Ohmann was on a quest to find a new religion to address the old capitalist problem of alienated labor: the estrangement of the worker’s psyche from the act of production. It was a quest he undertook not because he felt it was right in any moral or ethical sense, but because, as an executive, he felt he had no other choice if his company was to thrive. The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, which Ohmann purchased from Hay in 1949, offered him the perfect solution for preserving the “wholeness of personality” — a way of introducing people to their true selves and convincing them that the work they were doing was a natural extension of how God had created them. The fact that it might also help enhance productivity seemed, to Ohmann, the ideal marriage of “higher and more enduring spiritual values” to the material realities of work. In its primordial form, the idea of “work-life balance” was a bargain struck between God and mammon; a bargain brokered by the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, Ohmann informed Hay and Isabel.
None of this is new. There’s been an endless stream of studies showing that the open-plan office is a source of stress, conflict, and turnover. And yet it’s still the default in tech. An almost unquestioned default. That’s a fucking travesty.