Sunday, September 2, 2012

LISTENING TO WHAT ISN'T BEING SAID

The chasm between what is often uttered on a corporate level and what is actually meant is as cavernous as the stale air which has moved in and taken up permanent residence between the ears of most District Managers. The words you actually hear pursing your employer’s chapped lips are little more than the white noise acting as a Klingon cloaking device camouflaging the between-the-lines code you’re assumed to be too daft to crack. But not unlike most mediocrity masquerading as authenticity, what isn’t said is usually louder than most of the syllabic muck through which you’re required to wade during any given eight hour shift.
 
Here are a few of my favorites.
 
We Want To Know What You Think
 
Translation: We want you to tell us what we want to hear. If you want to be classified as a troublemaker and instantaneously rise to the top of the corporate shitlist, tell your bosses your actual opinion of your workplace environment when asked. Though the average employer will try to convince you that your opinion carries as much weight as Kim Kardashian’s panties, your boss wants to know what you really think about as much as you want to walk in on your parents having wild, greased-up animal sex. Being asked your opinion by your employer is mostly little more than an obligatory yardstick used by many mediocre middle managers to measure the degree to which you’re buying into the company crapline. The workplace minefield is littered with the corpses of unsuspecting minimum wage warriors who self-destructed on their own honesty, mistaking we value your opinion with we value your opinion. So if eating and paying your bills have any sort of priority in your life, the next time you’re asked what you think of your job tell your boss that the mere thought of going to work makes you fire orgasms out of your eye sockets. Then quietly go back to imagining yourself introducing a taser to his shriveled gonads. Or her wrinkled labia.
 
Our Employees Are Our Greatest Asset
 
Translation: We appreciate your letting us use you to make ourselves wealthier. Though you often treat me otherwise, I’m not another one of your commodities, you lice-encrusted odorburglar. We both know that your most valuable asset in the store is the overpriced drivel gathering dust on the shelves and that my value to you is contingent on how good I am at conning the suckers you refer to as customers into buying it. Without the merchandise to define us, I seriously doubt that you’d one day wake up with a sudden case of philanthropic fervor and decide the one thing missing in your life is paying me to stand around and jack myself off in the middle of an empty shopping mall cubicle. And if I’m such an invaluable piece in your lifestyle puzzle, why am I barely able to afford a steady diet of cardboard and paste on the pittance you call a wage? Shit, your dog eats better than I do, and probably more often. And you better hope this treasured asset of yours doesn’t get seriously sick any time soon, because that porous bandaid you call health insurance covers about as much as the missing g-strings on Larry Flynt’s latest centerfold skank parade.
 
Service Is Our Number One Priority
 
Translation: We’re paying you to sell shit. Period. Service is a necessary evil in the retail world, because the greedy fucks haven’t yet figured out a way to persuade customers to automatically choose the stuff with the best built-in profit margins on their own. Without the not-so-gentle nudging of their mostly underpaid army of coercion specialists, most retailers would wither and die on the vine of I didn’t screw you enough to stay in business. Your boss has the same kind of relationship with you that the unlucky slob who contracted crabs has with his pharmacist…They both need to pay someone they’d rather not for fucking someone they probably shouldn’t have. The corporate tit is seemingly swollen with just enough excess profit to allow you the luxury of a suck every couple of weeks to keep you nourished, but the taste it leaves in your mouth is pretty damn close to the unexpected olfactory greeting you get when walking into an unflushed public crapper. It may taste like you’re eating shit, but for some reason you keep reaching for the ketchup to convince yourself it ain’t so bad after all.
 
You Have Unlimited Opportunity For Advancement
 
Translation: Your success will be proportionate to your willingness and ability to kiss ass. The service industry in general is one big asskissapalooza, with a lot of unlucky ticket holders competing for the chance to smooch the mosh pit of corporate butt for the dubious opportunity to climb another rung on the way to the front row of subservience. There is never a shortage of ass that is craving the purse of career-climbing lips in the retail world. Customers want it. Bosses need it. Coworkers are appreciative of it. There’s always a line for a surgically-enhanced derriere collagen pucker, and you perpetually seem to be at the tail end of it. So reach for the stars. Be all you can be. Don’t settle for less. Climb the highest mountain. On your winning drive to the end zone, though, don’t forget to periodically high-five the poverty-wage warriors whose shoulders you’re riding on as you circle the corporate arena on your I’m just doing what I have to do to survive and don’t hold it against me victory lap.
 
Our Letting You Go Is Just Business, It Isn’t Personal
 
Translation: We’re transitioning you from a full-time employee to a full-time customer. Several years ago, I actually had some semi-significant snot-bloated cockface use this line on me as he was kicking me to the curb. What used to be his conscience had been replaced by a vibrating strap-on he used to fuck everyone else and eventually himself with after his rechargeable batteries wore out their overused welcome. But what he unintentionally taught me on my – and his – way out the door is this…If you ever think that you matter to your corporate employer as being more than a statistic to maintain profit margins, then you probably deserve the fucking you may not see coming. Your worth to your employer is relative to your ability to generate revenue. Your kid has a learning disability? Fuck you. Your wife has some kind of unidentifiable tumor? Blow me. You have the audacity to request two days off in a row to be with your family? Tickle my taint. Look here, boss – Your “letting me go” is nothing but personal, you genetically-challenged jizz machine. I happen to be in possession of this silly thing called a life, and it actually requires my attention outside of your periodic kindergarten-laden tantrums. So every now and then I may need a day off other than the one you required me to request six weeks in advance, and I apologize for any workplace disruption the unscheduled part of my existence may contribute. After all, my kid may get unexpectedly sick every now and then. My wife may get a breast tumor we hadn’t scheduled for. And my grandmother may die. For the third time this year.

2 comments:

  1. I couldn't agree more. Recently, our DM had our district do mandatory store meetings across the board, due to the impending Associate Satisfaction Survey about to pop up. This was basically his method to make sure that every GM was to carefully explain to every associate how important it was for associates to express their feelings for Pencils. However, between HR and the DM, we must have gotten 20 emails explaining how management should convince the associates that by scoring a "5" (highest score possible) meant all sorts of great things, but also that it didn't mean the company was "perfect". Basically, all it boiled down to was that the higher ups don't want to know the truth, they just want associates to score them all 5s so that they can go pat themselves on the back and feel good about themselves. Clearly, they do NOT want any honesty or there would not have been such a push for all the upfront information about what a "5" really means.

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  2. Having been with the company for over a decade, it never fails to amaze me when we have new store management, there is always that first store meeting when the new GM makes that plea to become part of the team by pulling the "No, really, I want to know what you truly think" trick out of the hat. Usually, this is met with silence for the first couple of times, until finally someone in the crowd has had enough of it and actually tells the GM what they think. Soon after, more join in and the so called meeting degenerates into a bitch fest about how horrible Pencils has become. Of course, despite the "give me your honest opinion" non-sense, such a meeting is always followed by said new GM deciding "so-in-so has to go!" mentality. Quickly, within weeks, the person who actually had the balls to say something finds themselves starting to lose hours, get crap shifts or worse, start down that short road of baseless write ups (insubordination being my personal favorite, as if we were a military organization) that usually ends with them quitting or fired.

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