I pay lazy bastards I don’t trust

I sent this e-mail recently to Mr. Monk, Chief Executive of investment firm VSA Capital:

Attn: Andrew Monk, Esq

Dear Mr. Monk,

Essentially, your opinion is that, unsupervised by you, staff are lazy cheats:


This is the great justification of management.  “The plebs are all dishonest scoundrels at heart, and you need to keep an eye on them.

Were you ever to admit to yourself that not everyone is a waster, and that there are lots of professional, self-starting people out there, you’d de facto be also admitting that your own position is largely unnecessary.  And that would never do, would it, considering how much you’re paid for what little you actually do.  Most of what you do is supervising work carried out by other people.  It’s largely pointless and un-necessary, though of course it soothes your ego.  Pretty difficult to “peacock” in an empty office, isn’t it, squire?  Your real work – strategic inputs and final decisions – while invaluable, could easily be carried out on a part-time basis.  You’ve been doing this suspicion-derived, fake-work aspect of your role for so long that you have normalised it and consider that it’s “necessary”.

Read the article from which this quote is taken:

Remote work lays bare many brutal inefficiencies and problems that executives don’t want to deal with because they reflect poorly on leaders and those they’ve hired. Remote work empowers those who produce and disempowers those who have succeeded by being excellent diplomats and poor workers, along with those who have succeeded by always finding someone to blame for their failures. It removes the ability to seem productive (by sitting at your desk looking stressed or always being on the phone), and also, crucially, may reveal how many bosses and managers simply don’t contribute to the bottom line.

Full article here:

You know, or ought to know, the old truism: “if you think someone is trustworthy or untrustworthy, you’re right”.

And it begs a fundamental question – do your staff have nothing specific to do?  In my role, I have a list of tasks as long as my 2 arms, and deadlines screaming at me when they must be done by.  My colleagues know when these deadlines are.  To figure out whether I have been slacking off, or not, just look at how many deadlines I hit. Just measure my damned output, for fuck’s sake.  Whether I’m sitting at a desk in my home office, or at a desk 120 miles away in our office, makes no damned difference to my colleagues.  All they care about is that stuff gets done.

If your only, or primary, way of checking whether your staff are actually working is by directly observing them, then might I suggest that your business is very badly managed, and you ought to consider firing yourself, instead of perpetuating an outdated obsession with obsolete, stupidly-expensive and inconvenient city centre offices that contribute fuck-all to the bottom line and which mainly serve as an architectural fig leaf for inept and unproductive managers to hide behind.

Fortunately, you, and people like you, will soon be retired, and the corporate world will be managed by people whose thought patterns aren’t mired in the last century.

Best of luck,

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