Helpful blog-follower Yvonne, has come up with a wonderful example of a bullshit job; a lifeguard at an Olympic swimming event. The incumbent's expression says it all. Further entries still gratefully accepted.
Many moons ago, I went on a camping trip in Russia. I could write an essay on why camping in Russia was not wise in 1988, but I’ll save that for some other time. The point is that Russia was then boasting of 0% unemployment. No unemployment! Wow! I’d been student in Perth when part … Continue reading On the Nature of Bullshit Jobs
My toaster has a wonderful button on it called ‘A Bit More.’ A friend has pressed that button with a great example on the madness of KPIs. To be clear, I am all for setting reasonable and challenging goals. I think everyone likes to be clear about expectations and if there are no set goals … Continue reading A little bit more on KPIs
In my last post, I wrote about the dangers of failing to have any targets at all. I suggested this could breed belligerent clock watchers if employees were not challenged by some degree of accountability. In the weeks since then, we have seen (in Australia) public scrutiny of banks and one large insurer and … Continue reading What gets rewarded, gets repeated.
Robert Frost said that the world was full of willing people. ‘Some willing to work, the rest willing to let them’. Of all the characters we encounter in our working lives, one that has always irritated me is the very belligerent employee. I am referring to people who are paid to work and yet wage … Continue reading Those Loyal Belligerents
The subject of references came up recently. The manager in question was concerned about whether to write one at all. He was trapped between trying to be polite to the departing employee and an overwhelming urge to warn the new employer. There is no obligation to write a reference. Some companies have policies discouraging anyone … Continue reading On writing an honest reference
In many large companies, hefty sums are often directed disproportionately in training. Sponsoring MBAs or paying for coaching can take vast chunks out of the leadership training budget. This is common, but it is also foolish. The greatest priority for funds for management training are the first line supervisors. This is where the hardest challenges … Continue reading And Who Will Manage Simon?
I was a big fan of Australian columnist Philip Adams in my student years and continue to read his columns in a weekend paper. I don’t always agree with him, but something I always found admirable about Adams was that he had achieved so much. He was prolific, and I aspired to be prolific, afternoon … Continue reading Life; Be in It, sometimes.
A friend was recounting a visit from a Mum and her nine-year-old daughter. As the daughter twirled away on his kitchen floor, he asked the question many of us direct at children and unemployable relatives, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” “I’m going to Broadway,” she said, quite earnestly. He waited … Continue reading Dream a little dream
It’s that time of year for the office Christmas party, a ritual that we may relish or dread. Only the most curmudgeonly or drastically ill employee is excused from attending and excuses such as ‘a sudden bout of leprosy’ are unlikely to be believed. In my working life I can recall extremes of lavish affairs … Continue reading Deck the Halls