Friday, 26 April 2013

Bullshit bingo

When I were a lass my dad would come back from work and tell me stories about how middle management at Severn Trent were such wankers that he would entertain himself in meetings by playing Bullshit Bingo. And that was the early 80s.

If he was only alive today to see how management-speak and cretinous fuckery with words inexorably increases year on year, decade on decade, he would be extremely snarky about it I would imagine. One could argue that, as industry in the UK became more meaningless during the 80s and 90s until eventually most people found themselves working in call centres, middle management or recruitment, there grew a need to create a language to make people feel like what they do for 40 hours a week matters in any way, shape or form.

And lo, managers sat around with consultants running ideas up the flagpole, singing from the same hymn-sheet and thinking outside of the box until, in some sectors, it's near on impossible to find anyone other than the kid who does the post that speaks like a normal human being.

Instead of doing something, we have to 'action' it. Instead of thinking about something, we have to 'blue sky' it. 'Going forward' is inexplicably added on to sentences. Innocent people are being forced to call themselves 'brand evangelists' and everything, but everything, has to be 'incentivised'. In meetings at one of my recent places of employment, in meetings I would often hear certain managers saying "we'll discuss that offline". We were 'offline'. In that we definitely weren't 'online'. So what she meant was "we'll discuss that in secret away from the proles". And I think she thought the proles wouldn't understand her ever so subtle diss.

A 'holistic approach' and a 'bespoke solution' are common when speaking to clients and making them feel like the special snowflakes. People have to 'cascade' information, instead of just, you know, saying it. New employees have to go through the 'onboarding process' and it all has to be done by COP. That's 'Close of Play' because we are having so much fucking fun, aren't we? Yes, we are. And by infantilising words maybe you'll feel like you're not actually tied to a desk as an invisible part of a massive conglomerate which will make your redundant at some point, no matter what its spiel was about career trajectory going forward, and that actually you're in the equivalent of a grown up wacky warehouse where everything is SUCH FUN. After all, leveraging the supplier pipeline and creating synergy is your overall aim in life. It's what you dreamed of as a child, right? You didn't really want to be an astronaut, you wanted to spend your life living the fucking corporate dream, wearing horrible nylon clothes from Next and kissing the arse of psychopaths and assholes. And using words like 'facilitated' and 'bandwidth' when you're not talking about actual bandwidth. RIGHT?

You have to live the corporate values, walk the corporate path and follow the corporate roadmap. I have actually seen corporations pay tens of thousands of pounds to produce 'collateral' or, as it's also known, 'glossy bits of paper' with cartoon maps drawn on to represent the corporate 'journey' to drum it into them that they need to be 'on board' with the 'vision and values' devised by some random people who have been paid a lot of money to create this elitist smoke and mirrors shite.

So if you're ever lucky enough (like I am now, actually) to find yourself in a job that doesn't subscribe to talking like David Brent's retarded brother, and would prefer to use its money to, you know, pay its staff instead of spunking it on expensive bullshit projects to justify its ridiculous elitist internal structure, then embrace it. Embrace it and never let go. And if you do find yourself somewhere where your soul is slowly dying, find ways to bring it down from within.


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