Monthly Archives: May 2013

Burning Bridges

“Burning bridges” is a tired metaphor that corporate shitheads like to throw around in order to maintain control and some semblance of order over the drones.  It’s designed to instill fear, that if an underling “burns a bridge,” his name will forever be carved in stone as persona non grata.  For example, you might hear this bit of advice:  “When the HR drone and your manager tell you that you’re being laid off, simply smile and thank them for the opportunity to work with their wonderful company.  Sign the documents you’re presented with, walk away, and only say good things about the people who eliminated your position.  You don’t want to burn any bridges!”

What a bunch of shit.

More often than not, bridges are torched from the other direction.  At my first full-time job, I had an awful micromanager who was also a completely repellant human being.  Just by way of example, she cornered one of my coworkers and demanded to know why he spent “so much time away” from his work station.  “You’re away from your desk at least every hour!  Why?  What are you doing?”  He turned about 3 shades of red and explained that he drank a lot of water, and therefore, had to get up to use the bathroom frequently, as well as to refill his bottle.  “Well try to coordinate your trips!”  [The entire company was crazy.  There was one time, in the era before email, that the management team had an emergency meeting to decide if they should go to Staples to buy more fax paper, because there was none in the office, and the Big Boss wasn’t there to tell them what to do.]  She kept a steno pad in her Sanford & Son cubicle, and wrote down the arrival, lunch, and departure times of all of her reports.  If you were traveling on company business, you had to call her three times per day to “check in.”  She was pedantic and condescending, and she sucked in general.

One day, a few years back, I received a call from a head hunter about an “exciting new opportunity.” I sent over my C.V., and received a call from the corporate recruiter.  The conversation went something like this:

Recruiter:  I see that you worked at XYZ Crappy Company from 1995-1997.  I don’t know if you worked directly with Madame Assclown Manager while you were there, but I need to inform you that she is the hiring manager for this position.

Corporate Drone:  I would rather rifle through a dumpster for food than to be subject to her insane micromanagement again.  Thanks, but no thanks.

Recruiter:  I understand.

Corporate Drone:  I’m sure you do understand.  If you would, could you please relay a message for me?  Please tell her that I said “I still hate you, you overbearing, intrusive, bad bleach job, no-talent.”  

Recruiter:  Uh.  Well.  Yeah.  Well.  I can’t really say that, but I get where you’re coming from.

Corporate Drone:  Best of luck in your recruiting efforts!

This idea of bridge burning is always being presented in terms of you, the underling, not pissing off the overlords because some day you might need something from them.  Well, some day, the former overlord might need something from you too.  Someone told me that Madame Assclown Manager has been underemployed for the past five years, and is presently working as a medical billing coder or something.  There’s probably lots to micromanage there–she is in her element, and she finally has a position that is in line with her own incompetence.

How Do You Know if Your Manager Sucks

Being a sucky manager is much more complex than you think it would be.  See, it’s not just about being an asshole and a complete moron, although those usually go hand in hand with bad management.  Let me be clear; a lot of these management gurus will posit that one can be an asshole and still be a great manager.  We Drones know that this is untrue, because when you’re an asshole, the Drones will not go out of their way to help you, because they hate you.  

So how do you know if your manager sucks, other than his completely repellant personality?  Here are a few clues:

  1. Micromanager.
  2. Completely hands-off, only talks to you when urgent, or when she needs your monthly report.
  3. Secretive; doesn’t tell you what’s going on, refuses to confirm or deny rumors.
  4. “Manages up,” i.e., kiss ass.
  5. Is not interested in your company’s products or services, and has no interest in how those products/services solve customers’ problems.  Only cares about the revenue.

Dear Corporate Drone

Dear Corporate Drone:

I have been looking for a new job for a few months now, and I’m confused.  I’ve been on a few interviews where I know I have all the qualifications that they’re looking for, and yet I don’t get the offer.  More often than not, I don’t even get a follow-up telling me that I’ve been excluded from candidacy?  What gives?  

Signed,

Frustrated Job Seeker

Dear Frustrated Job Seeker:

The first thing you need to do is to banish from your mind the idea that employers hire the most qualified candidate.  That is a myth.  Employers hire the person they think is the best “fit” for the job.  How they determine fit?  Who the hell knows.  It’s one of these intangible things that is total bullshit.

Now, as for why you didn’t get the job, the reasons are many and varied.  Here is a sampling of some real reasons that you might not be getting hired:

  1. Hiring manager doesn’t like your alma mater.
  2. No degree/you have an advanced degree/you hold too many degrees.
  3. You express irritation at stupid, irrelevant questions such as “if you were a tree, what kind would you be, and why?”
  4. You remind one of the interviewers of his Uncle Jim, who was a mean drunk who could never hold down a job.
  5. You are a man.
  6. You are a woman.
  7. You haven’t spent the last five years doing the exact same job at a direct competitor.
  8. You’re too well known in the industry.
  9. You are unknown in the industry.
  10. Hiring manager recognizes that you are smarter than she is, and she perceives this as a threat.
  11. You refused to disclose your current employer’s proprietary information, and, therefore, you must not be a “team player.”
  12. You are openly gay.
  13. You are openly straight.
  14. Employer prefers to hire someone who has 500+ contacts in the industry, an MBA, CPA, and JD, and who is fluent in both Cantonese and Latvian.  Working knowledge of Sanskrit a plus.  You do not meet these minimum qualifications.  Commence whining on the part of the employer about not being able to find qualified candidates.
  15. Employer doesn’t like where you live, thinks it’s too far, too close, not fashionable enough.
  16. You remind the interviewer of the Mean Girl from high school.
  17. You are a woman who has children still at home.
  18. You are over age 50/”overqualified.”
  19. You dressed too fashionably for the interview.
  20. You dressed to casually for the interview.

This represents just a few of the reasons that you may be disqualified and kicked to the “thanks, but no thanks” pile.  Notice that none of them have anything to do with your ability to perform the job, because that is pretty irrelevant when it comes to hiring.  It is a numbers game, and eventually you will get an offer.  But when you do get an offer, think carefully about whether or not you want to accept one from a company that would ask you to name a song that best describes you, or some other such nonsense.  Ridiculous, inane interview tactics are a strong indication that incompetency runs amuck.