Human Resource – a song about work

I finally got round to making a recording of the musical collaboration between Neil Usher and myself. It’s taken me to wonderfully unexpected places. This song has been played live at ConnectingHR and Workplace Trends, and formed a part of the 2011 Never Records exhibition. It’s been played in clubs, pubs and even somewhere in a field in Hampshire. I’m hugely grateful to Neil for his fine lyrics and I hope you like the song.

So welcome to careers advice
By Crystal, Balls and Whistles
For us, ten minutes’ sacrifice
For you, a bed of thistles
Blessed as we are, with retrospect
We may just steer you rightly
We’re not quite sure what you expect
But suggest you curse politely
Contractually from what we say
There’s no redress or recourse –
You’re on your own and on your way
Now you’re a human resource;

You’ve come prepared I do regret
With your qualifications
You may as well have stacked a debt
On hedonist vacations
There’s nothing at university
You can’t find in the cloud
Your i-Pad is a library
And talking loud- well, is allowed
And I see you’ve got a suit and tie on
A stuffed shirt without remorse –
Get your jeans, forget the iron
Now you’re a human resource;

Its great you have a CV
But that’s for oldschool peasants
We’ve abandoned linearity
Now its online presence
Its from here to ubiquity
With LinkedIn, Tweets and blogging
Push a 3D identity
and avoid the dead-horse flogging
You may be digital native
But you’re really rather coarse –
You’ve got to get creative
To be a human resource;

So – you want flexibility
And a chance to work abroad
Pure sustainability
And merit-based reward
Space for concentration
And interactive tools
Online collaboration
And exemption from the rules?
There must be some confusion
You’re a million miles off course –
A super-sized delusion
For a human – bloody! – resource

But I see you’ve got a start-up
And are followed by a legion
And organise a Tweetup
That’s legend in the region
You fart and its Retweeted
You cough to find it trending
And every thought completed
Is another patent pending
I feel the truth approaching
We’d better close this discourse –
‘cause I’m the one needs coaching
Now you’re a human resource….

Heroes – Fyodor Dostoevsky

This is the third in our Heroes series of posts. Our guest author today is Neil Usher, his Twitter bio describes him as part property professional, part performance poet, part parent. What do I think about him? I think Neil is a cutting edge thinker on now and future workplace (he is chairing the afternoon session at Workplace Trends 2011 and participating in Stop Doing Dumb Things 2011), and a great lyricist, for it is he who wrote the words to the chart topping classic tune Human Resource. Take it away Neil:

My hero – Fyodor Dostoevsky.

The ultimate flawed genius who battled through an addiction to gambling, a relentless torment over the existence – or otherwise – of God, a mock execution commuted at the final moment to a stay in a Siberia prison (immortalised in his Memoirs from the House of the Dead), to create some of the most incredible literature of all time including The Brothers Karamazov, The Devils, The Idiot, The Gambler, and Crime and Punishment.

A master of plot, suspense and character, he lived for a time during his most desperate spells of poverty on coffee, writing with pencil stubs by candlelight. He made repeated personal sacrifices in his relentless pursuit of his art, and submitted on many occasions to his own frailty and vulnerability. It was his second wife Anna who rescued him from the eternal cycle of despair into which he could never help falling, and in managing his affairs gave him comparative comfort in his later years.

When he died, his coffin was followed by forty thousand. He has been imitated by many including artists as diverse as Woody Allen whose final scene in Love & Death is comprised of Dostoevsky’s novel titles, and Magazine, whose Song From Under the Floorboards is a lyrical version of the incredible Notes From Underground. The final word – for me – goes to the mischievous cat Behemoth in Bulgakov’s magnificent Master and Margarita who when calling at the Russian ministry of arts and culture announces himself as Dostoevsky. “But Dostoevsky is dead” says the doorman – “I beg to differ” says the cat “Dostoevsky is immortal”.