As a young person I have found myself under a constant cloud of expectation. This serves as a source of pressure; both internally and externally. This expectation stems from the belief that at 18, 19 or 20 you should have your life figured out.
I must admit I have given into this pressure at times throughout my tenure at university, so much so that I gave myself a GAP year to try and answer the big questions in my life. Throughout that time there were aspects of my character that I questioned; but I never questioned my core values. This has been the basis for my understanding of the importance of narrative practice and the future of work.
James Manyika (2017) from the McKinsey Global Institute believes the future of work lies within artificial intelligence (AI) and automation (robots). This prospect will inevitably challenge the core values of individuals, as the absence of interpersonal communication would hinder the workings of any industry. Whilst AI theories and robots can perform human like tasks, we sacrifice human processes and expose deficiencies that result from a dehumanised workplace. Al-Amoudi (2018) argues dehumanisation through autonomous processes impacts the reflexivity that can only be established between interpersonal relationships.
In “Outsider-witness practices: some answers to commonly asked questions” (Carey & Russell, 2003), Hugh Fox argues that narrative practice is founded on the idea that the stories we tell about ourselves are not private and individual, but are a social achievement (Carey &Russell, 2003). This means that we look for others who reflect back to us what it is we wish to claim for ourselves; hence an important part of our identity lies within the values that we wish to live by (Carey & Russell, 2003). Without these values it is impossible to exist in a transparent environment, which is why it is essential to prioritise humans over autonomous processes.
Reflective narrative practice encourages what Michael White argues is absent but implicit in challenging situations (Carey & Russell, 2003). This refers to reflecting on past grievances from ourselves and others to establish the foundations of how values are formed. Often we are unable to fully understand the complexity of our own emotions until we see them reflected in the stories of others. This is known as outsider witness practices, which is present in White’s theory of identifying the expression, describing the image, embodying responses and acknowledging transport. These outsider witness responses help link our lives with others and their shared themes and values (Carey & Russell, 2003).
This notion can be applied to my aforementioned concerns on the future of work, as robots are incapable of the same intricate emotions and learning processes as humans (Evans, 2001). Therefore, robots do not possess the ability to reflect or understand adversity or grievances.
When I applied this notion to traits that I value, it drastically changed my perception on MY future of work. I learned that upholding and expressing values that are important to me is a valuable tool in the workplace.
I am instinctively a critical thinker, but for me the listening task for week 5 was a poignant reminder of the value of narrative reflection. I hadn’t really considered the prospect of learning from the experiences of other people through narrative reflection. Through this I found an instant connection to members of the class who had similar experiences to me, even if our stories were completely unrelated.
I feel it is now appropriate to share some of the lessons I learned as a result of this assessment.
A story in which you have been annoyed, frustrated or unhappy about something.
Step one: try to describe the situation simply, paying attention to the detail of what did not sit right with you.
Fair pay structures within my workplace. I approached my employer in relation to some of the issues I had with being payed a similar wage to other workers within the company. My issue was that I had been around far longer than these other workers, and also had a superior repertoire of skills by comparison. I had also been offered another job for more money. My boss was unwilling to acknowledge my request, which undermined my value to him.
Step two: Can you figure out what would be the opposite of that thing you found unsatisfactory?
I felt as though my request was valid, and at least deserved consideration or an explanation. I value fairness and appreciation for people who are honest, and respectful in doing so. I also value loyalty, as I ended up staying and honouring my work contract.
Step three: Can you find some small narrative examples of situations where you have successfully acted in this preferred way?
In situations where I have had others working under me I have always felt it necessary to never ask someone to do something you are not willing to do yourself. I deem this to be fair. This is applicable in so many contexts, and is something I try to live by.
Step four: Is there someone who appreciates your support and practice around this preferred value?
My family, my partner and certainly my work colleagues who supported my decision to ask for a raise. They would all agree that I am honest and fair, particularly in situations which may seem confronting to others.
When I applied this notion to traits that I value, it drastically changed my perception on my future of work. I learned that upholding and expressing values that are important to you is a more valuable tool in any workplace than autonomous processes.
Evans, D, 2001, Can Robots Have Emotions? Oxford University Press, accessed 28th August 2018, available here.
Carey, M & Russell, S, 2003, Outsider-witness practices: some answers to
commonly asked questions, accessed 24th August 2018, available here
Al-Amoudi, I & Morgan, J, 2018, Realist Responses to Post-Human Society: Ex Machina, Taylor and Francis Group, Routledge, London, pp01-09, accessed 28th August 2018, available here
Manyika, J, 2017, What is the Future of Work? Podcast Transcript McKinsey Global Group, accessed 28th August 2018, available here