Thursday, October 29, 2009

Boo! It's your scary PHB.

According to an informal survey, nearly 20% of workers think their workplace is scary.  Of those who are petrified of their workplace, 18% were pansies who were scared of the workload.  Only 8% were afraid of the hours worked and 7% were afraid of their bosses.  That just tells me that workers in general are simply not being worked hard enough or long enough if there is so little fear of the work hours and the bosses.  A good PHB should strive to increase the work hours and intimidate employees to get those percentages up.

Only 6% of the surveyed work fearers were frightened of having to sit through meetings.  That can only mean that they aren't being called into enough meetings.  I make it a point to call frequent meetings and enforce company wide mandatory attendance.  It's the only way I can give instructions to everybody at the same time and keep tabs on everyone.  I also don't know why any worker would fear "sitting" through a meeting.  As the boss, I should be the only one seated at the meeting.  Everyone else should be standing.

The survey also showed that people likened their bosses to various Halloween characters.  I myself imagine that I would be compared to Dracula and The Mummy.  Since my lazy employees think I demand too much from them for working 14 hour days and giving up life outside the company, they think I'm sucking the life out of them.  That's an unfair assessment.  I'm a dark lord, but I don't actually suck my employees dry.  I do leave my minions with something in the tank.  I do need them to continue working the next day.

The Mummy is slow moving and using ancient thought processes.  So what if I'm a dinosaur?  I haven't survived this long without good strategies.  I've found what works for me.  I don't have to listen to crazy newfangled ideas from my employees.  I'm the boss because I know what works.

As the pointy haired boss, I think it's only fair that I can also liken my employees to Halloween characters/monsters:

  • Ghosts - My workers have the amazing habit of having no substance and disappearing constantly.
  • Zombies - I often feel my hordes of workers are just mindless creatures aimlessly wandering the halls and feeding on whatever they find.
  • Quasimodo - All my employees look like hunchbacks as they sit at their desks typing at their computers.
  • The Headless Horseman - I often feel like my employees have no idea what I'm talking about, like they don't have heads.
I'm sure I could think of a few more, but I do need to get back to my boss duties...and also back to elevating my employees' perception me from merely Dracula to El Diablo.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Just Do It

One of my favorite phrases comes from the wise Greek goddess, Nike:
"Just do it!"
I tire of the excuses I hear from my employees about why they can't do certain tasks.  Workers are hired to get things done, not tell me that they can't be done.  I'm the boss.  I come up with the ideas.  I hire people to make those ideas happen.  I don't care how it gets done.  Those details are up to the employee to figure out.  As far as I'm concerned, they need to just make it happen.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

The joys of the young and unemployed

The latest survey results show that the unemployment rate amongst young American has shot to an all time high.  In the 16-to-24 year old age group, unemployment is estimated to be 47%.  While it's not good news for the nation's youth, it's great news for the PHB's and companies out there.

There's a glut of workers on the market all competing for a limited pool of jobs.  That creates hordes of young workers--many college graduates--who are desperate for work.  Now is a good time to hire.  The market has a glut of naive young workers with no distracting family life, acclimation to pulling all nighters, and no choice but to accept whatever job is available.  You can now easily hire labor to work your 60-80 hour weeks and pay them next to nothing.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Guide to telecommuting

Telecommuting is becoming a more common practice these days. Technology has advanced to the point where we can have virtual companies with no tangible assets and no real office. My own company is just a room in my house and a bunch of outsourced programmers. It takes so little to have a company.

But how can a PHB keep tabs on his employees if they're not in his office? It can be a challenge, I admit, but it is doable. You need to create a virtual office. Just like the real office, you need to be able to communicate and issue orders to your workers whenever you want. You'll also need to be able to monitor your employees at all times to make sure they're not slacking. Finally, it's ideal if you can exert some sort of remote control over them. How do you create a virtual office that meets these criteria?

First off, you require that everyone keep a constantly open Skype connection. This connection will need to constantly stream audio and video so you can watch your workers and talk to them. With the constantly open connection, you can virtually drop in anytime you want and give them new orders. The big brother aspect of it makes sure they won't ever be goofing off. If they try to do something sneaky like close the Skype connection, Skype will sound a disconnect alert for you.

Most PHBs would be satisfied with the Skype monitoring setup, but a savvy PHB will go one step further. With remote desktop programs like VNC, the workers can be using the same desktop as the PHB. This allows the PHB can see exactly what his employees are doing. Even better, it allows the PHB to take over the keyboard and mouse controls. It's the ultimate management tool for a team.

The challenges of a telecommuting virtual company are many, but with some planning and technical know how, the smart PHB can make it work.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Curse and Swear All You Want

Both of them apparently do you good.  Swearing helps us deal with pain.  Unload some four letter bombs, and all of a sudden things don't hurt so much and you feel better.  There's a similar effect for yelling.  The conventional wisdom has been that yelling raises your blood pressure and stress, but in reality the opposite is true.  It's good for your health to let the lungs and vocal cords rip out the decibels.  Yelling makes you feel better.

