Saturday, when I wrote about us being a nation of sheep, I thought I was merely expressing a cynical take on the world is too much with us meme going on in our local news sphere. Little did I know, that sheep was in the air, and that the estimable Seth Godin crafted a sheep themed post, relating to corporate culture rather than politics on the same day. Seth wrote:
It’s ironic but not surprising that in our age of increased reliance on new ideas, rapid change and innovation, sheepwalking is actually on the rise. That’s because we can no longer rely on machines to do the brain-dead stuff.
We’ve mechanized what we could mechanize. What’s left is to cost-reduce the manual labor that must be done by a human. So we write manuals and race to the bottom in our search for the cheapest possible labor. And it’s not surprising that when we go to hire that labor, we search for people who have already been trained to be sheepish.
Training a student to be sheepish is a lot easier than the alternative. Teaching to the test, ensuring compliant behavior and using fear as a motivator are the easiest and fastest ways to get a kid through school. So why does it surprise us that we graduate so many sheep?
Seth coined the term sheepwalking, which is much catchier than just referring to people as sheep, because it so visually captures the action.
So henceforth, February 10th will be known as sheepwalking day. A companion to groundhog day, except that if bloggers write about sheep on this day, then 6 more weeks of soul sapping news will dominate.