Do you have a joke job?

kk (paint)


I think “manager” is a Joke Job.

I feel sorry for the people who are managers, they’ve been duped into believing that working hard and doing things right will be rewarded with a bigger and better job.
In fact they’ve been duped into a Joke Job. This is not another post where I have a go at managers, “managers” are just as much a feature of command and control thinking as other Joke Jobs like “policy officer” or “internal audit”. It’s not their fault. Here are…

4 reasons why “manager” is a joke job

  1.  You have little control over the work
    The phrase “command and control” is a lie.
    Most organisations are command and control, but in theory only. Changes are made that have no actual impact on reality outside of a report. You say things, other things get done. Managers cannot control work standing outside it, based on flawed second hand knowledge, but that’s their job.
  2. You perform meaningless tasks and have to pretend they’re real
    IPRs, performance reviews, appraisals, call them what you want, most of us have to deal with only one of them, our own. Managers have to deal with handfuls of the things. Typing up lie after lie, “If I’m doing all this work, either it’s worthwhile or I’M stupid.“, finding themselves in “a situation in which a person’s behavior is inconsistent with their beliefs, that person tends to justify the behavior and deny any negative feedback associated with the behavior.”[link] And so the stupid rolls on…
  3. People regularly lie to you
    The centre of purpose in a command and control organisation is “whoever tells me what to do“, and if youre a manager, thats you. Due to Point 1 [above], you are making all sorts of changes to the work that odds on won’t be making things better, but people will be telling that it is. Why so? Because you are purpose. Hard to achieve, but rather easier to lie to, especially when somebodies job depends upon it. Two people’s, theirs AND yours.
    Consensual lying flourishes, the best type too, the type that doesn’t know it is a lie after a short while. Whenever you say something people are expected to not only hear the words you say but also the thoughts you think. This helps with communication no end as people can only guess what’s in your head and then lie to you based on their assumptions of what you would like to hear. Everyone’s a winner.
  4. You are expected to know everything even when completely ignorant
    Poor you. Making decisions in ignorance, people lying to you about the results, AND STILL you’re supposed to know what’s going on. Here’s some help though…your staff will still act as if you know everything. “What should we do?”, “I dunno, let’s ask the boss”. Note the use of the word “should” , not what could we do, but should do. What are the chances that the person who knows what to do is a person who’s lied to, doesn’t know what’s going on and will assume you can read their mind?
    Slim at best?

Any job that could only make sense in a command and control organization is based on a flawed theory about how work works, and therefore is not a real job. “Manager” is a joke job.



This entry was posted in command and control, leadership, systems thinking and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Do you have a joke job?

  1. Pingback: 9 more ways to tell you have a Joke Job | thinkpurpose

  2. Pingback: 9 – Obligatory empiricism, oblivious narcissism and consensual lying. Have they become three hallmarks of local government? | Local Government Utopia

  3. Pingback: 170 – The Utopia of Rules – On Technology, Stupidity, and the Secret Joys of Bureaucracy by David Graber. | Local Government Utopia

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