In another Forum devoted to my particular locality, we have been discussing life one of its past principal employers - now gone the way of most traditional industry, but in its day a world-respected centre of excellence and generally a very very happy and remunerative place in which to work.
But the 'traditional' workplace culture of 30 or 40 years ago seems light years away from that of today. For example, a discussion of a particular senior manager there was provoked by an old newspaper photographs. I was a very junior 'Personnel' bod then, but this particular fellow stands out as by far one of the most uncouth people I have ever encountered in my whole life and career. Nowadays, he and his management style just wouldn't be tolerated or possible, but then it was a fact of working life - here is the recollection of someone who was once even closer to this:-
"Where X lost my respect was that every single morning that I can remember he stood on the shop floor close to where I was working and bollocked (Lawrence Y - one of his foremen) for something!
Every single morning without fail!
If he'd done something to deserve it then fair enough, but not on the shop floor in front of the people that Lawrence was supposed to be in charge of!
He had an office where it could be done in private IF it was necessary!
As good a manager as he may have been I found the man to be an ignorant, arrogant boor, and nothing, in my years in the machine shop ever altered that opinion!"
The pendulum has swung a very long way in the other direction since then - too far, maybe?
We're a lot more civilised these days and that's obviously 'a good thing' and progress and all that.
But what might we have lost as a result?
My wife is always taking me to task about my tendency to ramble on about the past, but I do nonetheless think it shapes our futures and in 'HR' it's important for some present colleagues to keep such things in proportion / proper perspective and to try and avoid getting unduly 'precious' about them, bad as they in themselves undoubtedly were.