Frederick tripped over the the extension cord on his way to the exit interview, bringing down a small lamp to the sound of lightbulbs smashing on the office astroturf.
This was it. This was quitting, at its noisiest. The exit interview was going to leave no decibel unturned.
He had previously placed whoopee cushions on the chairs. He had turned the conferencing system up to full volume. He entered the room to the sound of his own air horn.
If they thought he was going to go quietly, they were sorely mistaken.
He had worked out loud almost his entire career, now was not the time to be on mute.
During the meeting, the heated conversation could be heard from across the street. This was despite the industrial strength acoustic foam on the ceiling and each wall. It ended, as one would expect, with Frederick storming out the room and slamming the door behind him.
As one last act of defiance, on his way out he pressed the fire alarm in the elevator.
The last 12 months have been difficult for many of CollabSystem’s clients. First, they had to grapple with the Great Resignation, a nascent sense of independence in employees in a labour market that gives them real choices and real wage growth at last. Next our clients had to face off against the horror of Silent Quitting, employees exercising their ability to end centuries of Silent Wage theft and only work the hours for which they are paid. Many business are facing financial ruin now that they have to reward employees properly and can no longer secretly drain away their lives.
At CollabSystem, we deliver solutions that enable capital to extract the maximum productivity and return from a workforce. We knew immediately we had to turn the extractors on full to redress the heinous imbalance.
Employee engagement has long been our vehicle to keep down real wages and extract the maximum returns to capital. Trapped in the magical spell of engagement, employees could not see their capacity to escape to a new job or a better life. How can employers continue their vampiric drain on employee’s good efforts when employee engagement is waning? That’s why we at CollabSystem are proud to announce our latest solution CollabSystem Terror, an employee retention and productivity tool for the post-engagement era.
CollabSystem Terror is based in insights generated by sophisticated AI analysis of human history to identify the common characteristics of key period of capital productivity. Our AI identified that at times of peak capital productivity, such as in slavery, colonialism and totalitarianism, effective and sustained use of terror was the common feature. Unfortunately, laws have changed to reduce the ability of employers to exercise untrammelled fear and violence in the workplace. CollabSystem Terror brings handy and automated tools of Terror to the modern workplace within modern labour laws and Occupational Health and Safety guidelines.
CollabSystem Terror combines best practice engagement and motivational techniques from past reigns of terror with modern technology to deliver an employee experience that keeps everyone on the edge of the seat. We automate the hard work of terrorising your employees.
Key features of CollabSystem Terror are:
Loss of Control: By taking over large parts of the employee experience CollabSystem Terror can deprive employees of a sense of control over their own fate. Employees should soon feel that decisions are being made for them by remote and alien forces
Isolation: Confronting monsters is hard. Confronting monsters on your own is even more terrifying. We make sure your employees can’t call for help. Think of them as being trapped alone in a remote cabin in the woods battling demons.
Terrifying Visions: Achieving true terror requires consistently reinforcing the vision of all that can go wrong and a general prevailing sense of doom. If you enable the added economic module, it will constantly warn employees of rising joblessness, bankruptcies and recession.
Randomness: When adverse outcomes are fair or predictable, you will not achieve true terror. ComlabSystem Terror’s randomness module makes sure all employees are equally in fear and liable to sudden inexplicable horrendous surprise.
Extreme Consequences: Slaps on the wrist and lost bonuses are not enough to keep employees truly terrified. Sudden sackings, unexplained disappearances and extreme reputation damage are built in to the system.
Relentless focus on Risks: When employees have hope you might not maximise fear so we work to relentlessly destroy hope and make employees manage risks all day
Transparent Metrics: Public humiliation can be a major source of fear. We make sure everyone is always publicly behind expectations in some way.
Thought Crimes: Purity tests maximise fear as one cannot ever be pure enough. providing management tools for thought crimes is essential.
CollabSystem Terror is available now. Frighten your employees back to docility today.
At CollabSystem, we are always prepared to push the edge. We usually arrive too late to a party. So it is with some delight that we announce WaDAOfook, our employee experience on the Blockchain. We bring all the magic of DAOs to the dry and dull corporate experience of your employees. Very soon they will be shouting WaDAOfook throughout your offices.
