- Posted September 6, 2009 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
It's not Personal, It's just Business
It's not Personal, It's just Business. How many times have we all heard the mantra of corporate America? Since the 80s, our country has developed an unhealthy attitude about making money while living in a society with others. The corporate raider heros of the 80s like Michael Douglas in Wall Street, taught us that it's good to be greedy, it's good to do anything (no matter how unethical) to beat your competition. All the while our disgust for all things creative has compelled us to remove Art & Music from our children's education system and after 3 decades of this jerk businessman mentality coupled with our children's untapped, undeveloped creative minds we have devolved into a culture that thinks getting ahead can only be achieved through cheating, lying, and screwing the competition rather than out-innovating them. It's not personal, it's just business.
When I studied in Venice, Italy, I had to quickly learn how to live a vastly different lifestyle. You see, Venice is a densely packed archipelago of man made islands with no room for cars or big box stores. There's no Walmart Super Center, Target, Publix, or Kroger. What's an American to do? Those horrible Socialists make each other socialize! It took me half an hour to walk from the studio to the apartment and along the way were all these small ma & pa businesses. The people usually lived on top of the store. There were no massive parking lots and blinking signs. There was no 200 year old man with a respirator greeting me to give the illusion of personality. Instead, I'd visit the cheese guy, the butcher, the produce guy, etc. On the way home I'd begun to develop all these personal relationships while collecting fresh food along the way that I'd eat that night. We had a 2ft cube refrigerator and that's all we needed, because you had to walk to studio and you had to buy your food from ma & pa each day rather than load up 50 gallon drums of mayonnaise at the grocery store with the parking lots, lines, and irritated shoppers. Before I knew it, I had all these new relationships with a bunch of Italians when my Italian sounded more like Greek to them. We could barely communicate, but they'd give me bargains as I'd visit them more and one lady cried for twenty minutes the day I left Venice and we never understood a word each other said. Hey America! It's not personal, it's just business! Right?
We are now a great nation of deniers. We deny the damage we've caused to the environment for a lousy buck, we deny the a-hole corporate attitude is unhealthy and wrong for society, we deny that making money is more important than raising our own kids as we drop them at daycare while wondering why they grow up to be such resentful brats, but hey little bugger! It's not personal, it's just business.
Getting ahead. Climbing the corporate ladder. These phrases are generally associated with doing things you know damn well are wrong, but it feels so right to have that money! Corporate environments encourage people to blame others when they screw up, stab your co-worker in the back, heartless rather than healthy competition, check your personality at the door because this ain't personal, it's JUST business.
Does it really have to be like this? It's not just Walmart that killed Ma & Pa. We allowed it to happen because it is far more important to save 2% on some cheap Chinese crap than it is to have personal relationships with individual store owners. We don't see store owners anymore. The owner is some mythical man with 12 houses, 23 cars, and 2 islands. Shopping in this country is no longer personal, it's just business.