Eaten Any Brains Lately??
First there was Scott Adams, a baby boomer (born in 1957), who started his career as a communications engineer at some very well known companies such as Crocker National Bank and Pacific Bell. He is the creator of Dilbert and our favorite character, Catbert, the evil Human Resources Director. Scott Adams’ comic strip is now published in the business sections of many newspapers – which, if you think about it, is very scary. His satire of life in the cubicle has been praised as very funny because much of what he writes is very true. The March 30, 2009 comic depicts the Pointy Haired Boss speaking with a job applicant:
Pointy Haired Boss: “You’re hired. But company policy requires me to post the position internally before it’s official.”
Applicant: “You mean that company policy requires you to lie to employees and give them false hope?”
Pointy Haired Boss: “Exactly.”
Applicant: “That’s cruel.”
Pointy Haired Boss: “In six months you’ll wish you had some false hope, too.”
If you find this funny and sad at the same time, you are probably not alone as many of us have seen this type of behavior in the work setting. Yet, for some reason, this behavior is justified as a logical business practice with no though of the ramifications on employee relations.
Now comes Generation X with its own brand of business gallows humor. Jonathon Coulton, born in 1970 is a Yale graduate and former computer programmer who broke away from the corporate world to become a bit of a business satirist with his song entitled, RE Your Brains. It is a about a guy named Bob who recently became a corporate zombie and is trying to convince, Tom a coworker to join him. Click here to view the YouTube video. This song has a very strong following with both Generations X and Y as they are looking for an opportunity to use their own creativity and use their intelligence to do their jobs.
Then, of course we have the movie, Office Space, which has developed a cult following primarily because many people feel that this movie accurately depicts their life in the workplace. The television series, The Office, also has a very strong following simply because most of us can relate to all of the characters in the show. We’ve all had a boss like Michael Scott and coworkers like Dwight Schrute and the other characters in the show.
Dilbert, RE Your Brain, Office Space and The Office have quite a bit in common. They all are capitalizing on some of the senseless things that occur in Corporate America. People find these things funny because there is an air of truth and reality in each of them.
Am I inhibiting creativity and the ability of employees to make logical decisions through micro-management and assigning mindless work?
Are you sucking the life out of your employees?
How many brains have I eaten in the last week, month or year?
Now get back to work and make sure the report is stabled on the top left corner of the page at a 45° angle and no more than a half an inch from both the top edge and the left edge of the paper. Oh, and one more thing, make sure that new cover sheet is included in the report. So if you could go ahead and try to remember to do that from now on, that'd be great. All right!