The Denial of the Personal
At some point, probably during the Industrial Age, the employee began to be viewed as a machine.
One can understand why employers fostered that image. Machines are much easier to maintain than people; one goes wrong and it is repaired or replaced. They are specialized and can be expected to perform a particular task well.
Strangely enough, employees readily embraced the concept, perhaps because they too wanted some distance in the employment relationship. In no time they were strolling into job interviews and joining in an odd tango to keep the discussion away from anything that was not job-related. "Behavior for rent" was the way some sages defined the arrangement, little noting that clever description fits the world's oldest profession far more than it resembles a healthy personal or employment relationship.
We can blame this development on the usual suspects - the courts and the efficiency experts - but their contributions do not explain the eagerness to market our wares by showing how machine-like we can be.
This aversion to the subjective and the personal slipped into other areas. At some point, "Government" students became "Political Science" majors. "Liberal Arts" became "Social Sciences." "Personnel" became "Human Resources." Making a discipline more scientific was felt to be a step up. Draining the personal from the professional was considered to be a serious advance. We weren't hiring people, we were selecting candidates, and it was darned cooperative of them to play along with the pretense that, to borrow a sentiment from "The Godfather," it wasn't personal, it was business.
I wonder if we can find some territory in between these two extremes; a place where there is greater recognition of the need to see the whole person while avoiding what most of us would regard as a violation of privacy.
No magic answers here. I'm still thinking about this one.