5 lessons every tech employee can learn from the TV show Severance
The program revolves around the biotech company Lumon Industries.
The new Apple TV+ workplace thriller Severance is a mind-bending journey into the annals of a biotech giant called Lumon Industries.
The company has a “severed floor” in the basement in which employees are separated from their work and personal lives through the titular procedure. They take an elevator down to the floor and become a completely different person on the way.
But while that’s clearly something of a stretch, the show does have a lot of real world parallels and interesting things to say about the culture of work. (There’s even a LinkedIn page for Lumon, if things weren’t quite surreal enough.)
And while we don’t think AbCellera bars its employees from leaving their workstations during office hours, the show does have a few lessons to share with tech workers. Also, this will contain very light spoilers for the show. You’ve been warned.
Have a healthy work-life balance
The show spends most of its time in the microdata refinement department with Mark (Adam Scott), Helly (Britt Lower), Irving (John Turturro) and Dylan (Zach Cherry). All four of the workers have their own reasons to get severed. And hey, haven’t all of us felt like we should leave work at work?
It’s hard to perfect that work-life balance and bring the same energy to both atmospheres, but it’s important to have an appropriate, healthy relationship between your work and home life.
Working from home might be a good thing
As companies transition to life after COVID, it seems clear that remote work isn’t going away. Interestingly, it seems to be the bigger corporations that are putting more of an emphasis on people continuing to come into the office. It’s definitely not because they’re planning something crazy and sinister though.
Don’t work for a company that idolizes the founder/CEO in a weird way
We’re not saying that the bowels of Hootsuite shouldn’t have a wax statue of Ryan Holmes, along with an exact replica of his childhood home, but, um, actually yeah that’s exactly what we’re saying. If at any point an employee has a shrine dedicated to the founder, you just might be sending the wrong message.
Understand the intentions of your workplace
The “refiners,” as they’re called, have no idea what their work (sorting numbers into different buckets) is actually accomplishing.
Tech can be fairly complicated (I know, groundbreaking observation, but hey, quickly explain to me what exactly Klue does), so you might want to have a very solid grasp on what exactly your company does and why before agreeing to sort any numbers into buckets.
Go over your wellness package
“Wellness” is sort of a catch-all term these days as businesses try to make their employment packages comprehensive and attractive. Hopefully, yours is nothing like the one in Severance, in which employees are read facts about their outside lives over audio tracks of birds chirping and water falling.
In any case, if you’re thinking about changing jobs, you should really watch Severance. If only to realize what you really don’t want in a workplace.