Dear Corporate Drone:
I graduated from college three years ago, so I’m relatively new to the world of the Hive. One thing that I find particularly confusing is the lack of clear, concise direction and communication that I get from Management. For example, during my recent performance review, my manager told me that I need to be a proactive self-starter, who is motivated and works well under pressure. I asked my manager to give me some examples of what she meant. She did a lot of talking, and she was speaking English, but I still have no idea what she wants.
Thanks for your help,
Dear Entry-Level Drone:
If you have come to the Hive in search of clear direction and lucidly articulated performance expectations, you are sure to be disappointed and disenchanted. I take pity upon you because you are young and still idealistic. Do not fear; in a few more years, any idealism you had will be drained from you. Anyway, back to your question. What does your boss mean when she spits out this nonsense? Well, let’s take a look at the specific terms she used.
Proactive. This means that Management will provide virtually no direction to you, and you will have to divine what they want. A synonym for this is “psychic.”
Self-starter. This is very closely related to “proactive.” Management will not only provide no direction, they will also not share with any Drones the vision or the big picture strategy, assuming that either exist outside of the world of a PowerPoint deck. You will have to figure everything out on your own, and when it crashes and burns, it will be your fault. The only time your boss will talk to you is when she wants your monthly report, so that she can copy and paste it into her monthly report. As an aside, providing your monthly report to your boss is known as “teamwork.”
Motivated. “We value greedy bastards around here.”
Works well under pressure. This one could have several meanings, depending upon the context of the particular Hive and its Queen.
- Because Management provides no direction, every project is a top priority.
- We have a skeletal staff, having laid off many other Drones over the last five years. Most Drones now do the work of three. See also, “overworked.”
- Your Management saves everything for the last minute. For example, an RFP comes in on March 15, with a response date of May 1. Think of the RFP is like a fine wine or a stinky cheese; it must be properly aged on someone’s desk before it can be addressed. On April 29, someone hands you the RFP, and compiling the 200 page response in 48 hours becomes a YP (Your Problem).
- We treat our employees like shit, and we have upwards of 50% turnover. This place is a pressure cooker.
I hope this clears things up. Welcome to the machine. Resistance is futile.