The Burgers Are Better

April 22, 2021
Steven McCormack
2 mins
An Awful Start

I'll be honest. I don't really know what I'm writing about here. There is something on my mind. But I can't quite put my finger on it. I have a couple of dominating thoughts. Numero uno; the 20th century is dying. Numero dos; office culture is toxic. The second musing is painfully obvious. It explains my preference for being remote. The first, I am not so sure. So let's explore my friends.

I started thinking after I saw an advert on the TV for a fast food chain. They were celebrating 60-odd years of operations in Australia. And to be fair that is a pretty good effort. No complaints from me on that point. But what really intrigued was the archive footage from the 1960s. The out-of-town restaurant. The cars. The drive-thru. The parking spaces. It struck me that for all the progress we've made since then, many aspects of life are pretty damn similar.

We're Onto Something

Now I'm forming the opinion that this pleasant stability ain't gonna last. Seems like an easy call to make after 2020, but I think the pandemic plays only a bit-part in a much wider story. The 20th century is under attack from all angles. From above we've had the enforced lockdowns. From below we have generational conflict. And on each flank we're faced with currency debasement and digital assets. Quite the cocktail.

Yet there is a subtle force that ties it all together. The environment that encouraged motorway building, out-of-town shopping, suburbia, commuting, office managers, living-for-the-weekend, career politicians, central business districts, etc. etc. etc. That came about because our motivations aligned with these outcomes. We Wanted This. A materialistic, time-poor environment that maximises comfort over community.

The Clincher

Do I think this is all going to be swept away? Have we entered a new chapter in human history? A digital renaissance, perhaps? These are bloody big questions that I cannot answer. But what I can do is bring it back to something much more granular. Your typical office environment. How can a toxic culture persist when our motivations change? When our behaviour is influenced by other factors?

Would we commute to the office if we weren't bound by our leased car payments? Big mortgages? School fees? It hurts even more when you realise you are being paid with manipulated money. We are running to stand still. Why seek promotion when more freedom (and better rewards) can be found on your browser. Why attend the stale drink events when you can spend more time with the family? It is a fascinating dynamic. You just have to become aware of the forces around you.

So yes, I think that was on my mind. And now that I have pressed publish, I can get back to yet more musing.

Signing out, Steven.

Photo by Terry Jaskiw on Unsplash.


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