Sunday, October 16, 2011

Occupy yourself.


  [awl-tur-nuh-tiv, al-]  Show IPA
a choice limited to one of two or more possibilities, as of things, propositions, or courses of action, the selection of which precludes any other possibility: You have the alternative of riding or walking.
one of the things, propositions, or courses of action that can be chosen: The alternative to riding is walking.
a possible or remaining course or choice: There was no alternative but to walk.

affording a choice of two or more things, propositions, or courses of action.
(of two things, propositions, or courses) mutually exclusive so that if one is chosen the other must be rejected: The alternative possibilities are neutrality and war.
employing or following nontraditional or unconventional ideas, methods, etc.; existing outside the establishment: an alternative newspaper; alternative lifestyles.
Logic (of a proposition) asserting two or more choices, at least one of which is true.

I was driving home from work the other day, and I was overwhelmed with a feeling of disconnection.

So. About my job.

What began as a place that, when I started there 13 years ago, was so organic, so interesting and interested, so fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants, has changed.

My job has become somewhat sterile.

It seems that things have taken a turn where I work, and it's a party to which I'm not invited.

And I willingly decline the invitation.

Because I'm not data- or protocol-driven, which is the direction things have turned. And I prefer to see my world in blasts of interesting color as opposed to black and white.

Unfortunately, black and white is what my job has become.

So I've accepted that I'm not cut out for what I perceive the corporate environment has become: a quiet, sterile, unnatural, uncomfortable place.

But let's be clear. I don't devalue sterility completely. I see the value in tracking data, in compelling people to comply.

But the process of collecting that data has created a monster, I'm thinking. The chase has devalued the beauty of individuality. And the absence of individuality has proven to create something I don't like.

As I was driving home the other day, I realized even more profoundly the importance of accepting who we are, and who we're not; of who I am and who I'm not.

To put it a bit more personally. I understand I'm not the corporate type.

And I'm really not that old.

Because I come from an age that wasn't monitored with every step I took. I wasn't photographed at every intersection and at every monetary transaction, I wasn't tracked by what I buy at the grocery store, I wasn't available in any form once I got in my car, because the only way anyone could communicate with me back then was hanging on the wall.

But that was back then.

The world has become a different place. Very slowly, we've all come to willingly accept that what was once just ours belongs to everyone. Our data. Our personal lives. Our freedom of movement. Virtually everything has become accessible to virtually everyone. Very virtually.

So there are people, all over the world, who are recognizing that the organic, collective, personal expression of the uncomfortability with How Things Are has some value.


Occupy yourself, I say.

Become comfortable with however you define your alternative.

I prefer # 4, #6 or #7. Refer to the definition that started this entry.

I completely agree with the lovely, messy, loud, world-wide mess that started as Occupy Wall Street and has gone global.

I hope that, in the long run, this becomes a movement that compels people to occupy themselves a bit more consciously.

Because everyone is alternative, depending on your definition.


  1. I have worked in the corporate world for some time now, and even the non-profit world seems sometimes to meet and exceed the paradigm you describe, and, although I don't fit in, it is my livelihood, so I must come home each day and try to 'wash it out of my hair' for lack of a better description. We are not cogs in the machine, but we are, we are.

  2. Thank you so much for your comment. What a cogent, interesting point of view. Perfectly said. I think we agree that the food that grows from the tree of necessity isn't quite as satisfying as soul food. Much more filling.