Thursday, July 14, 2005

Six Rules To Executive Success

Since I’ve started writing this blog, I have received a lot of correspondence from readers who want to learn the secrets of my success in life. Realising that I have some important information to impart to this world, and before I drink myself to death, I will start small. Don’t want to break off more than I can chew.

The key to becoming a valued employee in your organization is to misbehave. Many academics will talk about productivity and value, and profitability, but these issues are red herrings. The true measure of your performance is not how much good you’re doing for your employer, but how much bad you get away with.

The thrust of this view-point is the general philosophy that you own your own intellectual worth. It assumes that you are actually capable and diligent enough to do the job for which your employers pay you—if you wanted to—and that even if you were fired for your bad behaviour, or if you just got bored working with the assholes that you work with—you could very easily pick up a job somewhere else. You do not fear job insecurity.

I’m not advocating that you lie, cheat, and steal from your boss. Far from it. The trick is to be open with your mis-deeds. If nobody saw you shag your new hot receptionist, then for all intents and purposes, it didn’t happen. It can only ever become a rumour. And rumours about you are bad. Very bad. Rumours provoke curiosity. Curiosity leads to investigations. And investigations become a critical analysis of your bad behaviour, in isolation from the good things you are doing for your company.

Rule Number 1 of success as a workplace asshole: Make Sure You Get Caught.

Associated with the first Rule, is the second principle in making your mark in your company. Always Take The Blame. Make sure that whenever something is broken, or whenever the IT guy reports that an excessive amount of porn traffic has been coming through the computer network recently, that you are the first person they suspect. If your company is the kind of place that would actually fire you for such misdemeanours, then they’re a bunch of anally-retentive cocksuckers who don’t deserve your patronage anyway. By being the first person everybody blames for the slightly inappropriate, this will diminish the seriousness of major liabilities.

The Third Rule is to Always Be Prepared To Walk. This is the ultimate in risk-taking. When you start with your employer, tell him that you don’t give a fuck about what the Employment Relations Act says about unjustified dismissal or personal grievances. If you are acting sufficiently badly, then you should rightly be the source of any number of personal grievances. But say to your boss that you accept that they have made an investment in the business, and that if at any point they don’t feel that you’re of value, you’d like to be told so that you can walk quietly. That’s taking responsibility for yourself, and who you are. Your credibility will rise exponentially. Importantly, this attitude demonstrates to your boss that you understand your value: they will overlook transgressions if they know that they don’t have to keep a count and record of them in order to find reasons to get rid of you.

Become The Person HR Wants To Fire. If you work in a company with an HR department, make yourself the object of their disaffection. HR people are the security guards of the organization: they would have liked to have become cops if they were smart enough or tall enough (and there are some pretty stupid and short-arsed cops around); they impose stupid rules that have nothing to do with the organisation’s values in order to demonstrate their own self-worth; and whenever a real crisis happens, they throw away their cap-guns and start running. All good hiring managers know that HR is the place you put people who are spectacularly unproductive, and do not listen to what they say. Become the person that HR complains about to senior managers, and your organizational stock will increase significantly. The best way to get noticed by the CEO is when you’re having drinks on a Friday, and he comes up to you and congratulates you for being such an asshole to HR.

Be Argumentative. If somebody says something that you disagree with, or if you’re just bored, see it as an opportunity to get into a shit-fight. Case in point: for the last week, a colleague of mine, who sits near me, has been telling colleagues, clients and associates that she is working on the biggest project of its kind, that has ever taken place in the WORLD. It’s a bold call. It’s a ridiculous claim, really. Finally, this afternoon, I’d had enough of the mindless statement. So I snapped. I said loudly to her, so that everybody could hear: “Jane, that’s fascinating. Do you have a list of the second and third largest projects of this kind that have ever taken place, in the WORLD?”

Get Ridiculously Drunk At Office Gatherings. This is the best rule ever invented. Again, if they’re the kind of people who’d give you notice for getting drunk at office gatherings, then they really should go fuck themselves anyway. A few weeks ago, my team went off to Waiheke Island to celebrate a good month’s work. We started drinking at nine-thirty in the morning. Well, I did. The other fuckers didn’t start until we were on the ferry.

We were all pretty civil, until we got on the boat to come back, after a good seven solid hours of boozing. The company chairman came down to the bar with his much younger, and quite tidy wife. Now, I don’t know about you, but I consider it bad manners for big-wigs to invade at the end of a booze-up. So highlight those bad manners by being particularly ill-behaved.

My response was to tell her quite loudly that she was far too hot for him, and that she should think about getting a much younger toy-boy. I even told her I’d make room for her in my schedule each Monday, if that suited. Company chairman felt cuckolded, but laughed it off.

During the boozing session, I managed to get into a fist-fight with one of my directors (I started it!); put my finger in another director’s mouth while he was in full conversational flight (to shut him up and start talking about ME again); broke off pieces of ice sculpture in the Ice Bar and put them in my drink, to cool down; yelled at, and slapped repeatedly, a new guy at the office who couldn’t remember the name I had started calling myself; got thrown out of two pubs; made a pass at all of the hot chicks who happened to be near and denigrated any boyfriends they may have had; and hurled abuse at any colleague as soon as they announced they were leaving.

And why haven’t I been fired? HAVE YOU NOT BEEN GETTING ANY OF THIS? Because, dear reader, if you make enough of an asshole of yourself at work, then people will just assume that you are outstandingly good at what you do, to justify the fact that you are still there. In fact, they will be disappointed in you if you don’t act like a prick.


Anonymous said...

Brilliant, you are a brilliant arsehole.

MarcusD said...

IP - fabulous post. Correct in every way. Are you and Cathy Odgers related or have you just worked in the same places?

Cathy Odgers said...

I love the approach actually that you outline. It works better as you get older as well.

Unfortunately it only works really well for men in NZ. I exhausted all options in the NZ workplace with such behavioural examples you outline.

Fortunately overseas they think it is "precious", "creative" and "antipodean" so I have run pretty much with your guidelines so far with success.

I also note overseas they dont have HR departments as such and employ outside recruitment firms

Anonymous said...

Cathy Odgers is not the same closet-case who once described Auckland University's "Womenspace" as "a lesbian looking lounge," is she?

If that's you, are you "out" yet, Cathy?

Cathy Odgers said...

Admit to making those comments. Yes. In the context that I did not want my compulsory student association fee going on it and many of the other special interest groups on campus (Alliance, NORML, Engineering drinking sessions, Shadows, Young Labour).

Never been closeted about anything in my life. Unlike you who post under anonymity.

Sorry not to be able fill your sick little head with fantasy but I don't do chicks.

My choice not to, unlike you who I doubt could pull even your own dick on the one night a month you can get it hard.

Rob Good said...

Oh Cathy you are brilliant. Insolent Prick has it all worked out as well....

Anonymous said...

In the immortal words of William Shakespeare, "Methinks the lady doth protest too much!"

Helen Clark Junior wrote: "...unlike you who I doubt could pull even your own dick on the one night a month you can get it hard."

Like Insolent Prick, I get too much pussy to need to cuff it -- and that's several times a night, not "one night a month."

Jeez Cathy, you're one bum-tongue (one slip of the tongue and it's in the shit." Go back to the farm!!

Cathy Odgers said...
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Cathy Odgers said...
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Cathy Odgers said...

I am only pissed off now you have compared me to a socialist.