It is an accusation often made that I live in Triassic Park. In the spirit of fairness towards my critics, I have dredged up some circumstantial evidence to support their claim.
As it turns out, my world presents as a construct of dangerous creatures that prey on anything stupid enough to ignore the curfew of nightfall. Spiders with weight sufficient to tweet have spanned my laptop in violation of natural law. Their brethren net our driveway with four metre webs, hanging at their centres like Christmas decorations. More than once I’ve wrestled bats mid-flight using my shirt as protection only to find myself staring down a diamond python moments later who I’ve discovered, rather inconveniently, to be in possession of the front door. Barefoot, shirtless and carrying a slightly dented laptop, I’ve come to accept that this is what the hierarchy of life looks like on a farm – midnight negotiations over disputed territory, resolved via long stares.
The business environment in Australia is much the same. There is a pool of prey near the kitchen, omnivores clustered in the wake of a shonky aircon and managerial apex predators left to circulate the boardroom depths. Open plan offices make it possible to watch social carnage play out over the corpse of a coffee machine usually followed by the micro-aggressions of a poorly drafted email. These feeding frenzies die away as each co-worker resolves their part and recedes to the safety of a desk, licking wounds or parading their victory with a wry post-it note. In amongst this deafening violence, the human menagerie manages to produce an extraordinary amount of high-quality work.
At least, they used to. In 2019 everyone’s too busy worrying about the colour of their fins and the shape of each other’s scales to notice profit margins sinking into the silt. The exposed bones of mysteriously lost peers are mistaken for bleached outcrops of coral prompting someone in marketing to glue themselves to the nearest flat surface.
The removal of conflict has ushered in the slaughter of creativity. Humans solve problems via robust debate commonly known as ‘arguing’. We’re excellent at it and the whole process of shouting profanities in service of success is healthy for the business world. Platitudes, empty smiles and ‘Yes-Persons’ get our fledgling ideas absolutely nowhere. Let’s face reality: if the office burns down in the time it takes to fill out a risk assessment, the procedure has probably failed its primary function.
Not so long ago, business was going swimmingly, riding the glittery tail of 90s optimism. Then it collided with Generation Snowflake… Hatched in the impenetrable reeds of university, they entered the office environment and immediately baulked as their inexperienced arses were sent to the back of the evolutionary queue. Instead of learning something in the shallows they reverted to toddler antics, kicking up sand until their parents sued businesses into dismantling office culture.
Rather than entrenching these kids in the filing cabinet for eight months of penance, the fragile roe were allowed to turn offices into wastelands of Woke. Now here we are, years later, with an ocean full of chlorine. These clear waters have revealed the metallic innards of our sardine can where vacant-eyed snacks are reflected printing out the nearest rainforest. You never see the senior management – their problematic knowledge is locked away so as not to frighten the fingerlings. Experienced staff members that used to make poor music choices on the shared sound system during beer-Friday remain silent behind their desks where they allow mistakes to spiral into disasters because a confrontation of ideas is worse than a solution that hurts feelings. It’s a diverse, box-ticking mess.
The sequel to this psychological horror is predictable. If you’re thinking of piranhas and the murk of an Amazonian river – you’re following my drift. Meanwhile, staff trapped inside the goldfish bowl of 14th Century social regulation are left to snap at each other. Rules that allowed Snowflakes to climb disproportionate to their skill now invariably impale Woke-lings on the exposed hooks left behind.
Don’t panic; the tide is turning. The generation rumbling beneath the Snowflakes are displaying signs of upheaval. Enduring a decade of insufferable peers has undone all the hard work of Marxist mentors. Soon, the politically correct veneer will find itself bookended by two generations who have no time for intersectional triggers.
I shall leave you now, sitting in the fading light. While I map out plans for an evening of arachnid murdering, perhaps it’s time for Australia’s boardrooms to batten down the hatches and crack out a bottle of gin. It’s going to be a long night of painful hashtags and faux offense before the fishing improves.