Monday, 7 September 2009

The return of business as usual Pt. 17

Forget the mega-2 yr-guarantied bonuses erupting across high finance like a bad dose of dickfuld (they never went away), you really know we're back in business now that Lucy Kellaway has finally returned from her spiffy hols to moan about management-speak.

With her blue-stocking, finishing school teacher persona Lucy Kellaway is "the FT's management columnist. For the last ten years her weekly Monday column has poked fun at management fads and jargon and celebrated the ups and downs of office life". So there you are then. How simply super!

The downs of office life certainly strike me as a reasonably appropriate topic at the moment. Throughout Britain managers and employees are agreeing pay cuts, short-term working, redudancies, in facts all sorts of stuff that signals how fundamentally different the employment relationship and culture of work is today compared with say the 1970s and 1980s.

Best not. because while Lucy had "expected the recession to kill off the global epidemic of Waffle flu", it unfortunately hasn't. Consequently she chose to tell us about yet another bad author - "Hewlett's book is riddled with signs of infection. She talks of ramping up touch points, by which she means talk to each other more. Even more worryingly, she writes "talent is a gift that keeps on giving", by which she means nothing at all". How awful. Stuff the hundreds of thousands of jobs that have been lost, what really matters in FT-management-world is bullshit bingo's immunity to the economic downturn.

This would be an interesting point if it wasn't so fucking obvious; because all the people who caused the credit crunch are still in place - give or take the odd early-retired exception - so are pre-crunch ways of thinking. So to ridicule CEOs, management consultants and the ghastly people who write management books for talking shite is the equivalent of criticising dogs for barking.

For me the more interesting notion is actually presenting such dreck as meaningful commentary. To my mind its the equivalent of middle class teenage angst - critical, but of nothing especially substantive, articulate, but with nothing to say and heartfelt, but with the heart located a couple of feet down and to the rear of its usual location. Above all, just like all rebellious teenagers, it's predicated on the assumption that mater and pater/the great and the good, will be along to put everything back to normal in case things actually do get a tad sticky.

I should fess up at this point - give or take the odd note fawning over individual CEOs, I used to enjoy Mizz Kellaway's articles. Now though, rather than crimes against the English language, the management-speak bollocks she ridicules strikes me as evidence of and a contributor to the hubris that caused the credit crunch i.e. as a symptom of a larger problem. For me to not identify it as such is irrdeemably conservative. It also, to my mind, renders those incapable of making such a connection pointless arses.

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