I no longer work for Corporate Amerika… I no longer hear Darth Vader’s Death March as I enter the bowels of purgatory through revolving doors. So you may ask, why do you still write about corporate culture? Well I could take the smarty-pants route and say:
- I’m still recovering and experiencing PTSD from working on projects for months just to figure out that they were poorly conceived (probably by some twonk in a strategic role who just liked coming up with ideas instead of making products) and therefore being end of lifed before we actually got to do anything.
- Or experiencing meetings with people higher up who yell and berate you for no reason what so ever rather than to put you in your place, when you were only asking for their help and support on a particularly touchy matter. You wouldn’t have asked for their support unless they hadn’t openly made a good show in a meeting of how they “were there to help us with such matters” in a project update meeting. Blame it on my naivete.
- I’m still recovering from the impulse to fill out project management PERT analysis and MS Project time-sheets (Spreadsheet Monkeyism).
But I think if i still write about the Corporate Life every now and then it’s because I see something or read about a study or theory that just vindicates the hunch I had that Corporate Life in its perverse form is only a few steps from living in an asylum. Every now and then I run across and article or post that makes my heart warm up like my hands around a mug of hot chocolate with real marshmallows in it.
In his post Jim McGee asserts that in large organizations like the military (or corporations). Officers who are dumb and hard-working (say like Frank Burns from MASH) usually cause the most problems. I’d add to that if you get an A-hole boss (ala. Bob Sutton’s classification) running an organization of Frank Burns-like individuals them you have some serious problems.
Now who would you rather have as your boss? Frank Burns or Lou Grant?
It didn’t happen in my last job, but I have worked in jobs where management types walk by your cubicle and give you a look-over when you don’t appear to by doing something at your computer. “I’m thinking… damn-it!” I wanted to say. Maybe I needed to wear a dorky baseball cap with a flashing light bulb on top for these numb-nuts to get it. McGee in his post suggests the use of mind-maps for thinking and looking productive.
More, I agree that it’s much better to engineer smarter ways of doing things than just looking busy filling out things. Or just looking busy. I began my corporate life as an administrative assistant and I’m quite proud to admit this because I believe that good admin are the backbone of any truly high-functioning administration. I spent a great deal of time trying to use and apply the magic of macros to much of my work. Figuring out these things was what made my job quite fun.
McGee asks a very good question: “What barriers to innovation, if any, does a bias toward diligence create?” Looking “Busy” is an addiction that Weberian corporate culture has quite a difficult time overcoming. But I say, in order to stop being an alcoholic one must first admit that they are one.
More grand stuff:
Published April 18, 2007
Last night at dinner, my sister-in-law mentioned that for some reason honey bees are disappearing on a wide scale. This is rather disturbing as these bees are responsible for pollinating a large amount of the plants which produce our fruits and foodstuffs.
One culprit supposedly is the widespread use of cellphones. It seems that the radiation emitted from cellphone usage may disorient the bees and prevent them from finding their way home.
Bummer! But more than just bummer, this is a major problem. I can’t see a whole bunch of people in fields with toothpicks. Has anyone ever seen that movie Phase IV?
New articles on honey bee disappearance:
Published April 17, 2007
I was in the bank today and the strap on my laptop bag/purse broke for the third time. I didn’t even have a laptop in it. So right now instead of thinking about how to fix it again, I’m throwing in the towel and looking for a better quality and probably more expensive model.
A possible candidate: Kara B’s Messenger Bag
Here’s my dilemma. I do not want a bag that sends out the vibe, “I have the style and fashion sense of an engineer who was raised in a closet without fashionable clothes.” I’ve lived in the northwest for quite sometime now, and I find myself opting for wearing things that are not so smart or chic… only because making and effort makes you look like a hipster who’s trying too hard… or someone who got to the Good Will before the eBay scroungers hit. But I will not skimp when it comes to a laptop bag. While I’d love to carry this around… or this.
I still I have to be practical.
- I need some something that is smart looking
- I like pretty colors
- I need something that will take a pounding
- I need something that carries a lot of stuff…including tech equipment such as simple microphones, recording devices, gadgets, my Nintendo DS, and yes, all the other techno accoutrements that I have. In this day an age, many of us have become our own version of Batman
- I don’t want something that screams, “Steal me because not only am I a 100% Italian leather, I’ve got a lot of expensive crap inside.”
- I need something with an extra pouch that can fit my knitting (small-medium sized projects)
- I’m probably leaning towards this bag in a custom color…
Am I carrying a laptop or delivering a baby?
Published April 16, 2007
Aesthetics , Humor , Presentations
Presentation zen references some hillarious videos on the misuse of Powerpoint. I died laughing watching the first one. He included a snippet of one of my favorite British comedies ever… The Office.
Want to see more funnies from the original Office? From the original BBC site.
Published April 12, 2007
Coaching , Corporate Culture , Development , Humor , Jerk at Work , Leadership , Mentoring , Organizational Development , Presentations , Teamwork , Work Politics
Great post on Presentation Zen on how Powerpoint should be considered completely obsolete.
An article on:
The psychopathology of the modern American corporate leader.
I love the photo supposedly representative of the psychopathic boss.
I’ve become a serious fan of this show. In another life, and another place (blog), I commented that Gene Hunt the Detective Chief Inspector actually embodies the great figure of a leader. Flawed, leader but a good leader nevertheless. Now, of course I’m not implying that we in the business world should just walk in the door, bully and raging with a potty mouth that could make Red Foxx blush. But there is some value and looking back at the past and what worked in the past and understanding why it worked. Of course, today the Gene Hunt style of leadership just wouldn’t wash. But there are some qualities in his persona and character that exemplify great leadership such as taking responsibility for the actions of his underlings.
I really can’t explain why I’m drawn to this show like a moth to a bulb. Other than… it’s just really well-written, I dig the characters, and the show obviously is a labor of vision and love. Plus, the soundtrack rocks. Too bad they didn’t make one of those old fashioned aluminum lunch boxes for the series. I’d be the first in line.
Series 2 Trailer:
Watch the creators explain how the show was developed: