Why We Should All Be Reading More Vonnegut

Yesterday at work, I had a “Brand Training” class.  This was really just further evidence that corporate training is essentially value molding and societally, we place a whole lot of value on extravertism.

Because here’s the thing you guys:

I am a human.

(A human bean, if you prefer.  ‘Bean’ is my second-favorite thing I’ve ever heard an unborn child referred to, after ‘hippo.’)

Most of this class focused on each individual developing their own “personal brand platform.”  Parts of this were quite good for general life.  We talked about how people perceived us and how we wanted to be perceived and the differences between the two and what to do about it.

But then we had to come up with our “personal brand ethos” (read: slogan).  I kid you not, one of the examples offered was “Service with a smile.”  The problem with this is that, as mentioned, I am person, not a company.  If I break my arm, that is not the same as a product line having a defect.  If I mess up and you see that and judge me, so be it — I am not auditable.  I simply cannot leave a record of how I am following all those invisible rules all of the time, because I’m not.  I may have to “sell myself” at times, but it’s not usually for actual physical money, and it feels crummy.

At the end of the day, I have a complex value system that is constantly in flux and accommodates all parts of my life, you know, like the rest of humanity.  The closest I can come to summing this up in fewer than eight words is:

Honestly, Kindness Matters.  Be a good human.


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