Friday, 9 December 2011

The Pure Employee

Ever wondered how some people manage to make a living out of, well, making a living?

CLOSELY RELATED, yet fundamentally different, to the Survivor is the pure employee. Whereas a Survivor will amaze all with his knack for remaining unnoticed, compensated and comfortable, the pure employee is quite the extravert: No-one is in any doubt as to his supreme at-oneness with the inner machine. That's his very point.

He thrives without special skill or expertise other than the very ability to thrive. She reflexively creates demand for his own labour the same way a narcotic creates its own addiction.

Purity tends to enrich with seniority. Once operations folk become sufficiently distant from the great steampunk machine they can, and hastily do, disengage themselves from their tether. It is a short step from there to the discovery of PowerPoint, upon which their purity transforms to near 100 per cent, overnight, from virtually zero.
The purest pure employee is possessed no practical worth, not even an evolutionary detritus of skill, but only a Masters of Business Administration, a discipline designed to systematically quash any utility a man might otherwise offer.

He functions as a project manager, business analyst or - most ghastly of all - a change manager. Ideally, he will simply manage other, more junior change managers, who will make it their business to ask silly questions of useful employees, who will give them, as convention requires, silly answers, which will be diligently fed into excel spreadsheets, maniputed, graphed, pivoted, defiled, lacerated, reformatted, rendered in 3-D and recycled as PowerPoint presentations.
This is the singular genius of PowerPoint: to render stupidity as genius.” 
That is to say, the bad data is now overlaid with so much meaningless reinterpretation as to be unrecognisable as stupidity. This is the singular genius of PowerPoint: to render stupidity as genius.

This is, of course, all good clean ironic fun, until you realise it is your job that this PowerPoint wizardry will be eliminating.


  1. This is a positive writing and give you a reason to relive with strong energy. Great post, i liked it.

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  2. Would this almost be a poke at management?

    1. it would, in the same way your comment is *almost* a collosal understatement! (sorry for delay replying - my notifications were switched off for some reason!)

  3. I would love to see this blog post updated and elaborated upon, based on either personal experience or at least stories you've heard. This echoes very similar experiences of mine when I worked in corporations and it always was something I viewed with heavy irony. The very people "leading" the company were the ones who understood the least about what it was we actually did. And it was not in just one company where I saw this on a daily basis, it was several. This is something that is endemic in American business, one could almost say cancerous.

    1. I shall try to keep it going. I have a more active blog for more general topics here
      (sorry by the way not to reply sooner - for some reason I didn't get notified of these posts!