Wednesday, January 13, 2010

A Real Life Milton Waddams: Bearing Witness

Milton Waddams-ed.  v.  to have one’s job responsibilities and job slowly and systematically taken away from you without one noticing or acting.  

We’ve all seen Office Space.  This is a true story of a very real Milton Waddams-ing, but without the happy ending.  Hold on to your staplers, kids.

At one of my former places of employment, we had a Director.  We’ll call her Melinda. She was in charge of different events that were put on throughout the year, namely two large events, one really big and one suburban.

The organization at the company was such that there was the Big Boss, then a few directors, then associate directors and so forth and so on.  She was, given that structure, considerably senior in the organization.

As I mentioned, her main duties were two large events throughout the year.  Nice woman, Melinda.  Sweet and dumb as a stump, but a bit of a worker and knew how to get people to do a lot for her.  Other than one event failure in three years, she generally met and exceeded the requirements of her job.  She wasn’t, as was the office culture, embroiled in any of the nonsense and avoided gossip.  She was generally innocuous.  Until it was time to throw someone under the bus.

The Big Boss, who will surely be the topic of columns in the future, had made a habit of throwing people under the bus to avoid too many glances in her direction.  She couldn’t lead a fish to water, but she was in charge of our company and whenever it became evident that under her leadership we were failing MISERABLY, she predictably found a charge to go after, build a case against and fire. 

NBC Drama: The Blame Game

Seen on Twitter earlier: 

zuck (v): To rise to power despite utter ineptitude at every turn; to fail upwards

First off, let me state that I "stand with Coco" on this issue.  I think NBC mucked everything up by even thinking of putting Leno on at 10.  It reeked of frugality and lacked all creativity and vision; why pay for a quality new television show (that you could potentially syndicate into the ether a la Law & Orders 1, 2, 3, & 4) when you can throw up an incredibly cheap talk show?  (Sidebar: Jeff Goldblum needs to be banned from acting under the threat of death.)  Most important?  Conan's funnier.  The End. 

That being said, I think it warrants mentioning that Leno?  Was never into any of this.  He was perfectly content helming The Tonight Show, regularly beating Letterman in the ratings. Unfortunately for him, NBC didn't want to lose Conan.  But the fact remains that Leno was never behind any of the moves that were made, and, in light of all that, the requisite anger and frustration should be directed where it belongs.  To the top.  Namely, NBC Universal Chief Executive, Jeff Zucker.

I understand he was promoted based on his work on The Today Show.  The Today Show that now runs from 6am to 3pm.  Daily.  The same show that features an hour with Hoda Kotb and Kathie Lee Gifford, otherwise known as the most painful hour on television (not counting Fox News).  And what exactly did Jeff bring to The Today Show?  Concerts?  My god, that's revolutionary!  Musicians?  Playing music?  On MORNING TELEVISION.  Zucker transformed The Today Show from a topical morning show to one where Balloon Guy gets six feature segments an hour.  Now, while there, he certainly brought the ratings, so we'll give him that.  But since taking over NBC, other than expanding many of their cable Networks, what has Zucker done other than drive NBC to last in the ratings?  The Leno/Conan Debacle of 2010 seems to me just a final straw in a long list of failures that will likely ensure he reamain at the top for ten to fifteen more years.  Clearly.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

A Failing Upwards Example

Failing Upward, SEC and Madoff Catchup

Here's a great overview of where some of the SEC'ers responsible for oversight of the Madoff funds have moved on to.  No surprise, they appear to have Failed Upwards. 

Shocking.  I know.

Monday, December 14, 2009

A Failing Upwards Example

I recognize that this article is a few weeks old, but the content relates directly to Failing Upwards. Note that many of those responsible for the financial crisis have largely moved on (to bigger and better positions, I'm sure) and others are left to clean up the mess. I would feel badly about that if it wasn't likely that they were similarly douchetastic and would have forged the same path if given the opportunity.

Thursday, December 10, 2009


"I do not think that word means what you think it means." - The Princess Bride


It is not a word.

I don't care how many times you use it, be it written or spoken, it is not a word. I looked. Again. It is considered slang - at best. The verb you are looking for when you foolishly say that you need to "conversate" with someone? Is simple.


Let this be a lesson that whenever you attempt to make yourself seem smarter or more literate by making a word longer, the exact opposite occurs.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009


"I do not think that word means what you think it means." - The Princess Bride

 Oh, Tom.....

I told you Tom would quickly become a site favorite. Here's his most recent faux pas.

"The greatest challenge in 2009 for the program was a major lack of funding and consecrated effort from those responsible for revenue."

Consecrated? I mean, clearly he meant concentrated but he wanted to go further, aim higher, look.....smarter. Until he didn't.

How does one consecrate an effort anyway?

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

And in the beginning

Since I have decided to start a blog dedicated to showcasing stupid people getting ahead, I would like to clarify a few things.

I am no rocket scientist.  I have not, nor ever will, find the cure for cancer.  I have not solved math equations that have gone unsolved for decades before me.  I will not draft the perfect legal brief freeing groups of oppressed people from tyranny.  .  No.  I’m yet another cog in the wheel who’s spent more than enough time commiserating with friends and family about people in power making bad decisions and being rewarded.  And then doing it all over again.

I’m fairly sure it all started years ago when I made the both best and worst employment decision of my life and took a job in the airline industry.  Not, mercifully, as anything in the air, but on the customer service side of things.  The job was bad.  I mean, bad, bad.  When you weren’t dealing with the traveling public – en masse – you were surrounded by grossly incompetent supervisors and managers.  These will, undoubtedly, comprise more than enough posts later but suffice to say I’ve seen badgers with more going on then some of those I “reported to” while serving my time there.

Since that time, I’ve been fascinated with the concept of Failing Upwards - the act of failing and being rewarded.  Many of the people I have seen advance in their careers are people I wouldn’t feel safe leaving my pet rock with for the weekend.  And I’m not alone.  Conferring with friends from all professional walks of life, I am constantly reminded that failing upwards is not a unique concept and instead something all of us routinely experience.  It’s a maddening phenomenon watching the incapable advance. 

Failing Upwards is the vehicle to vent and to turn the phenomenon from painful to funny.  Kinda.

This is going to be fun!