Friday, July 07, 2006

Low man

I used to think that the desireable location in any organizational structure was on top. I figured that if you were on top, you made the rules and everyone below you pretty much did what you said and you could just comfortably sail through life.

I was very young and naive.

Look at nature. Flowers grow at the top of the plant, are cut and put in a vase to die. The rest of the plant lives on. Trees are topped but the trunk keeps growing. The lead goose flying south for the winter is the one hunters usually target. And it's the first prairie dog to stick his head out of the hole that gets it shot off.

In the military, officers are primary targets (to their own troops as well). In most cases, it is the CEO of a company who takes the blame for scandal of his or her subordinates and resigns in disgrace. A successful actor or actress soon finds themselves the target of the paparazzi and see their popularity spiral down the toilet. Bottomline is that anyone rising to the top only seems to enjoy the view for a few moments before they are looking at the shoe in their face from the next person climbing up to take their place.

I am comfortable in my mediority. I am one of the repulsive middle managers of life that THE Michael wrote about a few weeks ago. I am sustained in my life and career by the mild distain of my subordinates and the smug attitude of my "superiors" who are positive that I am no threat to them. Because I am comfortable being stuck in the middle. Everyone else either rises or falls. I simply move forward.


Alex Pendragon said...

To find comfort in one's niche in life is an attribute which more Americans could learn to enjoy. Many are commuting obscene distances to work because they can't afford housing any where near their places of employment. Is a life spent on the road worth the half hour you get to spend with your family before you have to get to bed to rise early and hop back in the car which is going to suck your wallet dry for the gas? Perhaps you think you'll be rewarded by becoming a CEO yourself one day, so that you can buy an obscenly expensive home near your company and thus force those below you to commute for hours to work for you. And thus the vicious cycle continues.....

Time said...

THE Michael,
Fortunately I work for a public transit agency and take the train to work. It takes only 25 minutes and it drops me right next door to the building I work in.

Naughti Biscotti said...

This photo is first class Tim. You blended this one so well... I am stunned.

All of a sudden I feel like I'm kissing up to the boss; the slightly threatened and insignificant subordinate that I am. :-)

I like the middle man. He protects us from THE MAN in charge.

Time said...

Thanks Cherish, Glad you like the image. It's funny, but I usual start with an image and then come up with the idea for a post. This one just reminded me of a company org chart.

Shandi, I thought you just had your performance evaluation :) And you know, I'm not sure who "the man" is. No matter how high you rise in an organization, there seems to be someone above you. I think it all goes back to that man behind the curtain thing.

Hayden said...

regarding that 'man behind the curtain thing' - once was in a division (1000 people) of a company that the big company (100,000 people) decided to spin off. Top managers all excited for a year, running around the country doing presentations to investment groups in prep for going public. Then the excitement gave way to another level of more desperate running around as they realized that suddenly, instead of having one boss, every investment broker out there owned a piece of them. So much for having CEO and directors titles.

(ironic end: the big company -of course- kept most of the voting stock. abt 4 years later it simply bought the company private again, effectively demoting the former directors and CEO all over again.)

R. said...

So, what happens if you're CEO, president, boss and sole employee? Do you cease to exist because of a quantum waveform collapse?

Time said...

R. Unless the owner of the sole proprietorship is inflicted with multiple personality disorder, the only conflict is when the business owner gets a bit too carried away with his or her title on business cards.