WhyWork Podcast

by Alan Girle, Trajce Cvetkovski, & Sara Pazell

The WhyWork Podcast is an organisational strategy session and legal dissection of workplace events that are laced with humour. Your bloggers, Alan, Trajce, and Sara, explore the contemporary and uncomfortable realities of work and the boundaries that are tested. Alan and Trajce dismantle case law and Sara pushes all to consider how to redesign the world of work so that business objectives are realised and that people thrive. ... 

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Podcast episodes

  • Season 5

  • S05 E08: Smooth Criminal: The sociology of industrial crime


    S05 E08: Smooth Criminal: The sociology of industrial crime


    Season 05 Episode 08: Smooth Criminal: The sociology of industrial crime WARNING: This episode discusses fatalities in the workplace. Listener discretion is advised. In this episode, Alan broaches the topic of industrial manslaughter by describing a case involving a forklift operation fatal incident in a stonemasonry company in New South Wales. This prompts Trajce to reflect on a case where a prosecuted employer ritualistically honoured the anniversary of the death of their worker by paying for an ode of remembrance in the bereavement section of the local newspaper to acknowledge how much the apprentice was missed. “This shows how these events take a huge emotional toll on all parties involved in a fatal incident,” explain Trajce, “These are not crimes rationalising a standard criminological lens. These are crimes involving unintentional harm. It fascinates me because of the sociology of crime – the industrial criminal who commits crimes unintentionally. “These deterrents, the fees, no matter the cost, will never cure the hurt. In the court of public opinion, it will never be enough,” Alan empathises. Sara dreams of a world that balances the punishment with reward to motivate people to exhibit desired social behaviours. "It's basic neuroscience," she says.

  • S05 E07: We've gone Barney

    S05 E07: We've gone Barney

    Season 05 Episode 07: Trajce raises the issue of the Barnaby Bother. It was a Boisterous Barnaby Bumble… Alan explains the alcohol-infused ‘Barnaby bumble’: It made national news, all around Australia, and it was highly embarrassing to anyone involved. Trajce reminds the crew that Zahi Steggall, Member of Parliament New South Wales, SW MP, has implored, “We must do something about alcohol use in parliament.” We cannot trivialise this. Yet, alcohol consumption is culturally indoctrinated in Australia. Trajce announces his publication on trivialisation of risk in the workplace. Alcohol-related activity is one of the 6 typologies found in Reality TV, a reflection on daily life. “It’s trivialisation dissonance,” he says, “The media industry code of practice that advocated for protections from occupational psychosocial exposures during production has been removed at the same time that this material arose in general workplace guidance materials,” “It's not good for popular culture TV viewing without it,” says Alan. For the subscribers, look out for Trajce’s ‘booky-book’, as Sara labels it, on the trivialisation of risk and hazard exposures in the workplace. “It’s the little things that matter,” Trajce notes. For more on alcohol consumption at work, listen to Season 05 Episode 04: Office Spirits: Culture & Controversy and Season 05 Episode 01: Bubbles of Trouble.

  • S05 E06: Doctor, doctor, give me a call

    S05 E06: Doctor, doctor, give me a call

    WhyWork Podcast subscriber Anna Linning asks, “How are different organisations managing the phenomena of digital and instant communication modes in their business - Teams, social media, intranets, and the like?” “Doctor, doctor, give me a call,” Alan chimes, reflecting on Anna’s work in an Australian occupational medical practice. The team debate the Fair Work Amendment Bill 2023 on the right to disconnect because of the issue raised by Anna: the communication impact on mental and emotional load. “I’m finding major problems with this amendment,” scoffs Sara, “Have we returned to that Caucasian, male, privileged work convention?” Alan replies, “… this is one-way legislation.” Trajce adds, “… you must go straight to the source. Don’t go to Dr. Google,” he advises, “The devil is in the details, it says ‘must’,” but it says “unless the reason is for an emergency, OR a genuine welfare matter, OR compensated. The ‘etcetera’ is important.” “Disconnect is analogous to Stop. It’s a stop sign,” Trajce announces, “It’s vexed, Anna, it is vexed. It begs answers on these questions: · What does contact mean? · Is the allowance reasonable? · What constitutes an emergency? Trajce, Alan, and Sara concur on one aspect, “For a little amendment, we’re going to get a lot of traction out of this…” they chime. For more on the ‘Right to Disconnect,’ listen to Season 05 Episode 03: Grab the Pilates socks – It’s our right to disconnect. For more on the Emoji and GIF hieroglyphics in workplace communication, listen to Season 04 Episode 01: The GIF gal and the Emoji man.

  • S05 E05: Shimmyin' on the dance floor


    S05 E05: Shimmyin' on the dance floor


    WARNING: This episode references suicide and sexual matters. The WhyWork crew debate the contest of being forthright in social relations. Trajce reveals a case of a young, drunken lawyer determined to approach a colleague on the dancefloor at a work party. The courts deemed his behaviour to be highly inappropriate and sexualised. This sounds like Season 01 and Episode 01, ‘Bubbles of Trouble.’ “It’s rather sudsy, ” Alan reflects. “It’s the ‘A’ word,” says Trajce, “the Aaa-lcohol that subjects a young person to a new state of vulnerability. This is a common theme.” “Ten Bundies and Coke might erode a few boundaries,” he rationalises, and he exclaims, “There are consequences of shimmying on the dance floor!” “Do we need a specific memo on this? Really? A team of lawyers reverted to shimmying as their defense strategy?” begs Sara. “When you think of discomfort, you think of WhyWork!” badgers Trajce to the laughter of Alan and Sara. “Go the edge,” urges Sara. “Go the edge! I love taking Trajce to the point of when he blushes to our banter,” she teases. Alan urges management teams to learn from the real-world scenarios of work. “Sex and sexual urges are a ‘thing’ when working with people. Organisations must consider this in their risk assessments,” Sara advises. Trajce recalls a matter in school education involving a confronting mix of Midori and marijuana. Sara sends a shout out to The University of Queensland’s Professor Hugh Possingham. She gives her thanks for his teachings on sustainability, transparent decision making, ecosystems, sociopolitical forces influencing ethics, and multiple points of view.

  • S05: E04: Office spirits: Culture & controversy


    S05: E04: Office spirits: Culture & controversy


    Sara laments the damage to her little toe that got no roast beef, “… and it was on my birthday!” she punctuates the story. No, she hadn't been drinking... The team debate the idea of drinking at work, particularly when it is distributed. Sara describes a case when a teacher concluded his remote video call with his employer by drinking from a cask of wine. When disputed, the parties agreed on the facts that this violated workplace agreements and code of conduct. Alan slurps his lemon soda in the background as Sara and Trajce debate the ideas and optics on drinking at work when work occurs anywhere and cultural appreciations sway the judgement on these matters. “Easy fix - turn the camera off,” says Alan, the defense lawyer. Sara announces, “Strong is the new skinny,” when reflecting on The Tradies underwear ad with the Honey Badger Cummins and Winter Olympian Danielle Scott and Women’s Sevens Rugby star Charlotte Caslick. Alan explains the ad, "They are in their underwear, boogying on film, hair blown by a leaf blower." Trajce challenges the idea on a participatory approach to run focus groups in the workplace to determine team member comfort or reactions to new policies, procedures, and material that is ‘on the edge.’