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Why Pirates?

We get asked this all the time.

The Golden Age Pirates are a source of inspiration. A crew that was fed up with the status quo and wanted to change their world for the better.

Why Pirates?: Text

But aren't pirates all...





Why Pirates?: List

"I'd rather be a pirate than join the navy."

When Work Pirates co-founder Michelle Minnikin first read Be More Pirate, she knew she had to Do Something.

The book, by Sam Conniff Allende, explains how the Golden Age pirates who sailed the high seas between 1690 and 1725 were actually powerful agents of change and social justice. The dictatorial Navy with poor treatment and little to no pay was the catalyst.  

Yes Pirates were rebels, they were also innovative thinkers with progressive ideas that are still relevant today.

Pirates were highly-skilled, well coordinated collaborators united around a common goal. A diverse crew committed to a democratic and progressive system, where pay was fair and healthcare provided. 

Why Pirates?: Text

What progressive pirates created

Strong teams

Work together

Rule breakers

Rewrite the rules


After injuries

Good trouble

Empower the rebels


Equality and equity

Pay equality

Equal share in success

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Why Pirates?: Services

Not quite what you were expecting?

We had exactly the same reaction when we read the book the first time.

Why Pirates?: About

Some 21st century workplace crises

The Great Resignation

The pandemic created a shift. Even the good companies we speak to have suffered from higher levels of staff turnover. Many roles remain unfilled. Talent seems harder to find and growth has been slowed.

Disengaged team members

Gallup research shows that only 21% of employees are engaged at work. This creates a dilemma for business leaders in how to inspire and create high performing teams.

Rock bottom mental health

Gallup research shows that just 33% of employees are thriving in their overall wellbeing. Levels of illness, depression, and rising suicide rates create alarm bells for organisations to take on board in how they support their team members.

Profit before people

As younger generations join the workforce, the short-term obsession from companies for growth, profit and shareholder value no longer holds the same allure. These organisations will lose out to those with more compelling, equitable and socially-driven missions.

Why Pirates?: List

Solving today's people problems
like the golden age pirates

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Our Services

With over 40 years of combined experience, we bring a collaborative, fun and professional approach for business leaders to solve their people problems. We focus on Employee Selection, Coaching, and Leadership Development.


The Unf*cking Work Mission

We can't solve every workplace problem. However, our wider mission is to bring awareness and a platform to other change makers to share the burning issues, what they are doing about these, and the practical tips you could implement.

Why Pirates?: Team

What clients said about working with us

Michelle is an independent thinker, visionary and total work pirate! She considers high performance to be a function of a thriving work environment built on fair and fit-for-purpose systems. She brings people together and is superb at creating communities.

Michelle is the person to call when you finally figure out the old ways are holding you back. Whilst lots of fun but that’s just the cover over a performance genius who helps you get and keep the right people. When you’re done making all the mistakes, let her show you a better way.

Fiona Kearns

Why Pirates?: Testimonials

Our Pirate Code

Despite being known for their rebellion and resistance to rules, pirates had their own Pirate Code or Pirate Articles about how to behave and work with others - strengthening them as a crew.

Our Pirate Code works just the same, helping us to navigate tricky situations and stormy seas as a team.

These Pirate Articles were appropriated (with love!) and adapted from Be More Pirate by Sam Conniff Allende.

Article 1: Make Work Better

  • We want our work to make us better people.

  • We share what we know so you too can create change  - we never hoard knowledge. 

  • We want to feel safe, protected and like we belong; we want a voice, and to be able to participate in the decisions that affect us. 

  • When things go wrong, we address it head-on - we don’t let problems fester and blow up later.


Article 2: Adopt the new work rules

  • We commit to understanding ourselves and figuring out how we work best.

  • We want the freedom to work in the best way for our own needs and strengths.

  • We want the rewards of creativity, fulfilment and knowledge to match the financial compensation we need. 

  • We need life/work balance - we enforce our boundaries and use our judgement.

Article 3: Take fulfilment seriously

  • Fulfilment is an important objective.

  • Fulfilment is a strategic driver for success, productivity and creativity.

  • Fulfilment enables great work, great impact, great relationships and greater effectiveness.

  • There is no one-size-fits-all fulfilment; different things bring fulfilment to different people.

  • We don’t expect to be fulfilled every day but we accept and respect everyone’s right to fulfilment.

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Article 4: Always be learning

  • We expect, respect, celebrate and appreciate the art of strategically, structurally and intuitively working things out as we go along.

  • We’re enthusiastic and curious experimenters, we seek to understand, ask for advice and listen to feedback.

  • We seek creative solutions and positive problem-solving based on available facts, the moment of opportunity and power of practised intuition. 

  • We learn from our mistakes and use them to do better.

Article 5: Just don't be a dick

  • We trust that everyone is doing their best.

  • We do what we say we’ll do and if we can’t, we will ask for help.

  • We’re kind, compassionate and empathetic to others and to ourselves.

  • Drop the ego. No-one cares who you are. Everyone's just trying to do their job.

Why Pirates?: Projects
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