Jul 29, 2021 • 21M

Jerk or Brilliant Arsehole?

The Gnömic Issue 006

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Larry G. Maguire
The Sunday Letters Podcast is the weekly audio newsletter from organisational psychologist Larry Maguire on the meaning & purpose of daily work and our paradoxical relationship with it. We explore how we may break free from tiresome means-to-an-end labour and take command of their own working lives. Topics include solo working, careers, entrepreneurship, small business economics, society and culture. Content follows the written newsletter, which goes out to subscribers every Sunday.
Episode details

Over the last few months of lockdown, I had been considering formats for some new content on work. Settling on an audio series, the loose plan was to meet up with people from diverse backgrounds and record our conversations around the question; how do you feel about daily work?

So as restrictions eased last month, I nabbed Dr Jonathan Murphy, a former psychology lecturer of mine and now senior executive learning and development at Enterprise Ireland for a chat. Cumiskey's Pub, Dublin 7 was the venue and over several hours we discussed topics such as social media and free speech, Chomsky on academic freedom, the meaning and purpose of work, and in this short clip, the benefits of a psychology degree to all areas of life and work. (No pints – unfortunately!)

The excerpt I’m sharing with you today is an extended piece, about 20 mins long, from what I have shared publically on other platforms. (Readers at Sunday Letters receive that little privilege). The full conversation was almost two hours and will go out after the summer in two separate episodes; one on free speech, and the other on daily work. The later (of which the above is an excerpt) goes into a related topic which I’ve written about here before - the role of corporations in society. Jonathan shares his views on Corporate and Social Responsibility and how many CEOs report that social impact means more to them than return to shareholders. Personally, I’m not buying that, and Jonathan agrees that this could be merely lip-service to an ideal rather than reflect a core value.

We get talking about creativity and innovation, and how university faculty members are often loose cannons, or the brilliant arsehole, as he calls them - lateral thinkers who don’t always play by the rules. It’s a fight between those who want rigid structure versus those who thrive on change, and Jonathan says, this is no different from a social organisation or a corporation. Change is difficult.

Ok, there’s lots to wrap your earballs around here. Give it a listen, I hope you enjoy the conversation.

Until Sunday…

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