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“Don’t be Such a Tool:” A Guide to Middle Management

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The modern workforce is all about job security. In order to protect your lifestyle and professional income, the average, mid-level manager must constantly be guarding his or her job security. The importance of this is so high in fact, that the realm of middle management has become as much about vigorously protecting one’s livelihood as it is about doing what’s right, what’s dignified, or what’s in the best interest of the company. When it comes to professional success, the lion’s share of effort must be channeled into securing one’s own future lest you be victimized by ambitious underlings or the company profit and loss statement. For the average mid-level manager, there is little to gain by putting in an honest day’s work for an honest day’s pay…or so the expression goes. Protect your livelihood and cover your ass at every corner with a few foolproof tips and management style methods.

For those of us managing the operation in a manufacturing or industrial setting, the average hourly wage worker is either an immigrant, elderly, or a college aged student looking to supplement their education. In most cases they are grossly underpaid and often work in less-than-desirable physical conditions. All of these classes of people have a unique ability to be molded into a specialized proletariat designed to protect your own personal job security. In most cases, they are uneducated and live their lives paycheck to paycheck, just as most people do. However, you can motivate your people no matter what age or ethnic background and inspire productivity with a simple opportunistic phrases like, “don’t be such a tool” and “my god you’re useless.” In expertly leading your team, you are securing their loyalty and thereby protecting your own interests. If the tables turn, make sure you have pictures of them slacking off or breaking a company rule to use against them in exchange for their silence. Blackmail is still one of the most powerful devices for corporate compliance.

When it comes to appeasing your superiors, it is important to remember that virtually everything a mid-level manager does can be pencil whipped. The key is to be able to pencil whip various reports faster and more efficiently than your coworkers. It is crucial that you not reveal your expert pencil-whipping methods and even go as far as to let the more honest and foolish simpletons keep doing all your work the hard way while you sit back and arbitrarily enter fabricated data into a spreadsheet that quite honestly, no one is going to read anyway. Stay a step ahead of your peers and get a jump on your days pencil whipping from the comfort of your own toilet before even leaving the house in the morning. Everything can be done remotely these days, including falsifying company records during a bowel movement. What a time to be alive.

The longer you are employed in a like position, the easier the day-to-day work load becomes. Once you have mastered the art of condescendingly belittling your employees and contriving menial daily reports, it is critical to your success as a mid-level manager to find a new challenge to occupy your mind. A fun and effective way to do this is to create games around the workplace and test the operational acumen of your fellow managers. Create nuanced differences in their daily routines to test their endurance such as zip tying someone’s desk chair to a nearby file cabinet, removing their wireless router when they are away, or filling their desk drawers with random company materials to create the illusion that they are potentially stealing from the company. Clandestine forays into the work spaces of your colleagues can also yield rewards such as a nice pen with a clicky top or an expired can of Perrier which could be useful to slide into their muffler on the way to the car as you sneak out of work early for the 97th consecutive day.

Corporate culture is based on the principles of avarice and greed and by selfishly employing these tactics, you can quickly become a model mid-level manager within the corporate power structure. After slowly and quietly annihilating everyone around you, you’ll be poised to take that next step into upper management and reap the rewards at a higher volume using similar strategies. As you climb the corporate ladder, take solace in the fact that the sheer strength of your subterfuge propelled you to these heights. Promulgate this culture of dishonesty and egocentric gluttony by taking on a protégé and guiding him or her through the trials and tribulations you experienced as a novice deviant. As your apprentice grows into their role, be sure to routinely crush their spirit and throw them under the bus at every opportunity. After all, job security still reigns supreme.

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