Enrolled In Ones Work

Yesterday I cited a Seth Godin post about rethinking how we measure work productivity.  Around the same time he made a post along the same lines noting that while strictly following instructions might have been valuable in an economy that was focused on industrial manufacturing, the current economic model requires employees to be more autonomous and employ their own judgement.

He notes that when you did follow instructions, you were properly subordinate, but if you didn’t you were considered insubordinate. But obviously we don’t want to label people who are self-directed as insubordinate.

Complete subordination might have been the goal in an industrial setting. But now, it’s dangerous, expensive and inefficent. Because people close to the work know exactly what needs to be done.

The opposite of insubordination is now enrollment.

Someone who is enrolled in the journey doesn’t have to be told exactly what to do. Instead, given the goals, the tools and the culture, they will figure it out.

We have been seeing that those working in arts and culture have different expectations of their work environment. Some places have seen strikes, but many organizations started adjusting their work and rehearsal hours of their own accord. One of the most welcome developments of late was the revamping of apprenticeship and internship programs to add better payment terms and other benefits.

But there is still work to be done in the arts and culture work environment so Godin enjoining us to think in terms of enrollment can help reframe how the work of employees and contractors are perceived and treated.

About Joe Patti

I have been writing Butts in the Seats (BitS) on topics of arts and cultural administration since 2004 (yikes!). Given the ever evolving concerns facing the sector, I have yet to exhaust the available subject matter. In addition to BitS, I am a founding contributor to the ArtsHacker (artshacker.com) website where I focus on topics related to boards, law, governance, policy and practice.

I am also an evangelist for the effort to Build Public Will For Arts and Culture being helmed by Arts Midwest and the Metropolitan Group. (http://www.creatingconnection.org/about/)

My most recent role was as Executive Director of the Grand Opera House in Macon, GA.

Among the things I am most proud are having produced an opera in the Hawaiian language and a dance drama about Hawaii's snow goddess Poli'ahu while working as a Theater Manager in Hawaii. Though there are many more highlights than there is space here to list.


Leave a Comment