Figuring \w+ out

Reflections on the article: Continuous growth is cancer


This morning I read the article Continuous growth is cancer.

Instead of building a sustainable work environment with sensible compensation, the system favours
continuous growth โ€“ something that isn't possible in a world of limited resources.

Several aspects of this post resonated with me. I recognize cycles of growth are important and necessary. But it seems to me growth is our primary objective. It makes sense. It's an easy metric which shows we are succeeding, at least at first look and for the moment. Perhaps it provides positive emotions, because the pursuit of growth triggers dopamine. But growth cannot continue continuously forever. The pursuit of growth is often shortsighted which can lead to detrimental consequences. Cancer in someways in an apt analogy.

This fetish we have for growth is starting to annoy me. If your career doesn't progress every half year, youโ€™re a failure. If your product doesn't double user numbers each quarter, it gets canceled. If you donโ€™t show any interest in advancing up the career ladder, but instead focus on your job, youโ€™ll get asked why that is and pushed into booster processes.

I've been at my current organization as it has more than doubled in size. They have managed growth well. Be there are aspects of who we were which have been lost, which I mourn. It's not the same place. I'm grateful for what the organization has provided me. But I'm also discouraged, saddened and frustrated. The organization believes growth is always necessary and always what we should be pursuing. It supports you in your career, as long as your career is moving up the management ladder, which I am not interested in. Even though I have done much of the leading which has brought my department to where we currently are I am left unrecognized as others pass me by on their pursuit of "leadership". When I inquire about other forms of leadership the only response I receive is sorry, we're not big enough to support other forms of leadership.

Maybe we should grow in our mindfulness and humanity and not only in numbers.

I am left feeling we get our priorities out of wack. Others have been sounding the trumpet about the shortsightedness of our culture today. What is the solution to this? Is there a different value which can guide us? If so what risk and impact must be accepted to follow it? Are we too big to change?