Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Education be Stoopid

In University while pursuing an IT degree (having abandoned English and Psychology as my previous majors), DeVry in their infinite wisdom (by which I mean as a way of taking more of my money) decided that I needed to take a junior level (300) course in management. DeVry’s official teaching practice is to hire professionals from the field instead of standard college professors, the theory being that people who have worked a real job may actually know something useful. The downside is that, although they may excel in their field, teaching is also a valid skill, one that they generally lack. Furthermore, DeVry discovered that it’s far cheaper to hire immigrants with limited knowledge because IT professionals generally get paid more than college professors. In comes Professor Flurtembow, so nicknamed because I couldn’t care less what his actual name is.

Professor Flurtembow emigrated from Jamaica some years before teaching my class and was pursuing a doctorate in management theory. He had only worked one job in his life, a non-managerial corporate job here in the US. He found he hated working so much that he quit and switched to teaching to pay the bills until he completed his degree and could draw lucrative contracts traveling around the country, holding seminars to teach businesses the proper way to manage their people. He often told us horror stories of the workplace, such as how they insisted he wear a tie and show up on time and sit in a cubicle. Oh, the humanity. I can only guess what kind of management consultant he would be based on his misunderstanding of concepts and his limited ability to communicate. When he lectured on Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of human motives and every single person in the class chose the wrong multiple-choice answer on the test, he admitted that it was poorly worded and assured us that the next class would get a better test. Sounds corporate to me. “Although we may have screwed you out of a job, we promise the person we hired to replace you will be better treated.”

I actually have worked in a few management positions (fireteam leader, assistant manager at a pizza place, corporate department manager over materials and production scheduling), and I learned a lot about management. 1) never, ever get a job in management. 2) especially if you don’t have the authority to hire and fire your own people. 3) if you followed the first two steps, nothing else I’ve learned will ever matter. Since then I completed my degree, got my IT job doing stuff I could have done before I got the degree but wasn’t allowed because Corporate America doesn’t work that way, and now I make about twice what my former professors make.* They say the best revenge is living well, although I don’t remember any Shakespearean tragedies ending that way. “Hamlet, Act III, Scene V: The Danish prince avenges his father’s death by eating a cheeseburger.”

Call me old-fashioned, but my favorite revenge is still a chainsaw to the face. The classics never go out of style.

*Professor Flurtembow probably makes way more than me and is currently advising your company on how to flourish – “Serve more beef in the cafeteria – especially in the New Delhi branch.”


messiah said...

i'd like to expand your points - as my experience indicates don't take the job if it can best be described as "responsibility without power". Nothing is worse than holding the bag because everything fell apart - the real issue being 2 other people in higher management didn't agree your request was "necessary".

SSC said...

Ha, coming to work on time or having a dress code. OMG the horror!!!!

Patti said...

Yeah I never really got that "living well is the best revenge". Some people just don't give a shit

グラント said...

messiah - exactly. Likewise, don't take a job being responsible for inventory you don't order, use, or count.

ssc - and he had to work 40 hours a week! Can you imagine?

patti - maybe if you live well by stealing all their stuff it will have more effect.