Thursday, June 30, 2011

Close Encounters of the Corporate Kind

Tim: "Like, we know this amazing guy Barry, who's an excellent guy, which we've referred at, and, um, like Barry runs these whole Earth bush workshops, right. What he does..." - from Brainspace' - Tim and Debbie

There used to be a really clever and amusing Australian comedy duo called "Tim and Debbie". In OZ. A hundred years ago.

Tim and Debbie recorded a number of skits and one of my favorites was about their friend, 'Barry'. 'Barry' allegedly made a fortune by driving people to a place in the outback of Australia and "leaving then there".

This was before reality shows, long before shows such as "Survivor". People would pay good money for Barry's wilderness workshop experience - no doubt under the misguided illusion that they were being given the opportunity to "find themselves".

In perfect bogan dialect, the upward inflection pitched exactly right, Tim and Debbie let it be known how much they admired 'Barry'.

"Right, wilderness workshops. He gets a group of really, like, aware sort of committed people who want to find themselves, and he drives them out into the middle of the wilderness ... he just leaves them there you know, and it's really, and,and he only charges two hundred dollars, you know.It's really excellent, you know."

I was reminded of Tim and Deb the other day when a friend of mine launched into a description of something weird and less than wonderful. Something which I hope is not going to be a "trending topic" - to borrow a Twitterism.

Now this friend is not normally given to exaggeration, and so I am inclined to believe her, even though what she described to me appeared to belong on the West, rather than the civilized East Coast where of course, being intelligent women, we both reside.

According to the friend, there's a new sort of human evolving. A "Job Shrink" aka a "Career Facilitator".

And this is what such people do - for $$$ of course.

Career Facilitators are invited in to corporations who wish to improve on their return from their more highly-paid employees. Once embedded in the organization, the facilitators invite everyone who has anything to do with the targeted employees to attend sessions behind closed doors - one session per highly-paid employee. The only person missing during these sessions is of course, the target - the highly-paid employee.

Once the door is locked the participants are given free reign to say whatever they like about the said employee. All comments are noted and sometime later the victim is called in to hear the news. Oh, and all comments are of course treated as confidential.

I'm not sure what the goals of these work-place encounters are supposed to be. They seem a bit along the lines of the nineteen seventies 'encounter groups'. I hated those groups. You were expected to sit there and listen to people being boring about what was wrong with their own lives and brutally honest about what was wrong with yours. BUT - with encounter groups - you were present when everyone got stuck into you. You KNEW who said what, and didn't have to unwittingly invite enemies to your next party.

Not so with the career facilitator sessions. The victim knows WHAT people said about them, but not WHO said it. You just have to cop it sweet and try to learn from your supposed - or maybe imagined - errors of your ways.

Ah, progress! We have obviously come a long way since the nineteen seventies! Back then encounter groups were up-front and personal.

In 2011 they are behind closed doors and corporate.

1 comment:

Vanessa said...

All true, all true....

and yet it can get even worse, as when the facilitator recommends to the victim to sack their assistant, and the victim blindly does as told, as if that makes any difference in regards to the perception of the victims lousy performance.

Welcome to Corporate Scamerica

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