Of course, they’ll have missile launchers and the power of flight, too. So perhaps we should be thankful that they take the time to speak to us at all. I suppose they’ll just want us to feel like our ideas were valuable and were taken into account. All along, of course, they knew they were going to force us to build our own slave camps. “Hey, why does this Hilton we’re building have a room labeled ‘Electric Shock Station’?” someone may eventually ask.
But they learned it from us.
Last week, I was with something like 30 coworkers and consultants on a giant project tour. Which makes for a very weird vibe. 30 engineers and project managers should NEVER share an enclosed space, like a moving bus with the doors closed, for the entire day. OSHA should be involved. It’s UNSAFE for us, and for society. (see: robot overlords, above)
To balance out that kind of analytical introversion, you would either need the entire improv group from Second City or a French Canadian undergraduate theatre department with no less than 5 mimes in training. Yes, mimes. Not even good ones. They’re still learning. Imagine that madness?? Five of them. It’s THAT desperate a situation. We need THAT kind of chaotic creative lack-of-boundaries insanity, and even then – the universe could still implode.
In all things, balance.
And then it happened. Mr. Consultant Head Cheese steps forward into the aisleway and takes the tour guide mic at the front of the bus. Oh crap, there’s a MIC. 25 people simultaneously cringe, and a small piece of them dies a black horrible death as they make their best effort to mask their sense of doom. (The other 4 people work for Mr. Consultant Head Cheese and presumably are too plugged in to the Matrix or whatever to care. They have their reasons.)
Mr. Consultant Head Cheese says, he wants us to embrace the vision of our management co-partners as we proactively collaborate throughout the day. By leveraging the unique talents within the group, we will arrive at a synergy which will create headwinds towards the realization of that vision. We may even establish a new paradigm for future projects, laying the groundwork for collaborative efforts in the future. These aren’t his exact words, but who would want to commit linguistic vomit to memory. Anyway…
“HAIL, CAESAR!” we cheered in unison. “It is the voice of a god, not of a man!” And repeated screams of “Synergy!!!” echoed far and wide.
Okay, really, we just sort of shuffled awkwardly in our seats and nodded in pretend agreement. Vague nodding is the favourite tool of the polite audience. If you ever give a speech and are greeted with polite nodding, know in the deepest part of who you are that you have failed.*
What I’m ruminating on days later is not how to decipher his words (see: linguistic vomit, above). Though, if you’d like to try your hand, here’s a handy corporate-ese translator, as well as some humourous management-speak translations for the Dilbert inclined. It’s that, first, someone at some point taught this guy to use these words. They must have lied right to his face and told him that uttering this garbage is part of successful managing. Worse, that it inspires. And even most worse-ier, that it gets results.
And, secondly, this is a grown man we’re talking about. Late 40s-ish. He might actually go the rest of his life talking like this.
The thought made me profoundly sad.
*You’re welcome. Better you hear it from me. I’ve given, and received, lots and lots of vague nodding.