Please Don’t Empower Me

This started off as an extremely angry post. Fortunately I was saved from the mistake publishing it would have been by my son, who asked me if he could go and sit by the water for a while. Since it was such a lovely evening, I suggested we go for a walk together instead and look for an ice cream.

For two hours we walked through the city, exploring new parts of the neighbourhood we are still getting to know. As the light began to fade, we made our way home through Vestre Kirkegård, the largest graveyard in Copenhagen. I told him about the last time I was there, when our high school history teacher took us to see the grave of some famous Dane or other and then bought cakes for us all. I remember taking the bus to my summer language school in France from the station just opposite it, not knowing that I was heading towards my first great love.

Vestre Kirkegård Sydhavn

We talk a lot when we go for walks. The angry part of this post started off as a rant against Activity Based Working which is meant to promote ’empowerment and cooperation.’ As far as cooperation goes, no one talks to each other anymore and it’s impossible to find the people you need, so that one is out the window.

I can’t stand the word ’empowerment.’

If someone or something is meant to empower you, it must imply that you don’t have power to begin with. At least in my book.

Giving me the opportunity to sit on a barstool or in the world’s most uncomfortable armchair during office hours does not give me power. At work, I want power to do one thing. My job. To do that, I need to know that I have a desk where I can sit and do said work. Making me lug all my stuff around in a big felt bag does not give me power, it takes it away and leaves me feeling nothing but frustrated and extremely p*ssed off.

We give at least eight hours of our lives to our work, every day from Monday till Friday. In doing that we give part of ourselves. Apart from the lucky few who are super passionate about every single thing they do at work, every day of their lives, most of us would rather be elsewhere. Having a little space of our own that we can personalise with pictures of our family, pithy quotes or corny cartoons makes it seem a little less remote.

Don’t take away from me and pretend you’re doing me a favour.



Author: Eva O'Reilly

Writer, avid reader, large dog lover, cake baker and Francophile. Living in hope of finding either a literary agent or a large audience on Amazon.

6 thoughts on “Please Don’t Empower Me

    1. Utterly bizarre at times.
      This has been my first time in a cubicle – I’m used to open offices where you can see everyone and chat across the table. Not liking the cubicle experience at all, even when I did have my own desk 🙂
      Working from my balcony today in protest – that’ll teach ’em!

      Liked by 2 people

  1. Hm, I’ve never considered that idea on Empowerment. To me, the idea of empowerment has always felt like an extra gust of wind to give my flight more forward momentum. But now I’m going to ponder your interpretation of the word.

    Liked by 3 people

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