Using Bees To Effect Vengeance

I get to be as self-indulgent as I want without wasting anyone's time. Guilt-free solipsism -- excellent!

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Friday, February 14, 2003
So, as of next week, I'm going to have an office. My first office in five years, and the first one I've earned by dint of my unquenchable passion for middle management excellence. It's a small office with no windows, but it has a slightly dingy skylight, ample shelving, and best of all, will allow me to listen to music while working.

My greatest fear is that the move will be such a potent symbol of my superior status that it will corrode the breezy relationship I've taken pains to establish with my underlings, replacing it with the trepidatious deference that I naturally inspire in those who have yet to ascend to the eyrie that is Account Supervisor. I shall have to descend periodically, to dispense avuncular encouragement, engage in non-work-related banter (preferably relating to last night's TV shows, or perhaps a recent sporting event on the television), make free with the chucks under the chin, and occasionally deliver a firm-but-fair assessment of how they handled a recent work situation. I must say, I know Machiavelli's The Prince is renowned as a management bible, but in my experience, I have found that benevolent dictatorship tends to work better. Mussolini would have caught more flies if he were coated in honey, you know.

Anyway, I shall have to think a while on how best to decorate my office to reinforce the patina of authority that I've so effortlessly cultivated. Perhaps a sign on the door (hand-written, to convey my casualness) politely instructing visitors to knock twice before entering? An inspirational poster -- I saw one recently of a cat clinging onto a branch for dear life which was quite amusing as well as motivational. Maybe I ought to work on a cool hand-gesture that I can use to wave hesitant employees into my office -- I can see them now, peering around the door jamb like little Stan Musials -- while I'm on the phone having a Rather Important Conversation, Actually? So much to do, so much to think about!

Speaking of offices, I can highly recommend The Office, a show now airing on BBC America. It's supposed to be a comedy about an officious middle manager, but I must say I have quite failed to see what is humorous about it. Having said that, it is an excellent source of managerial ideas, and that David Brent character has seduced me with his ready wit, his convincing jocularity with the staff, and his subtle grasp of the machinations of office politics.


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