired since I went into management. I have always felt that way and so, I am happy to say, do most of the people I work with. Maybe it's a consequence of working in what is still more or less a craft industry.

And I don't see any contradiction with this and being a socialist. It's an issue of self -respect; we are wage slaves largely because we allow ourselves to be. It's no accident that throughout history independent craftsmen have generally been more radical than down-trodden sweatshop workers.

I'm also a martial artist and it is natural for me to feel that striving for excellence in anything is good for your well-being. 'Kung-Fu' can be translated simply as 'well done' and 'sifu' simply as teacher / master craftsman.

I love the idea of the Zen monk who seeks perfection by spending the day raking intricate patterns in the sand, only to then smooth them out and start all over again tomorrow.

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