This is good news indeed.  When I get frustrated with dealing with my lazy and unproductive employees, I really feel like screaming at them and asking why they're so $#%#* incompetent.  I used to try to hold back, but holding it in is unhealthy.  I feel so much more relief if I just yell and tear into them.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Contributions of the Pointy Hair Boss

Pointy Haired bosses get an unfairly bad rap. Without PHBs, things just wouldn't run as smoothly. PHBs bring important contributions to the table. For example,

  1. Making employees arrive at work early and leave late helps the employees avoid the worst of the rush hour traffic. They arrive less frazzled and with more energy so they can get more done.
  2. Having employees work through lunch and dinner helps with the nation's growing obesity problem. With no time to eat meals, the workers are consuming fewer calories, which makes it easier for them to stay trim. Combine this with the long work hours where the employees are burning more calories, and there's a double benefit. It's a win-win situation all around.
  3. What is perceived as "micromanagement" is actually the PHB helping educate his employees. The boss is higher up for a reason: he's smarter and better than everyone else. Giving instructions on every little task is his way of imparting knowledge.
  4. Keeping employees at work virtually round the clock helps the employees save money. If they just stay at work, they don't have to waste money on gas for commuting. The more time they spend in the office, the less money they spend on utilities at home.
  5. The negative criticisms are tough love from the boss. Positive reinforcement isn't always a good thing. The criticisms toughen up the workers and bring them up the right way.
  6. Assigning a multitude of seemingly pointless and unrelated tasks is the boss's way of improving worker productivity. When workers are overwhelmed with things to do, they learn to focus and become more productive by multi-tasking.
These are only a few examples of the many important contributions from PHBs. Clearly, the PHB is an important part of every company.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Poor people are fat

The idea that poor people are skinny because they don't have enough to eat is complete myth.  The poorest states in the country are also the ones with the most obesity problems.  There's a strong correlation between debt and obesity.  If you borrow a lot of money that you probably shouldn't have, then chances are a lot higher that you're lazy bastard who's severely overweight.

The solution to controlling weight is to get off your fat ass and start working.  When you're working all the time, you don't have time to eat and make yourself fatter.  Getting that paycheck slowly pays down the debt and takes you out of the vicious debt-obesity cycle.

Friday, October 9, 2009


"Socialist governments traditionally do make a financial mess. They always run out of other people's money." -Margaret Thatcher

This country appears to be heading towards a more socialist system, which is a trend that disturbs me greatly. Socialists like to "re-distribute" wealth which has been hard earned to lazy leechers who have less money. This just breeds resentment by the people who have worked hard and de-motivates them. In the end, you get a system where no one is motivated to work and there's no productivity.

"God helps those who help themselves." -Benjamin Franklin

What we should be doing is rewarding the go-getters and putting them in charge. They have more money because they make more money from their endeavors instead of complaining and trying to get a free ride. Weed out the unproductive, or at least let the people who have risen through the ranks crack the whip on them. This is how we should be running the country. Those who are suffering are in their positions from their own fault. Giving them free handouts doesn't do anyone a favor.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Falling behind in worker hours

Did you know the average U.S. worker only worked 1792 hours in 2008?  That's less than 40 hours a week over the course of year.  Even accounting for an absurdly generous 2 week vacation, that's still less than 40 hours a week.  Several countries still rank ahead of the U.S. in total annual hours worked.  Notably, Mexico, Italy, Iceland, Korea, Hungary, Greece, and the Czech Republic topped the U.S.

Does anyone else find this totally unacceptable?  Where is that American Protestant work ethic?  Apparently, my suspicions have been confirmed that American employees have started taking it easy.  It's up to us PHB's to crack the whip more and get those numbers back up.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Lessons from the Ig Nobels

The 2009 Ig Nobel winners have been announced. While science isn't usually my realm of expertise, I still find the research results of the Ig Nobel Laureates to be valuable. This year's winning research contains several significant PHB-relevant knowledge:

VETERINARY MEDICINE PRIZE: Dairy cows called by names give more milk than cows that are nameless. What's true of livestock is also true of employees. Cows give more milk when you refer to them by name, just as employees get more work done when called by name. I make it a point to use a person's name when giving instructions or critical feedback. "Bob, finish up the TPS report pronto!", "Brenda, why can't you do something as simple as take dictation?", or "Bill, you're going to have to stay late tonight to implement this new program feature we need." When you call out employees by name, they know you're paying personal attention to them and will get more done.

PHYSICS PRIZE: Pregnant women don't tip over due to spine anatomical adaptations. It turns out humans have evolved a particular lumbar spine curvature to account for the shift in center of mass of pregnant women. That's good to know. I was always annoyed at the coddling treatment pregnant women get. They're adapted to standing up and perfectly capable of continuing to work on their feet. Now, I've got evidence to shut people up when I suggest that women not take a load off and continue to stand and work like the rest of the productive workforce.

BIOLOGY PRIZE: Kitchen refuse can be reduced more than 90% in mass by using bacteria extracted from the feces of giant pandas
. I personally know all about crappy research, but this example of crap research really takes the cake. Sometimes you strike gold in a stinking pile of poo. I can totally relate to the researchers of this project. I have to sift through mountains of crap work from my employees. Despite the immense amount of dung, I do usually find something usable. Even the stinking pile of software my company releases has a use somewhere. If there wasn't value even in crap, I couldn't continue running my company.

Joseph M. Scandura, incompetent moron, idiot, pompous, stupid, failure, asshole, arrogant, bullshit, micromanager of the year, technologically clueless, ignorant, condescending, senile, dementia