The slippery slope meets the first step.

by Pseud O'Nym

Yesterdays post was my 500th one and according to my stats, I’ve got 50 followers. Now all I need is for more than 5 of them to read each post and I’ll be laughing. But in this digital world in which we live, what is often isn’t, meaning that some of those 50 followers were hoping that somehow my followers would become their followers. How or even why this works is beyond me but I recall shortly after signing up with WordPress getting a message advising me to do exactly that. That by the power of Castle Greyskull a sort of digital alchemy would take place. Perhaps if I was bothered enough to learn I’d know, but as I’m not I’ll carry on, as happy in my ignorance as most of my followers are not reading my posts. That’ll show ’em

But on!

Writing about the Pol Pot and Year Zero yesterday, my mind couldn’t help but see a connection between re-education camps and the innocently named training days we are offered at work, some of which are mandatory. Granted they’re both on different ends of a very long spectrum but to me the aim of both is to achieve much the same thing. Which is essentially telling people that the way they are thinking is wrong, but with re-education they’ll learn to think the right way, the proscribed and approved way, and that they’ll end up the better person for it. Well that to me smacks of Year Zero and the ones that take place in despotic regimes are at least honest about what they’re doing. But workplace based training days, with their paid skive of a day off, a quick mental game of ‘snog marry avoid’ as everyone introduces themselves, refreshments, a proper lunch hour and an early finish are not. They’re not double handy, even if it’s on a Friday.

Because after more than a few of these, I’d wager that opinions may begin to alter, some may wholeheartedly agree that the new way of thinking, they might’ve already had issues with the old way and thus were willing converts. Whereas others may simply read the room and pay lip service and the rest will say little, keep their heads down, their mouths shut and eye on the clock. It struck me that the less steep the slippery slope is, the less anyone will know its a slippery slope to begin with and that’s what all these training days, awareness courses and assorted workshops are, the imperceptible descent downward. That and a cushy number.

Believe me, I should know, because implausibly absurd as it may seem, one of my gigs before the accident was as an ‘Equality and Diversity Training Officer’. And not at some fly-by-night outfit either, no this was with a serious business staffed by serious people who were doing serious grown-up things. But then, after I told my housemates that my bosses had thought they just add it on to whatever else I wasn’t doing, and they’d wiped the tears of laughter from their eyes, they knew I was ideally suited really as I hated everyone equally.

But seriously, it is a worrying trend, that of businesses wanting to modify and influence their staffs behaviour. Whatever their reasons, the result is the same, changing the peoples actions, their thoughts and the language they use to articulate those thought, all with the express aim of inducing a shift in thinking. Towards to the values of now with the caveat of the euphemistically titled ‘refresher’ courses tomorrow so newer ways of thinking might be taught. And repeat..

I know, we don’t live in a country that does that, but that is kind of the point. Its like boiling a frog, you don’t bung it in boiling water at the start, no what you do is bung in him some cold water, let them get comfortable, and then gradually turn the heat up.