Back when I was in the e-biz, we had two kinds of clients: Demon and PITA. Some things never change.
Tom’s Law #42
Like a boss or a customer in a restaurant, anyone paying you money to do work on their behalf believes it is their duty to make your life a living hell.
Demon clients are customers where you lose money. They are basically squeaky wheels that aren’t worth the grease to fix. (That’s not to say, however, that a fix would be having them greased.)
Consider: You and another person are customers of some product or service. You pay on time, are reasonable, and an all-around good egg. The other person, however, is slow to pay, constantly whines, excessively consumes your time and resources, and basically sucks your life away like the machine in the dungeon in The Princess Bride. Coincidentally they use the word “inconceivable” a lot.
What if you both pay the same rate? If so, then simply by being nice, you are getting ripped off. Big time. Essentially your function is subsidizing assholes.
Smart companies know this and charge demon clients more and good clients less. Generally speaking, less subsidizing that goes on the better. Subsidizing is an affront to concepts like fairness and equity.
PITA? That stands for, of course, “Pain In The Ass.”
When you combine demon and PITA into a single client? That’s where the magic happens. That’s when it’s truly something special. A singular experience worth writing home about.
The Sin of the Droplet #drabble
He could feel it starting. Up along the ridge where forehead met hairline. And he knew there was absolutely nothing he could do to stop it.
Like a Boss
How to Destroy Your Employees
by Tom B. Taker
Shouts from the Abyss Publishing, 2009-2010
Click here for more information about this author.
Chapter 27 – A Surprising Day
As we’ve previously discussed, when you want to destroy your employees, the element of surprise is one of your most powerful allies. The motto of “keep it secret, keep it safe” rings very true. Ideally you want your employees completely in the dark regarding everything you have planned.
Sometimes, however, there will be times you wish to employ the element of misdirection. If used correctly misdirection can be a real game changer. If the move is too abrupt, however, it can backfire. This is an advanced move and caution is advised.
This week, for example, my boss attempted this unusual ploy. As the new week got off to a start, he communicated with all of his employees that would be out of the office on Thursday. This immediately triggered spidey-sense amongst the employees. We all knew something was up. The change in his behavior was just a bit too dramatic. He always keeps his coming and goings from the office a closely guarded secret because he loves to keep us off balance and guessing.
He even held a staff meeting on Wednesday to remind the whole team, again, that he would not be in the building on Thursday.
You can guess what happened next. Thursday morning rolled around and he surreptitiously tried to drive into the parking lot. It’s only a few feet from the front office windows and I immediately recognized the distinctive sound of his big ass pickup followed by the tell-tale squawk of his alarm being activated. A few seconds later the front door was flung open and he popped in like a vaudeville comedian and yelled, “Surprise!” I shit you not.
There was a collective rolling of the eyes amongst all staff. The boss had overplayed his hand and his move fell short. It almost was enough to put me in a good mood. He still visited each workstation, though, and made requisite shithead comments liked, “That looks like actual work. I must have surprised you. You are pretty good on that boss key.”
I glanced out the window and noticed his second move. It was a variation of the classic Status Reinforcement tactic described in Chapter 5 – Make Sure Employees Know Their Place. All employees have been told they are not to park their vehicles in customer spaces. A glance out the front window confirmed that the Boss had parked his big ass pickup sideways at the front door, completely blocking three customer spaces. He has developed quite the penchant for this maneuver lately.
Going for the boss douchebage-trifecta, he then busted out the You’re-Not-Included move. This technique requires two employees within normal hearing range of each other. He approached my neighbor’s desk and started an inane conversation in slightly louder than normal voice. “Say, how’s the XYZ project coming along? Still late on that?”
Here was a prime example that he was following one of the golden rules of employee destruction – combine techniques whenever possible. Always be multitasking to maximize yield. The direct put down was for her, the overly loud voice was intended for me. Clever.
“Got any questions for me while I’m here?” Yeah, yeah, yeah. We know we’re all just utterly helpless without your God-like powers around here.
Then it happened. I couldn’t see the conversation from my office, they were not in my line of sight, but the shift in the tone of the conversation was palpable. Suddenly he was whispering. I could just imagine him bending down to talk directly in her ear. Lick lick, nibble nibble. Mmmm, boss juices.
“Whisper whisper whisper,” he said.
And so it went. A few words loud, then a few more whispers. And repeat. As we all know, Rule #52 of the Douchebag Boss Manual clearly states, “Bosses never need to be subtle. Unless, of course, doing so causes even more destruction.”
I wasn’t listening in to their conversation since I could give a flying rip shit about anything they had to say, but even when not listening the shift in tone was as obvious as a punch to the face. The impact and intent was clear: What is being said is not meant for your ears. Ah yes. Divide and conquer and toy with one employee’s ego while you make another feel excluded – all at the same time!
He had done it! He nailed the trifecta of employee destruction and in record time. The sheer effort from the exertion obviously wore him down and he was about to pack it in. He had neglected to pace himself and he was clearly spent. A few more minutes of standard garden-variety employee put downs and harassment and then he was on his way.
I hope this chapter has helped illustrate that destroying your employees takes skill, planning and finesse. Yes, the complete destruction of your employees is the ultimate goal, but remember to enjoy yourself along the way. Destroying your employees is not just about the end result, it’s about savoring each and every part of the process. Enjoy the journey.
Next chapter: Fucking with employees when they are off-duty.
I pooped at work and … EIEEEE!
Pooping at the work place. Ah, one of my favorite topics of all. And like any blog post worth its salt, this one just sort of happened. Whatever I had planned to write about today has been pushed out of the way. Heh.
So here’s how it all went down.
My co-worker was on the phone and I’m the backup person to answer our two-line phone system. Light bulb! This is a perfect time to use the restroom and potentially miss a phone call or two.
I’m in there doing my business and reading a very interesting article about scuba diving and finding bottles. (But that’s another story.) But I wasn’t in there that long.
Those of you who work in large office buildings don’t know how lucky you are. Someone walks by and sees your cubicle or desk is empty and they can only guess. “Hey, where the hell is Bob?” He could be in the bathroom, but he could also be in a meeting, on a break, or at the mall next door enjoying a movie at the multiplex. (When I was working in cubicle culture this was a very common occurrence.)
In a small office, however, one thing is painfully clear. Everyone knows exactly where you went (bathroom), what you are doing, and exactly how long you’ve been in there. I hate that.
Anyway, I finish what I’m doing and then perform my post-poop ritual consisting of touching things in a certain sequence, freshening the air, washing my hands, opening the door, then finally sterilizing my hands so I don’t have to touch anything before getting back to my desk.
I step out in the hall. BOOM!
“I need your help. The customer is on the phone!!!!!!”
Geez! And you didn’t call 9-1-1 yet? Whiskey tango foxtrot! Yes, I truly enjoy pooping at the workplace.
Turned out that my co-worker was a PITA demon client, too. “It’s not showing me the link to adjust shipping!!!” Well, are you logged in? “No. Do I have one for this screen???” Yes, you do. I gave it to you already, can you remember?
I hear some furious typing and then, “Oh. Yeah. Mmmm. That worked.”