Tuesday, September 1, 2009

When Clipboards graduate to STUPID

Today I want to unveil the new Corporate Personality Type: the Stupids. 

Unlike their marijuana induced cousins, these Stupids are people who work at an executive level in companies and they are a lot less fun.  They make over $500k a year.  They always need to get in the last word, and they don't listen much.  Sooner or later, many lose their humility and believe that because of their position and ridiculous salary, they must be God-Like.  That's when the church activities kick in.  Also, at some point they stop working very hard, they come to work overfed, risk averse and happy, content in their long term bonuses slowly acquiring in the bank.  Also, they stop learning a thing about the industry or people around them.  When they retire, they retire with statements such as this: Vivian rose from a computer operator through positions of increasing responsibility to be VP.  "My 30 year career is so exciting!  When I started we needed people like me to operate computers and now the industry has changed so much, any baby with a cell phone can operate a computer!  I am truly blessed to work with such great colleagues."

And that's when it hit me.  The Stupids are simply Clipboard people who graduated to higher positions.  They have limited talent or training.  They don't have any knowledge of their customer or business.  They simply wore a suit every day, were more organized then everyone else, didn't piss anyone off and never did more or less than they were supposed to.   

Exhibit A: Yesterday a new policy was unveiled requiring VP-level approval for ALL purchases of office supplies or travel.   It was rolled out as a way to save costs.  10s of millions of dollars. All because some poor VP is going to review at least 5 purchase requests a day from his/her 100 person group of people.

Exhibit B: Yesterday's 3 hour executive meeting.  The mini CEO asked for things.  Things he should have already hired consultants for.  Such as "my strategy is fundamentally flawed and I really need to learn more before I lose this market.".  He asked for them as follow ups, and he seemed rather... apologetic about it, like please, please can someone tell me my strategy?  anyone?  Then there was the 10 minute discussion on the difference between two very basic data center concepts.  I wish someone would just think to use Google instead of discuss like idiots as they tried to feel their way around the question.  

3 comments:

Lilac - Like The Flower said...

And isn't it alarming that these are captains of industry? I think its amazing how things progress, despite ourselves.

Capt. BS said...

Thoughts in response:

1. Isn't The Stupids the name of a children's book in which, at some point, the father dons an 18th-century wig and a cardboard box and declares, "I'm General George Washing Machine!" That line cracked me up.

2. Have you ever considered undergoing a lobotomy in the name of career advancement? Or having your hippocampus removed or something? It seems like there isn't any other way to get ahead other than to stop paying attention to detail, stop asking questions, adopt checkbox-checking as your prime objective, and accept that having mass and occupying space bestow upon you the god-given right to draw a high-six-figure salary with bonuses that are predicated on the earth continuing to orbit the sun.

3. Now that you've established that clipboards eventually metamorphosize into stupids, I wonder whether it's worth exploring the next stage in their lifecycle: reproduction. I would posit that there are few, sparsely-populated clipboards in the wild, and that there must be some reproductive process that causes them to multiply and form highly-concentrated, self-sustaining herds. Perhaps, long ago, there was even an Original Clipboard who migrated to a densely-populated area and began the cycle. Or maybe it isn't reproduction per se, but a phenomenon that can be better described with some sort of zombie-proliferation model? Hmmmm...

Priya said...

Brilliant! I will ruminate upon the reproduction angle. High school socialization must definitely have something to do with it.