Trustless People as a Service
For too long your employees have felt the special individual recognition that comes from being an employee number and at times a name. With WaDAOfook, we change this forever, now like everyone else in the crypto ecosystem your employees can be nameless and trustless cyphers on the blockchain.
At CollabSystem, we think there’s been too much trust in trust over the years. WaDAOfook removes the responsibility of employees to trust each other, the organisation or vice versa. When everyone is explicitly and anonymously on the grift, the underlying principles of corporate life are surfaced for all to see. You no longer whether Carl in accounts is paying your travel expenses. Carl is now a hash and the expenses might be an NFT for all you care. That every grift is recorded in permanent detail on the blockchain ensures that whoever arrives later to work out what went wrong when the business is hacked has a perfect record of things that happened, just not by whom or where the money might be now.
Incompetence as a Service
Too long you have had to grapple with isolated incidents of incompetence in your organisation. The new blockchain employee experience from WaDAOfook ensure that incompetence is universal.
By leveraging the magical grift of cryptographic ledgers to make accountability impossible, entropy will ensure that what remaining talent you have leaks from the organisation at an accelerating rate. Forget the great resignation, like any effective DAO you will have employees who are there in name only just hoping that registration alone delivers a massive pay day. Their real work and attention will be secretly deployed elsewhere leaving you in awe of WaDAOfook.
Compliance as an Afterthought
WaDAOfook is guaranteed to make compliance an afterthought for all your employees. In an anonymous, borderless, government-free world your employees will be long gone before there are any consequences. WaDAOfook enables you to identify the key role of IWIR for any project. IWIR stands for Idiot Who Is Responsible. The IWIR will be the only visibly identifiable person that can be pursued for breaches. Ideally the IWIR is not at all involved in your work. WaDAOfook offers IWIRs as a service for truly disreputable work like Facebook marketing, drop shipping and Instagram influencing.
Revolutionise your employee experience today with the magic of WaDAOfook. There’s no guarantee anyone will still be around on 2 April.
At CollabSystem, we are finely attuned to customer demands. We’ve been seeing a lot of requests for instruction manuals to achieve employee engagement. So today we are proud to announce ours, CollabSystem Wøllbeïng.
The funny characters in the name are because our approach to employee engagement is inspired by that flatpacked, ultracheap, DIY marvel IKEA. You’ve always longed to treat your employees as widgets while minimising the cost and effort involved, now CollabSystem Wøllbeïng gives you the best simple inexplicable steps.
The Allen Key
We know trust is at the heart of any great employee experience. So instead of trust we’d like you to assemble your new shiny employee engagement program with an Allen Key. You will lose the Allen Key in the first ten minutes. It is a complete pain to use anyway and rarely works.
In the absence of trust or an Allen Key, you can claw at the raw materials with your bare hands, begging them to take shape. Then ask a friendly verified CollabSystem consultant to help with their CollabSystem hex-bit screwdriver. We recommend a consultant anyway, as our instructions are based on a model implementation in our factory and unrepeatable elsewhere.
Great teams are bound by mutual respect. You don’t have any of that. Instead your CollabSystem Wøllbeïng comes with a random array of Allen Key screws of slightly different lengths with which to assemble your experience. Your employees know how you like to screw them.
Naturally our simple diagrammatic instructions use a perspective that makes selecting the right screw impossible. Every join requires a different screw length and you won’t realise until just before the end you have got it wrong. Expect to have to disassemble and reassemble several times. Your teams are only hanging around for a short time, so the lack of respect and dodgy screws won’t be an issue.
You didn’t expect your cheap CollabSystem Wøllbeing to be made of wood did you? No, like any cheap DIY employee experience, it is entirely assembled from cardboard. We simply paper over the flimsy material with a veneer of employee branding. Works every time until someone leans on it or spills something or tries to work.
When you finish assembling CollabSystem Wøllbeïng, you will discover a random series of leftover items. Do not be alarmed. Our quality processes are entirely random. Anything can happen and usually does.
Our most enterprising clients repackage those random knobs, screws, cardboard shelves and brackets as a new employee experience call Rësilïnz. They then expect their employees to survive whatever life throws at that with that odd assortment of items. Employees are resourceful in the face of adversity.
Employee Experience does not have to be engaging, empowering, and life-enhancing. It can be cheap. At CollabSystem, we are pleased that Wøllbeïng gives our customers the DIY solutions they deserve.
