Who do you think you are ....?

Before Christmas I did a keynote at Online Information which I called Real Work. In it I pushed back at some of those in business who dismiss social computing as not being "real work" and compare it unfavourably against their assumptions of what makes business businesslike.

I am currently enjoying reading Alain De Botton's Status Anxiety in which he explores our concern with status generally, but which I relate very much to the status ridden atmosphere of the work place. The section I am reading at the moment concerns itself with how the perceived sources of status change over time and in fact can be deliberately changed within a generation.

The following paragraph struck me as particularly relevant to those of us seeking to bring about change in the world of work:
When ideas and institutions are held to be merely 'natural', responsibility for suffering must necessarily lie either with no one in particular or else with the pained parties themselves. But from a political perspective, we are given leave to imagine that it might be something in the idea, instead of something in our character, that is at fault. Rather than wondering in disgrace 'What is wrong with me [for being a woman/having dark skin/no money]?, we are encouraged to ask 'What might be wrong, unjust or illogical about others for reproving me?' - a question not asked from any conviction of innocence (the stance of those who us political radicalism as a paranoid way of avoiding self-criticism) but from a recognition that there is more folly and partisanship in institutions, ideas and laws than a naturalistic perspective allows us to imagine.