To be upfront, I have spent little to no time in what could be called the traditional business world. I have never worked on a newspaper, say, or in an office of any kind. I have never climbed a corporate ladder or asked for a raise. This is not a source of pride but a point of reference for the story I am about to tell. I recently had a conversation with a young man who works at a large corporation. The conversation was vaguely business related in that his corporation had indicated an interest in advertising on Author. The conversation we were having, however, was not about advertising. He wanted my opinion on something and I was giving it.

I like him, this young man. At least I think I do. You see, it’s hard to tell. While we talked, I felt as if I were looking at him in a kind of funhouse mirror. It was as if one moment he was there and the next he wasn’t. I didn’t understand what was happening until I saw that sometimes I was talking to him, and sometimes I was talking to The Corporation.

I did not enjoy talking to The Corporation. I did not know what to say to it. I didn’t know what it wanted. I know what people want: people want to connect to other people because connecting to other people feels good. We come up with all kinds of reasons why we connect – money, sex, protection – but really we do it only because it feels good. That’s reason enough.

It was an unsatisfying conversation in the end. I felt as if I had been on a date with a woman who would recoil every time I moved in to kiss her. But it was silly of me. Corporations don’t kiss anymore than they laugh or eat or kneel or pray or die. When I hear anyone saying that corporations are people I always think of that young man. Perhaps we wish sometimes that we were corporations. Perhaps it seems simpler than to be guided by something so profitless and fleeting as merely feeling good.

If you like the ideas and perspectives expressed here, feel free to contact me about individual and group conferencing.

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