Decolonising work is something we’ve introduced recently at Mission Equality because we noticed that folks who joined us – who’d been steeped in the conventional world of work – were struggling to think outside the confines imposed from decades of working within the ‘system’.

This limits creativity, this limits progress, this limits growth. And so we now invite all new joiners to participate in a period of time that we call ‘decolonising work’.

This is a page taken from our internal team website about this policy and process and how we’re operationalising it…

A Broken System…

The current paradigm of work is based upon colonialist, patriarchal and capitalist structures that prioritise:

  • Profit at the expense of people
  • Performance of the company at the expense of progress of the individual.
  • Power at the expense of trust and freedom.

As well as pushing and upholding unhealthy work practices, habits and cultures such as:

  • Presenteeism.
  • Hustle culture.
  • Bullying.
  • Discrimination – whether unintentional and unconscious.
  • Constantly needing to prove oneself, over and over.

At Mission Equality, we operate a practice of ‘decolonising work’ because we believe the above is unsustainable, unhealthy and damaging.

What Decolonising Work Is & Why It’s Necessary…

Much like children who leave the education system for an alternative education require a period of deschooling, we believe adults need a period of de-colonising their work experience. With kids, we typically expect 1 week of deschooling for every year in school. We believe a similar approach is needed for adults who have worked in the ‘system’ for most of their careers.

This enables you to acclimatise to the freedom to work how you want, when you want, where you want and become fully self-directed in your work efforts, without needing oversight, ‘management’ or externally imposed boundaries.

Typically, after a career existing and working in the old paradigm, adjusting to a new paradigm and the work culture we have at Mission Equality is challenging. This often manifests itself as:

  • An urgent need to prove yourself resulting in unnecessary rushing, stress and pressure.
  • Anxiety and fear that you won’t be trusted to be capable and confident; that you and your potential and abilities won’t be truly seen.

It’s time to breathe…

What Decolonising Work Means At Mission Equality…

In practical terms, this is the first part of your onboarding process at Mission Equality. Instead of it being the time to perform and impress, it’s the time to decompress, learn and explore.

During this period – which we will typically suggest being 1-3 months from the time you officially ‘start’ – we would encourage you to:

  • Immerse yourself in the company, how we work and who we are…
    • Take a good look at all the documents in the shared drive.
    • Scour our websites – internal and external.
    • Scroll back through our social media profiles and posts to see what we share.
    • Chat to team members, at leisure, to start forging your own relationships and connections.
  • Pick an area you’d like to learn more about and get curious, then begin your deep dive:
    • Set up calls with team leads (being mindful of their needs and time too) to get curious and hear their thoughts, experiences and goals for this area.
    • Find the thought leaders and influencers on social media and connect with them; join the conversation and even start leading them 😉
    • Talk to the Mission Equality leadership about a self-initiated task/goal you’d like to achieve which will help with the company’s mission. This should not add pressure to you and be experienced more as a growth exercise than anything output-focused or a way to ‘perform’.
  • Draft a plan for your decolonising period:
    • This doesn’t have to be set in stone, should be flexible, adaptable and change as needed during this period.
    • It will not be used to measure your performance or your progress; it’s more a way for you to check in with yourself and your own intentions as you prepare yourself to step fully into your role at Mission Equality.

As for the question of timing and when you are ‘ready’ to dive in to your agreed role or agree a plan on something else you’d like to explore instead at Mission Equality, this will be an ongoing conversation between us.

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