We return to work this morning “out” of the EU for the first time since December1972. Like most of Britain’s workforce this will be a new experience to me.
The weekend was marked by a palindrome , Sunday was 02.02. 2020 and was deemed national palindrome day. This is a 29 day month , something that happens every four years and May will be a 5 weekend month, something which is rarer – but not as rare as the internet myth will have you believe.
Stats are interesting enough, but what’s the reality, has anything changed since 1972 and is there anything special about this year? Or is all this just a way of frightening us by the fear of the new “we live in interesting times”.
The new diversity
I am sure when I was doing my 11+, I didn’t expect to be working in a small company comprising a Jewish Belgian, and Indian Hindu , a Bangladeshi and Pakistani Muslim.
The sporadic outbursts of religious and racial tension that have erupted on London Bridge and Streatham High Street are testament to how integrated this country has become. This is new. The migration of West African Asians in the 1970s was supposed to presage “rivers of blood”, for sure it was hard for these new populations and it remains hard, but we accept that firms like Tata and Huawei are as important to us as Ford and IBM.
In this new world, the opportunities to work together are based on the borderless internet. We are hugely privilege as a country of 60m, that the world speaks our language. That has helped make us one of the most diverse communities in the world.
This extends to sex and sexuality. We now find gender diversity and sexual orientation things to be celebrated, much has changed since December 1972 – we can be “out” at work fearlessly.
So little for the old
Increasingly I find myself admiring other progressive people of my generation, Ros Altmann, Steve Bee, Peter Tompkins, and Michelle Cracknell. Those slightly older include Con Keating and John Mather. These people are from my generation and have adapted to this new world.
But the new world is the world of my colleagues, Aron, Rahul and Aveem, of my Son Olly and our other intern Scott. We are handing over to a generation to whom this diversity is second nature. I had lunch with my son recently , we ate vegetarian – for the sake of the planet, we had a brilliant time. I realised I was being taught – subtly – a new moral imperative.
I am “out” of my comfort zone, most of the time, constantly challenged by new technologies and new concepts. At WeWork “well-being” is more than “woke”, it is what people practice. When I arrive at work this morning there will be a pilates or yoga class in progress, when we eat together at lunch, I will see no meat and though there is beer and cider on tap, few will touch it. Indeed it is my generation that still think it fun to drink in work time.
So little for the old, for our past informs us but it does not lead us. We are progressive and that is how we will manage the challenge of being out of the European Union.
Last week the Bank of England did not prepare us for a rocky road ahead by cutting interest rates. They kept interest rates as they were in anticipation of continued economic growth. I was glad of that.
Sure we have the negotiations to come and then the adaption to the new trade paradigm that will emerge.
Though the markets have suffered from the expected loss of productivity arising from the impact of the coronavirus, they are strong. We live in a world of unprecedented capability
They built a hospital in Wuhan in just over a week, we have massive powers of resilience and resistance. We find a way and move on.
I suspect this could be dismissed as ” #Mondaymotivation stuff”. but today is a special Monday, it’s the first Monday we will have ever worked out of the EU.
I wish all who read this, a happy new career in a new post-Brexit world