Book excerpt job be damned by rishi piparaiya

Great, now that we only have top management reading, here goes: employees need to be kept motivated and engaged, at least occasionally. It’s a waste of time because they are really not important. While most corporations rhapsodically claim that their people are their most important asset, it is all bollocks. The most important asset of Google is its search algorithm—if that were to suddenly vanish, all their so-called most important assets would be sitting around doodling home pages in Mountain View. Likewise, the most important asset of Coke is its secret formula. The most important asset of Apple is its products. As the pointy-haired boss in Scott Adams’ The Dilbert Principle states, employees are in fact the corporation’s ninth most important assets, right after carbon paper.


That said, you still might have a few foot soldiers who need to be kept suitably engaged and it’s imperative that you identify them rather than waste your efforts in keeping everyone charged up. You can either use complicated psychological tools and personality tests or simply adopt the Job Be Damned Boffins and Bozos grid to pigeonhole all your employees.

Employees want to believe that someone gives a damn about them so act as if you do. Learning motivates early careers so pretend to share your vast experience—gift the latest management book or have them attend some wishy-washy training programme. Middle management professionals crave increased responsibility—ironic given that one’s sole objective should be to avoid work. Send them on international jaunts, award home-printed certificates and write them LinkedIn recommendations—anything that looks like a progressive step in their career will keep them motivated. The downside of investing in employees is that it makes them more marketable and they might leave to join competitors. However, effect drug-induced amnesia as part of the exit formalities—the ungrateful wretches should forget everything that they learnt at your expense.

Interacting with personnel is excellent for your morale. Conduct breakout meetings, hang-outs, online chats and parties. Have the occasional whine-and-dine lunch where you swallow the unpalatable canteen food while chatting with them. Keep the interaction one way—you talk, they listen. Have a Q&A session at the end but make a mental note of anyone who has asked you controversial questions and get your revenge in the next appraisal cycle.

Promotions are nothing but a devious play on the human need for recognition. The bitter truth is that one can spend a lifetime within three designations—early career, middle manager and senior leader. However, waiting a decade for each jump isn’t very appealing so organizations create various meaningless titles to promote employees at quicker intervals. Reality

Many organizations don’t give you complete authority over your people actions, instead holding a promotion meeting where the senior leadership gets together to discuss who across the company should be elevated. To ensure that your boffins make the cut, include some bozos as well in your list. They are your sacrificial lambs that will get roundly trashed, but having soundly rejected the first few names you put up, the group will be more receptive to the rest and the boffins will squeak through.

Put up charts in public areas such as cafeterias with the names of participating employees on it. Every time someone does something notable such as finishing an assignment on time, not annoying the regulator or not driving the company into bankruptcy, give that employee a gold star. Set a time frame for the minions to try and collect as many gold stars as they can. At the end of each period, allow them to exchange their stars for instant gratification rewards—three gold stars, for example, could earn fifteen minutes of surfing the internet during office, and five, a box of delicious candy.