I love having a brain that is capable of critical thought. Every once in a while a little moment comes along where it kicks in and I’m actually proud of myself. Don’t worry, these moments pass quickly and are soon forgotten.
They say, “Don’t believe everything you read.” Or, “I know it’s true ’cause I saw it on TV.” We all like to act like those truisms don’t apply to us. Only those other lemming idiots. Never us. Yet we fall for it all day long. True moments of “question everything” are few and far between.
I was on my break. In front of me was the day’s Wall Street Journal. Naturally, since he’s a primetime asshole, it’s one of the boss’ favorite publications. You can tell by the level of crumplage and how the pages are strewn about which pages have been read and which ones haven’t. He typically digests the thing in several sittings.
There, on the front of a section he hadn’t gotten to yet I saw the headline, “How To Be A Better Boss in 2013.”
Uh oh. I better check this out, I thought. If it’s really bad I can throw it away and he’ll never know the difference. The last thing I need in my life is the fucking WSJ filling my boss’ already tainted mind with even more evil.
I picked it up and started to read.
“Holy mother of God.”
The first piece of advice: “Ban ‘Reply to All'”
Wow. That’s it? An email policy makes someone a “better” boss? Bullshit!
And this reminds me of the time… It seems like yesterday… Oh, that’s because it was. Yesterday my boss sent out an email. Because it makes him feel so big, powerful and clever, when the boss discusses something he wants done, he addresses the email to the primary person he thinks will take point. But he also sprinkles in other people on the CC: line who he thinks needs to know about the task or will somehow be involved on the periphery. In his micro-sized boss brain he sees the world like a chessboard and tells himself things like, “I’m the smartest! Gee-googly! Oh yes. It is I who move the pieces around the board. Only me-eeeeeee!”
Those of us involved always use REPLY-ALL to keep everyone informed during the discussion. This is the world he created, right?
Here’s the kicker. The boss then replied to my email with instructions for someone other than me. He failed to use the REPLY-ALL and/or change the recipient in a way that would make sense.
Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!
I am shamed to admit I briefly thought about fixing his mistake. Shame. But then I pulled the email to my “Done” box. Too bad, so sad, you pathetic idiot!!!
The next piece of advice: “Practice the Hard Stuff.”
I figured this section would be about things like washing hands after using the toilet (with soap, mind you), deodorant, taking showers, combing your hair, dressing yourself in the morning, and putting a new roll of toilet paper up when you finish one off. But then I remembered the author doesn’t actually know my boss. Oops.
The article goes on to say that if you want that next rung on the ladder you need to be expanding yourself. Setting higher goals. Challenging yourself to do more difficult things.
What the hell this has to do with being a better boss I’m not sure. This section sounds more like self-help than anything else.
Finally a piece of advice that seems relevant: “Powers of Persuasion.”
Yes, a good boss leads by example and inspires people to do their best. Umm, actually, the article has nothing to say about that. Instead it talks about the “science” of influence and includes a mumbo-jumbo example of a catchy phrase that crowd sources people to try to fit in. Or something like that. What a bunch of hinky bunk!
Another hot pointer: “Redo Your To-Do List.”
Yeah, bosses love to make lists. My boss has made plenty. He has yet to do a damn thing from any of them. I plan a post about this later that will blow your mind.
I will admit that a boss who stays on track and does what he says might incrementally a “better” boss, but c’mon. This is weak as shit!
And, last but not least, we get to the gold nugget of this piece of crap article: “Learn To Be Annoying.”
Wow. Does this article know a lot about effective management or what? I can already smell those increased profits.
Give me a break. This single line is what prompted me to hide the article from my boss. His puny brain is incapable of processing the subtlety (if any) behind the idea. His take away would be akin to Frankenstein understanding fire. “Must annoy employees. Must annoy employees. Aaaaaarrrrgghhh!!”
The article talks about a brainiac who decides to pump customer service calls to his development team. Oh yeah, baby! I bet those geeky nerds provide unparalleled customer service. Ha ha ha! Flush your company’s reputation down the toilet to make some pinhead manager point. Yeah, that’s a great idea. One I wholeheartedly endorse!
The idea is that by putting your tech team in direct contact with customers they’ll be more in touch with customer’s needs. Blah blah blah. Excuse me, but isn’t that the job of an effective leader? To see a macro view that those in the trenches with their noses buried in mundane details (like their actual jobs) are unable to see?
Isn’t this advice, besides being horrible, also about eliminating one of the core functions of what a manager is supposed to fucking do? How in the name of Zeus’ butthole does this make them a better boss?
Only in the land of the WSJ, eh? From a publication that sees employees as the enemy what else could you possibly expect.
I’m just grateful that my gag reflex immediately kicked in when I tried to read this shit. I was able to think critically and evaluate the article for what it was: Another giant turd pushed out by Rupert Murdoch’s machinery.
If your boss read this article you have my pity.
Don’t believe everything you read. Especially when it is the Wall Street Journal.