Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Top 10 ways to tell if you are a suit.

Art v.s. Business.  Age old problem.  Art is essence of communication.  Business is the essence of exploitation.  Exploitation is not bad.  At least not in my book.  We look to be exploited on a daily basis.  Look at it this way, you go to work every week day.  You answer to someone every day you work.  You draw a check in exchange for the patience of answering to that someone every day.  You are being exploited.  Sorry, it's true.  Even if you enjoy your job.  You are still being exploited.  But look at the other side of this weary coin.  When you go to the store, you are looking to purchase a good or service at the lowest possible price for the highest possible quality.  Say you see Oreo's on sale for 20 cents a box instead of 2 dollars a box.  Clearly a mistake, but the store has labeled it that way.  You will gladly pick up those marked boxes of oreos and take them to the register.  You have just exploited the mistake of the retailer.  Even if you don't go that distance, you are constantly on the lookout for the better deal.  You are behaving in a BUSINESS fashion.  The reason a lot of us don't like business is because they tend to do it better and more consistently than we do and we are jealous.  It's ok, it's natural.  Art on the other hand is done for the sake of expression first and the money second.  This is why the phrase STARVING ARTIST seems to always fit.  There are those few that have broken the mold, but only because they have learned the BUSINESS of ART.

Here is where I get my blog entry from.  Suits (Business) tend to want the most cost effective (cheap) elements in their product while not diminishing it's ability to get money.  Suits are not concerned with the lasting effect of art, they are concerned with the fleeting effect of money.  When a suit becomes too involved in the process of the art, then the whole process suffers and dies.  Much like chopping down the apple tree to get the fruit, when picking the fruit might be a better idea.  So are you a suit?  or an artist?  I suspect we have a little of both in us and the side that comes out will depend on how much we appreciate the basis of the medium we are looking at.

10.   Do you read Business Self Help books?  -  You know them.  Good to great.  7 Habits of Highly effective people, etc.  Here is the problem, in the religion of business those books are scripture.  Unfortunately, just like in Religion, you only take out the bits that make sense to your particular flavor of business.  Your company is highly nepotistic?  I don't know any book that calls that good, so you pull out that bit.  Your company doesn't play by the same rules for everyone in the company?  There are probably some other chapters that need to go for that.  If you read and embrace these books, you are likely a suit.  The exception to this is if you are assigned to read these books by suits that are SO excited that they give you reading assignments.

9.  Do you watch a children's playground and think 'hey, that might be a good team building activity?'  -  How to waste money in your department budget in the name of business.  This is a constant problem.  Team building!  Managers will often come up with some team building experience that supposedly will open lines of communication between members of the subordinate group.  Unfortunately, you can't put on the same show twice, or the employee monkeys will take notice and start throwing poo at you.

8.  Do you find yourself supporting the 'Money is a bad motivator' argument so popular amongst the suits? - This one is precious.  Money is a bad motivator.  Easily proven wrong.  Just pay someone nothing and see if they come to work.  How's that for motivational proof for you?  This being said, once you have made enough money, time becomes a better motivator, but usually you can have one or the other, but certainly not both.

7.  Do you find yourself 'evaluating' people that you aren't in charge of?  -  Bad mouthing your fellow employees will put you in the special TOADY camp of management.  Being a suit is a lonely affair, few people like you and fewer people still trust you.  So in order to deflect scrutiny, You find yourself making sideways comments about 'Bob'.  'Bob?  Oh yeah, no he's good, he's fine, it's just, I won't say anything, it wouldn't be fair'  and thus the seeds of doubt about dearly departed Bob have been planted.

6.  Do you find yourself never eating lunch?  or much of anything else?  -  An old management strategy is you never eat with your subordinates because it makes them feel like you are one of them.  Clearly you are not.  Familiarity can be a problem in management so there is limited fraternizing with employees because you never know who you have to fire.  There is still another strategy that says that you don't eat or excuse yourself for a 'bio break' in front of subordinates so they think you may in fact be immortal.

5.  Are you constantly thinking of politically correct ways of saying things?  -  Hmmm...How to get your point across without sounding like a jerk.  Diplomacy and tact are the mark of good communicators.  Uncomfortable silence followed by a clumsy description of a simple problem comes under the purview of a suit.  'Maybe Ramierez took the 5th of May off because he's you know, Meso-Amero-neo-quasi-latin.  I love political correctness.  It stretches the mind to illogical proportions.  Native Americans?!?  Really?  I was born in America, am I not a native?  I am.  I am not however an American Aboriginal which would be the correct term.  So it's not political correctness but rather political acceptedness....   SUIT

4.  Do you accompany tips to your waitress with a bullet-point checklist of things that should be improved -  Go back to that restaurant and what ever you will be eating will in fact be that 'blue blood special' now with extra protein.  Seriously, Suits love EVALUATIONS.  This introspective examination of your faults is only fun to a suit, and the truth is, only people that don't perform these evaluations think they are any good at all.

3.  Do you dream about how everything can be improved? - A manager is there to direct the flow of efforts in the company.  They are in charge of a few people or departments and will typically have anywhere from 2 to 15 people answer to them.  If things start deviating from plan, it's the managers job to keep the employees direction 'on track'.  But what if things are going according to plan?  That's where the SUIT comes in.  Now it's time to IMPROVE.  Everything can be improved.  Just ask a suit.  They will improve things right into uselessness.

2.  Do you use acronyms all the time and you aren't in IT? - Suits LOVE the acronym because they think their time is worth so much that they have to use acronyms to simultaneously save time and baffle people around them.  The suits favorite pause that refreshes comes when someone says 'TPC report?  What does TPC stand for?'  The ever helpful suit will inform you of the acronyms meaning eagerly to show that they know what's up and who's on the ball (not you).  It happens all the time in IT as well, but that's more of a geeky dueling banjos at that point.  Most suits can't keep up, unless they are IT suits (shudder).

1.  Do you find yourself saying things you yourself don't believe? - One of the biggies.  Motivational suits often will spout platitudes they don't believe at all.  'Your attitude determines your altitude'  and  'Those who fail to prepare, prepare to fail'  You kind of hope that if you keep saying them, maybe you too will actually buy what you are selling.  Snap out of it, or size up for Mens Warehouse!

I'm no purist, I understand that we can all be a bit suit-ish from time to time.  Sometimes because we have to be for our very lively-hood.  If you see yourself light up more than a couple of things on this list, just take it as a warning.  On the other hand, if you are looking to be a suit, think of them as guidelines ;)   It just helps to get a checklist of possible fail points so you can start emergency procedures and nip it in the bud ASAP.   Uggggh.

That might be this blogs motto...'The next one will be better, I promise.'

No comments: