17 years I worked in Credit Card banking, like Fossey study her gorillas, I soon became a expert on Corporate Tools. For over a year I have stored that knowledge away not knowing if I should share or what its divulgence would do to the fragile ecosphere, but now gentle reader….the curtain rises….the lights come up… read and learn.
The First art of the tool is what I like to call “The Exact-lamation mark”. Its use isn’t as much a science as much as a Art… Lets put it in context shall we…
Scene: Meeting room, a person who that is paid more then you is talking ( for the Exact-lamation’s use is totally lost on lower cog’s)
Paid more person : And that’s why we should staple paper flowers to squirrels
Its usually best that you begin nodding as the person gets part way through what he is saying (doesn’t matter if you listen or not…just nod) and let out some “Umm hmmm”s of agreement. A true artist will repeat back a key phrase such as “Flowers to Squirrels…exactly” to give it a subtle nuance, as if saying “We are sharing the same brain my brother….promote me” . Finger pointing is also a variation, with the most energetic coming at the same time the speaker puts the period on the end of his statement (BOOM) “Exactly”.
A Tools guide to meetings….If 51% or higher of the attendees are not of the same pay grade or higher then you…do not attend, even if it is your own staff meeting or a meeting you have scheduled.
Which brings us to PDA/Blackberry/Iphone usage…If you are in a meeting and someone dares to draw a electronic device, you must retaliate in kind…and… you must make it seem as if the world itself hinges on your texting a answer. Let out breaths of disgust, click your tongue and shake your head…you must never be seen to have less to do on your device then another tool… it is a sign of weakness.
Also…Devices are the perfect shield for you, they can get you out of a conversation with a lesser paid cog “Hold on I have to answer this..” and they can take any ambiguity about the sincerity of a compliment and dash it to the ground…. Nothing says “you aren’t worth my time” to a cog like a thank you muttered over the screen of a PDA as your fingers text the latest joke to a colleague.
Conference calls… a tool will fill their outlook calendar ( BTW always except invitations in outlook…even if you have no intention on attending, they help to clog up your calendar and make you seem at least 3 times as important) with conference calls, to be on two at the same time is a High art of a tool. Don’t worry, you aren’t really listening but nothing says your important like having a conference call on speaker phone while you check your fantasy football stats. NOTE: The above rule about meetings apply. Just in case some one asks you a question…. And they will have to ask it several times because you aren’t paying attention…. Please practice these phrases “Sorry I had you on mute… I was Saying” or for a question demanding specific information “I’m sorry I’ll need more information before I answer that” or “let me crunch some numbers and I’ll get back to ya”. Another phrase you may want to memorize is “I don’t have the Resource Availability” or the off shoot “My resources are stretched pretty thin”… now no one on the call will realize that the last time you ever even thought of Resource Availability let alone your usage against actual was back in January when you vomited some figures at a cog you had assigned to do your forecasting for the year ( A task you were supposed to do….good job) but it sounds great on conference call where they can’t see the cogs beneath you standing around 5417’s desk talking about last nights raid on the Scarlet Monastery for hours on end.
To cement yourself as a True tool you must be the master of the walk about, you can only be at your desk for conference calls, the rest of the time you need to be walking around, go down to the coffee shop and spread your toolish disinformation. Say things like “Im sneaking away from 4 meetings to grab a coffee…I haven’t had lunch in days…you know how it is” or pull out your device, glare at it and say something like “They always no how to find me” and chuckle. Do walk bys of your bosses desk to ask him question that he probably already had a tool answer you about in a email…make them short meaningless questions and be sure to interrupt anything that he happens to be doing….you are that important. While at your bosses desk, segue any dead air into a meaningless conversation about his last vacation or his son’s admittance to Ivy league tool factory. The more of his time you monopolies, the more important you are.
On of the important things you must remember… your body armor against all blame… will be the tools denial. When push comes to shove you never knew about it…. Even if they have you on the attendance sheet for that meeting and the single topic was X…. you never even heard of it, further more you are outraged at the situation. If they attempt to pin you to the wall or worse yet, succeed in pinning you to the wall…listen carefully… without admitting guilt, point out that you had 25 meetings scheduled for that time and were probably stretching yourself to thin… that’s right, turn the whole thing into a gamble for more resources!
One last thing… Remember to tell the higher paid people exactly what THEY want to hear. That can change from one to the next…it doesn’t matter, your rubber baby..Nothing sticks.