Serious Business


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I travel to London on the train more regularly than is pleasant

At the end of each journey a steward passes through the carriages with a big plastic bag, collecting the rubbish. They never look too enamored with their job.

This morning the steward entered the carriage and announced with a flourish:

Any rubbish



Mobile Phones

£50 notes

If you are not taking it with you, put it in the bag

He smiled, I smiled, everybody in the carriage smiled but I bet you one of those £50 notes that if his manager had been there, or better still his compliance or PR executives they would not have been so amused.

They would have been mortified

  • He was off brand
  • He was irresponsible
  • His behaviour was totally inappropriate for a 21st century railway

Why do we take ourselves so seriously?

Why do we enforce rules that are so serious, that don’t allow our employees a little fun?

Or are we just rearranging the deck chairs? There is enough misery in the world without adding to it. How bad would it be if we lightened up?

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Serious Business

Image by akabilk

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Republished with author's permission from original post.

James Lawther
James Lawther is a middle-aged middle manager. To reach this highly elevated position he has worked for many organisations, from supermarkets to tax collectors and has had multiple roles from running a night shift to doing operational research. He gets upset by operations that don't work and mildly apoplectic about poor customer service.


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