When I got my first jobs in corporate America, I was pretty much in awe of the Men Who Run Things. Their shiny suits and shiny cars, their serious tones, their incredible air of importance and superiority. They had advanced degrees, even. If I got really, really lucky, I might get a nod from one of them, get called on in a meeting by one of them, maybe even fuck one of them, if I was really, really lucky.
Then, I began to see what really went on inside those styled and blown-dry heads, behind those mahogany doors, inside the hallowed halls of industry. And it definitely wasn't good sex. These Harvard-educated heavyweights were making a ton of terrible decisions. Left and right. These guys ranged from the wildly erratic entrepreneurial A-types to the handsome but clueless ass-kisser-of-the-president types, and their decisions reflected their personalities.
As they slashed and burned through days, months and quarterly results, their minions tried desperately to keep up with, or to wipe up after, their huge messes. That old myth about the secretaries being the ones that really could run the company? Spot on.
For a dose of sanity, after practicing eye rolls with the secretaries, I usually made my way to the engineering department. Nerds are so... normal. They're brainy, but not very shiny. If they get laid, they're amazed, and then grateful. They stick by their women and have cute little kids. They drive practical cars. They tell intellectual jokes. On their days off, they go spelunking. They are so happy to show their pictures to you on Monday morning.
I am of the opinion that nerds, and women, should run the world.
So now, as I read the news about AIG and Wall Street crashing, I have to laugh, actually. Nothing at all surprises me. There they go again, those well-healed, over-paid Captains of Industry. Making decisions based on the following (and this is as true today as it was for me 20 years ago):
- Focus on short term gain.
- Focus on this quarter, not on this year, or the next five years.
- Copy the competitors, instead of innovate.
- Rules that are made to control the commoners don't have to be obeyed by the elite.
- You can do anything you want, if you have expensive lawyers.
- Beating the system is an art.
- Customers are annoying. Can't they just buy and then go away?
- Employees are expendable. Pay them the least you can get away with, and work them to death.
And it's not just the men, either. There are a few women who are acting just like men - like that goofball Michelle Bachman saying Obama is going to abandon the US dollar as America's currency. Jesus Christ! What planet is she from? It only took all the EU countries 20 plus years to switch from their local currency to the Euro. If Obama can accomplish that during his 4-year term, he really is the messiah. As if, Michelle darling, the dollar wasn't fucking destroyed by BushCo long before Obama was elected. Ask me. I know. I live in France.
Don't be fooled by the titles (CEO, Senator, Congressman, etc.). Don't be fooled by the shiny suits. Or even the gray hair. Industry, and our government, is largely being run by hyperego'd run-amoks and slimy little ass-kissers.
If you're looking up to the Captains of Industry, patiently waiting for their polished-shoed solutions to today's critical financial and world crises, don't be so shocked when you find out that this island is actually run by Gilligan.