A (Not So) Quick Word From Richard Sucker.


I am a part of the Senior Leadership team for Earth Inc, one of the multitude of various management positions that ensure the running of everything goes as smoothly as it does. My name is Richard Sucker, but you can call me Dick, most of my colleagues do. It’s easy to forget just how important it is to have people in roles such as mine, so easy that I often struggle to justify my existence myself. It is important though. It is. Recently I have noticed a feeling of apathy, or resentment, towards my peers and I, and so the aim of this piece is to reassure, bolster and encourage, whilst avoiding the pitfalls of making grand, empty promises, or having to pay anyone any more money. We want you to be happy and proud, because then your productivity skyrockets, so I shall start by assuring you that we value your work, that each of you are important, cherished members of the team, and that there is always going to be room for you to grow. Not a promise, but an assurance. Now that I have introduced myself I shall cut to the chase. The following paragraphs seek to underline exactly what it is we do up here, in our luxurious boardroom full of cakes and bottled water, and to help you understand just why we do need to fly to Peru in order to discuss something that could seemingly be discussed over the phone.
The first thing to bear in mind is that the efficiency drive that has rolled out across the shop floor is taken just as seriously by your overlords. Sure, it may seem like we spend all our time chatting to each other about the expensive holidays we’ve been on, and it might appear that we waste time and money like we own the very constructs themselves. However, we have to give visiting clients a selection of high end cakes and sandwiches during their visits, mostly because it helps to distract from our anarchic systems and hardware – you can’t be picking holes in procedure with a head full of Battenburg, can you – but also because we get to eat these treats too, and when they become stale and tired we can offer them to you lot. That’s good isn’t it. The time spent in meetings isn’t just spent eating though, goodness gracious no, sometimes we aren’t eating at all. Literally. No, these meetings are a vital opportunity to get away from the whinging and complaints, and the irritating evidence, examples or ‘reasons’ that you all give in an attempt to make these baseless issues seem completely factual. Know though, that we are listening, and once we have listened your words remain in our heads for whole seconds, before we catch sight of ourselves in the glass walls of the conference room and think, ‘God I look professional and important in this suit’ and forget you even exist. So we are listening.
Next I shall tackle the belief that your input is of use to us. It’s not. Yes, we have all that literature and that page on the intranet that say otherwise, but if you think about it we’re hardly going to send out an email saying that we want you to feel involved, hence the suggestion box, but that the slot actually leads to the recycling. It would be counter-productive. The simple truth is that if your ideas gel with ours, and if we were going to do something incredibly similar anyway, we shall allow you to feel like you’ve achieved something. However if it doesn’t, and if we weren’t, there is no chance. We are in charge and if we say you are an idiot, that is the case. Even if we use different words and smile while we say it. This is similar to how we handle your salary. During the period in which pay rises are considered we will generally ask you to grade yourselves, including examples of your excellent quality of workmanship. This is because we haven’t been paying attention and thusly we have absolutely no idea. We are managers, not nursery school teachers, and don’t have time to notice what it is you actually do. Or don’t. When you’ve done that we will talk you down a little bit and then give you the nominal increase that was always intended. It’s a brilliant system, and allows the spring water and Fox’s Crumble Crunch to keep on coming.
Speaking of nursery school, we also spend a lot of time dreaming up colourful but ultimately empty schemes designed to make you feel like you are involved in something special, and to make us look good to those superficial clients that value that bollocks over the actual work we do. We’ll think of an emotive word, one related to our field of expertise, let’s say we decide on ‘SERVICE’. We’ll then assign each letter in that word a word of its own and a primary colour, so that it at least looks all nice and well thought out. The end result will be something like this:
It’s pointless, garish tat, obviously.  Those involved in business will see the benefits of what appears to be investment in ones work force, they will use it as a way to distinguish us from competitors, and some of them may even want to use our programmes in their own companies.  That always makes me chuckle.  It also gives us a reason for another day long meeting.  The words used don’t even need to mean anything in the context in which they’re used, they just need to sound powerful, attractive, worthy and strong.  The primary colours just make the posters look good, and before you ask of course we need the posters, if we didn’t have them you wouldn’t know we’d even done anything and then we might as well not even bother.
There seems to be a consensus that we are all eager Yes Men, pumping out warm jets of candied positivity and saying what we need to in order to ensure our own progression, and that just isn’t true.  There are many of us who are embittered Blame Thrusters, turning their every negative trait into someone else’s mistake, simply to move up a ladder they already despise.  We are a varied bunch, with a wide range of self serving, hand-me-down, flimsy, unquestioned rules and techniques.  As long as we just do what the rest of us do, eventually we’ll even stop thinking about it and genuinely, sincerely believe that we mean what we say and that it all makes perfect sense.  Of course, there are some of you who display these qualities and you will be fast tracked to the big leagues.  Unless there are cuts.  There aren’t  going to be any, mind.  That reminds me, I must remember to unpack the dartboard in my office and pick out next quarters redundancies.  Not there will be any.
Finally, a lot of you have said that you feel like you are unimportant to us, that you do not feel valued, needed, trusted, respected, and other things you seem to think you deserve.  Well I’m here to tell you differently.  You are very important to us.  Without you we would be unable to pass the buck, blame your personality, rather than pitiful morale, on our plummeting staff retention, or get you to work harder and longer when we over promise something.  Not that we ever do.  We need you for that, otherwise it would be our fault when things went tits up and I fail to see how that can be the case, it’s not like we’re in charge or anything.  Trust and respect are above your pay grade.
So keep up the great work, we really appreciate your efforts.  My bonus was huge last Christmas.  And remember: without you, it’s just us.  And that would be fucking dreadful.


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