With Me, Middle Management Is Poised for a Shakeup

I’ve recently had the privilege of being given a new role at work—one with additional leadership responsibilities and managerial duties, but no raise or promotion. Fortunately, my new position does come with an impressive title: “sucker.”

Regardless, I’m going to shake up the middle management tier like you wouldn’t believe.

First, I am going to revolutionize how annual progress reports are done. No longer will they be dull, dry affairs where our managers skirt around the necessary but difficult issues hampering our employees’ performance (“we really appreciate your diversity of aromas”) and write rose-tinted paeans to acceptable work (“Gertrude accomplishes her tasks with incredible and extraordinary adequacy”). No longer will they be perfunctory meetings avoided at the last minute and sometimes entirely prevented by a sudden crush of end-of-fiscal-year spreadsheet tinkering (“I’m confused: is this a number?”). No: my plan is to have regular, ongoing check-ins at least once every half-day  where supervisors and employees can set targets, review previous goals, schedule the next meeting three to four hours later, discuss the agenda for that meeting in minute detail, compare said draft agenda with the current and previous agendas they operated under, table the agenda issue, put the agenda issue back on the table as an agenda item for next time, and then click on a bunch of buttons in a vain hope to make the corporate software systems work. Under my system, our staff development process will finally be aligned with our growth strategy, which is to hear me talk more often.

Second, I am committed to improving communications, both with external clients and internal voiceovers. One of the challenges facing the modern, diversified, matrixed, leader-infused, innovation-carefully-planned organization is ensuring that my efforts are noticed. Accordingly, I have developed a striking email template for my late-night memos to staff. Using a variety of font sizes, hard-to-read colors, and amusing Snapchat screenshots, I want every member of my team to be intimately connected to my superficial thoughts. I also want to give them opportunities to communicate with me outside our twice-daily two-hour performance reviews, which is why I’ll be asking my assistant, Gertrude, to write these memos.

Third, and finally—and I really should have bulleted these things; geez, what was I thinking? I can’t count this high—I plan to embark on a comprehensive overhaul of our operational procedures. I know there are ways we can be more efficient, and we will find those ways, or invent them. We will invest in cutting-edge robotics to enhance our ability to send spam; we will outsource AND insource, simultaneously, in a kind of rapidly rotating pyramid scheme; and we will upgrade our software systems to greatly improve our spyware. These and other disturbing ideas—gleaned from the best management books available in airport outlets, which I will visit frequently during my trips to Arizona golf courses—will position us to compete in an increasingly global competitive landscape of hard-nosed competitors. It will also make our lives simpler, or at least the lives of those who will lose their jobs. For now, just know that I plan no layoffs today.

I’m not sure my co-workers are ready for such bold, underlined ideas. But when opportunity comes, you can’t stand idly by, wondering what this formless, ghostly shimmering is—that’s opportunity, you moron! Open the door, or it will kill you! By moving quickly and decisively, we will improve my self-image, and I’ll learn more about numbers in spreadsheets.

So watch out, world: the sky’s the limit for me, especially once I find out what my company does.

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