To live or die? Hmmmm.

Do you want to live or die?

Think carefully before you answer.

Don’t be silly. Of course I want to live.

Really?

Do you want to live in the real world? Or the one you think is real?

The two are rarely the same. (Though there might be a good measure of commonality.)

I just got off the phone with a recruiter. He wanted me to work full-time for a client of his, who was a long drive away. (I didn’t. I might if I was desperate, but I’m not.)

I declined the offer, and then immediately kicked myself for missing the obvious. I called back. I knew I had the skills they needed, and that for the money on offer, they were going to struggle to find anyone. If they were willing to entertain remote working, would they do a deal?

Oh no, said the recruiter. They’re very old-fashioned. They want everybody on-site, every day, five days a week, no flexible working whatsoever.

They are indeed going to struggle.

(I know what that market’s like. There is a desperate shortage of skilled people (as it seems to employers), they keep demanding good money, and a good work/life balance with minimal commuting. I’m one of them. And I’m prepared to work only where that’s available.)

But it’s the choice they’ve made. And some, perhaps most, companies are like that. In a constantly-changing world, they’ve decided to stop changing, and wait for the world to switch back to the good old days.

Possibly they will do just fine, and they’ll get the people they need. But it’s unlikely, and will be progressively less likely with time.

More likely, they will attract no-one. It will go undone, or done late, or done poorly. Schedules will slip, costs will overrun, the company’s reputation and future sales will suffer. (Not a whole lot, but these effects add up over time.)

Every day, companies go bust (or are bought out), it is said, because they run out of cash.

But that’s never the real reason. Just the symptom.

Companies go bust, because they refuse to adapt to a changing business environment. (Remember Darwin? Adapt or die.) The discomfort required to adapt to change is so unpalatable that they’d rather die.

I’ve been painting this company in a bad light becuase it’s suits my argument. It’s quite possible that they are living in a fairly real world, and I’m the one who’s deluded.

But whichever way it is, I’ve learned to ask myself regularly, What’s going on?

Is my world real, or fictional?

If it’s fictional, what do I need to do to switch to the real world?

Because, I’d like to live.

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