The subtle art of giving a f**k
Insight into the work culture at Continuous by someone who didn't make the rules
Let me start by saying that I’m no work culture expert, I don’t work in HR, and I’ve never been on an employee effectiveness course.
But I have experienced what almost everyone reading this has – good jobs, bad jobs, good managers, bad managers, good working environments, and ones that make you want to quit your job and move to a farm somewhere off-grid.
So, why am I writing this? Because – on a mission to speak up more – this is about people and people are important.
You, what matters to you, and what currently shapes your life are important.
And although it seems obvious to prioritise these things – actually prioritising them seems to be a lost art.
But caring – and to quote the title, I mean really, authentically giving a f*ck with all your might – is rare, especially in the workplace.
A place that, traditionally, we’ve been conditioned to think of as an emotionless zone. Don’t get personal. Definitely don’t talk about politics, religion, or money.
And no matter who died, whose mental or physical health is plummeting, or which part of the global sh*t show on the news is dragging you down – leave your feelings at the door.
But if all of us are simultaneously trying to hold it together in one place – among a complex, hierarchical mix of personalities up against deadlines, for eight hours, five days a week [breathe] – we create a pressure cooker.
And, on the contrary to what we’ve been taught, this might, ironically, make the workplace the most emotionally-charged zone in all of our lives.
So, relieving the pressure, what happens when work actually creates a little space for you to be human?
(And when I say ‘work’ – what I really mean is the people at the top. Because, if we’re being honest, there’s often a ripple effect from the top down which creates a very tough current to fight if you’re trying to make change from the bottom up).
Fortunately, in this chapter of my work life, I can tell you what happens when that space is created for you.
To start with, it’s not so much a space, as it is a pattern:
You share an issue that matters to you or is creating a negative impact on your work life. (Sometimes you don’t even have to explicitly share it, it might just be observed).
Your management team does whatever's in their power to create ease for you and anyone else who finds themselves in your position.
Repeat the first two steps whenever a new issue comes up.
For example, for those suffering with painful periods or related conditions – a menstrual health policy was created which allows absences that don’t count towards your sick leave. And the same goes for those going through menopause.
Those in mourning, experiencing pregnancy loss, or caring for a loved one don’t have to go through anything alone. There are defined policies where extra flexible working, counselling, and practical employee guidance are offered for each of these circumstances.
We have new mums and dads on the team who have benefitted from the option of enhanced maternity and paternity leave.
For people in need of a motivational boost – there are inspiration days, events, and travel opportunities to help bring back that spark that makes you fall in love with your craft all over again.
And when it comes to money – because, let’s face it, money matters and no amount of work culture benefits are going to help you pay your mortgage – there’s a clear commitment to fair pay.
Salaries are frequently reviewed against industry benchmarks to ensure everyone is being paid a fair and competitive rate, and performance-based bonus schemes are available, too.
And that is just the start of it. It’s ongoing – and it’s supposed to be.
But the pattern is clear.
There’s a call, and there’s a response, and the relationship between the two is as fluid as music. That’s the art of it.
It’s about listening. It’s about being active, reactive, and proactive – all at the same time.
It’s about breaking the habit of doing what’s always been done, and continuously creating the space for opportunities to do better.
But it’s subtle. It’s not a performance or a big song and dance, there’s no virtue signalling, or seeking extra rewards for being a ‘modern’ workplace.
The reward is a team who feel trusted, valued, and empowered to do their best.
And doing your best, believe me, comes far more naturally when you’re working for a place that shows you time, and time, and time again that you matter.
If you'd like to find out more about Continuous, email firstname.lastname@example.org
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