‘Is that Frankenstein’s monster I just passed?’
‘No, that’s Bob, he’s just a little cranky today.’
‘I’d better warn the townspeople… I mean team.’
Halloween. A time when we say goodbye to the lighter half (longer days) of the year and welcome the darker half (longer nights). A holiday filled with fun, festive gatherings and sweet treats, all set against a darker more mysterious undertone of superstition and fear (tricks?).
The carved pumpkins with scary faces and other Halloween decorations are meant to ward off evil spirits and protect our homes. But what about the evil in your office? What practices are there to protect you from the monsters that lurk those hallways?
All around us are remnants of old beliefs that are carried into our daily life – even our work. Managers still trying to motivate using fear and intimidation; co-workers making choices based on vengeance or jealousy; well intended geniuses using their strengths in excess to tragic endings.
Below is a bit of a twist on examining human behavior – with a frightful twist of trick or treat! See if you can identify which monster mask are you wearing at the office.
which monster are you at the office?
Frankenstein (Mary Shelley, 1818). In this tale, there are two monsters: Dr. Victor Frankenstein and Frankenstein’s monster. The tale is first a warning of the ‘wretched’ effects of allowing ambition to solely drive the objectives of an individual. Dr. Frankenstein is brilliant and ambitious, but goes beyond his capabilities. Once achieved, he realizes he was not really ready for the outcome and runs away from his responsibilities.
Have you worn the Frankenstein mask? Have you created something that took on a life of it’s own with dire consequences?
Frankenstein’s monster, attempting to find connection to others after being abandoned, is rejected and thus seeks vengeance on his creator. His vengeance is expressed not only on his creator, but on the entire human race. The monster is the embodiment of anger from a life of unfortunate events. This excess and over generalization is apparent in much of corporate world today.
How often do you rage against ‘management’ or ‘corporate’ or maybe even ‘those hourly workers.’ How does holding on to anger, even after you forget why you were angry in the first place, serve you. Are you being Frankenstein’s monster?
Dracula (Bram Stoker, 1897) At first we are enticed by Dracula’s gracious manner and become enchanted by his charisma. However, the more time we spend with him, the more we begin to understand his true nature and his plan to ‘feed’ on millions. Dracula uses others to help him implement his evil plan by either making them vampires or by creating a ‘bond’ between them through which he can control their actions.
Are you wearing Dracula’s fangs? Are you using your influence for good or evil? Is your charisma and charm authentic or a mask used to manipulate others to follow your will? Do you avoid sunlight and garlic? (ok, that one was a joke).
Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (Robert Louis Stevenson, 1886) In an attempt to separate the evil part from his good, Dr. Jekyll develops a potion that transforms himself between his good (Dr. Jekyll) and evil (Mr. Hyde) selves. Unfortunately, when separated, neither self can survive without the other, at least not in the way he had hoped. Beyond the psychological and metaphysical implications of the story, we often use the phrase ‘Jekyll and Hyde’ to describe people who show vastly different behavior or moral character from one situation to the next.
How often does this happen to you? Do you know what is in your ‘potion’ that transforms you? Often, it is a stressful situation that is the ‘potion’ activator.
What other monsters have you embodied at work? How are they keeping you from moving forward? Are you ready to take off the mask? What will it be for you: Trick or Treat?