I have been a little tardy of late and, as a result, not written words of wisdom for you, my dear Institute of Mediocre Management members. My poor excuse is that that unfortunately, due to a number of unenforced management errors, my global empire has of late taken a battering. But luckily we have managed to steady the ship and the share price by re-organising, thus maintaining our salaries and bonuses. This was quite simple, we just fired a lot of people. The downside was the paper work, they wouldn’t go without a fuss, thus wasting my management’s time and more seriously mine, so I was not able to update this collection of excellent and enlightening essays . So blame them.
‘The World’s Grumpiest Boss’ dies
It was with great sadness that I read about the recent death of Mike “Do your jobs and keep your mouth shut!” Davies, who was a spiritual mentor of mine.
Mike Davis was a former chauffeur before he became a Houston oil and gas magnate. But he earned an even greater measure of notoriety as the author of blunt and widely circulated office memos that earned him the unofficial title “world’s grumpiest boss.” “There will be no more birthday celebrations, birthday cakes, levity or celebrations of any kind within the office,” the boss wrote on Feb. 8, 1978. “This is a business office. If you have to celebrate, do it after office hours on your own time.”
I had the pleasure of meeting him once and he repeated verbatim the memo he once sent famously to his employees at the Tiger Oil company in the 1970’s
“Do not speak to me when you see me, if I want to speak to you, I will do so. I want to save my throat. I don’t want to ruin it by saying hello to (all of) you.”
I took that to heart and Anglicised that, telling my
associates oiks to “Shut up and know your place” – I’m sure that those I haven’t ‘let go’ yet still think of this with some amusement.
As a boss, Mike lead from the front screaming, hung around the middle yelling, whilst pushing from the back swearing. Had he been in management 20 years later his enlightening, challenging and witty epithets would be adorning the walls of most of our major corporations as ‘Motivational Posters’.
His memos (for those under 40 – a memo is what your grandad used instead of email) included:
ON NOTES THAT WEREN’T TYPED: “Handwriting takes much longer than a typewriter. You’re wasting your time, but more importantly, you’re wasting my time. If you don’t know how to type, you’d better learn.”
ON RUNNING OUT FOR CIGARETTES: “I suggest that you people buy enough cigarettes to keep here for yourselves to smoke because, by God, you will not go and buy them on my time.”
ON TAKING THINGS FROM HIS DESK: “I do not appreciate people coming into my office and helping themselves to my candy, cigars, medicine and other personal items … I don’t mind giving, but I would like the privilege of knowing and giving it myself.”
ON HIPPIE-STYLE LONG HAIR: “Anyone who lets their hair grow below their ears to where I can’t see their ears means they don’t wash. If they don’t wash, they stink. And if they stink, I don’t want the son-of-a-bitch around me.”
ON LANGUAGE: “I swear, but since I am the owner of this company, that is my privilege, and this privilege is not to be interpreted as the same for any employee. That differentiates me from you, and I want to keep it that way. There will be absolutely no swearing, by any employee, male or female, in this office, ever.”
We can all learn from his leadership skills, although nowadays you need to be a little less direct due to the namby-pamby HR centric rules that seem to be prevalent in this neo- socialist society that we live in. To cover your tracks just stick up a motivational poster or two like this.
The final word must come from Mike and of course I’m sure that I.M.M. members could use this wisdom almost verbatim when addressing
colleagues resources about holiday entitlement.