Saturday, November 21, 2009

Adventures in bureaucracy, 2009

The internal blog here at Large Nameless Agency did a question of the week recently asking people to provide their favorite Dilbert or Dilbert-like quotes or experiences. There were some doozies. Managers who said things like "We're LNA. We don't do science." (Definitely a head/desk moment for anyone hearing that one.)  Managers whose solution to complaints about excessive paperwork was to generate still more forms and procedures.  Co-workers who responded to e-mail requests with answers like "send me your e- mail address and I'll get that information to you."  

My own favorite "Dilbert" moments didn't happen here at LNA.  They all happened back when I was working as a part-time clerk in the office for the married students' housing at Michigan's toughest university.  Our manager, the equivalent of the pointy-haired boss in Dilbert, could have stepped right out of the strip.  He was also one of the cheapest people on the planet.

We all took turns bringing goodies for the break room (cookies, brownies, donuts).  We always knew when the boss had brought in the snacks:  the packages had the prices crossed out with black magic marker because he'd gotten them at the Metz bakery outlet store.  He always "forgot" Secretary's Day -- he'd bring in flowers, but a day late -- that way he could get the sale roses.

I could go on -- the man's basic cheapness and desire to shortchange his subordinates went well beyond stale donuts -- but suffice to say that's one job I've never regretted walking away from. (Walking?! Not exactly. I ran.)


  1. I used to love Dilbert until I found out that the guy who wrote it was cool with mass layoffs to make a company's bottom line look good.

  2. I heard the same thing about Scott Adams being an ass on many issues. But I figure quite a few creative people have led some fairly repulsive personal lives or held some strange beliefs -- it doesn't generally stop us from appreciating what they've created.


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