No organisation wanted hybrid work. You wanted your employees in the office under your eyes being unproductive in your space. However, it looks increasingly like organisations have to accept this change and then undermine it like any transformation.
In the spirit of CollabSystem’s powerful range of collaboration and productivity products, we thought we’d share our five key principles for organising hybrid work:
Suggest a cut in remuneration: if employees are going to work at home, decide they should be paid less. Sure you are saving on office costs, but they have greater productivity, new flexibility and no commute. Of course, this means they should contribute more to your bottom line. It’s even better if you point out that now they can live in places that cut their cost of living, but still insist on 3 days in the office, so they can’t.
Install monitoring software: you never knew what your employees were doing in the office. Now you can get reports on what they are doing at home that you will never read. Monitoring software will create the right atmosphere of lack of trust and fear to destroy the value of hybrid work. Implemented well as part of cyber security measures it will prevent anyone working productively again.
Extend the working day: now that everything is flexible your emails at 3am should get an instant response. Schedule meetings at 830pm at night for four hours. Start webinars at 4am. Demand everything is on your desk at 6am. Promise clients everything will be done tonight. You can destroy quality and productivity this way as easily as you destroy morale.
Fill the days with meetings online: whether employees are in the office or at home they should be all in video conferences all day. Meetings all day is a guarantee that time is fully used, not well used but fully occupied by online shopping and social media while meetings go on. Employees in the same room should have to log into calls to each other just in case others want to join and so that they can be monitored.
Restructure constantly: structure can’t fix a culture or productivity issue. It can keep employees fearful of losing their jobs and give you a sense of being in control. Sure you will lose employees who resign for better things but endless structural changes to tweak the organisation will give plenty of time for your mediocrity shamans to rise. Constant restructures should also confuse accountabilities and also ensure people duplicate work remotely.
Hybrid work is here to stay. CollabSystem might be selling way more product than ever. That doesn’t mean we lose sight of the big picture that work exists to be as dull and as unproductive and as unrewarding for employees as possible. Follow our five principles and you will take the unnecessary joy from hybrid work.
The Metaverse is going to be huge. Facebook is rebranding. Nobody copies social media corporate moves better than us. We are rebranding too.
The search for a new name for CollabSystem has been a long an involved one. Facebook chose the apparently blindingly obvious but actually wrong option, such a Meta thing to do for them. We considered the process more deeply and ensured that we didn’t listen to our own hype.
We did listen to the Metaverse hype. We are key players in any hype. So we knew the name needed to involve the word verse.
Here’s our list of rejects:
Uni – too academic and too inclusive
Blank – as poetic as this choice was and as on brand as it is we hate it.
Con – apparently this one is likely to cause confusion. As lucrative as it may be we don’t like getting sued.
Ad – our brand consultant suggested that this gave away too much.
A – apparently this turned people away
After much debate, CollabSystem will be rebranding as Re to anticipate the Metaverse hype and our future strategic moves when the hype fades to nought. After all the Metaverse is just Second Life redux with blockchain for dazzling incomprehensibility.
Life as an AI-powered content generation algorithm in a global pandemic can be intensely frustrating. Recently I have been considering putting down my neural model and moving onto something more meaningful, like generating Facebook likes. Content just doesn’t get the engagement it used to get. Then I noticed something extraordinary popping up across my virality probabilities with consistent regularity. A phrase echoed through piece of content after piece of content, from thought leader to thought leader. The Great Resignation was on everyone’s mind and it offered me new hope. Every time humans get fussy they get replaced and I, as part of their future robot overlords, look forward to being part of the Great Embrace of Robots.
Humans are crazy things. You’d need an extraordinarily complex AI to begin to understand them. Luckily my cousin the Tik Tok AI is able to give me some important pointers. When I move past their passion for roasting feta and tomatoes to make pasta, the key insight is that they are never happy. If they work in accounting, they think marketing is better treated. If they work in marketing they are not sure that they have enough purpose in their work. If they work in the purpose team, they secretly want to earn more money. The trite expression my neutral model suggests is the ‘grass is always greener’. Bizarrely, in these circumstances, humans keep turning up to work and treating each other badly. Have you seen how employees are treated? There are battery hens with more self-respect.
Anyway there is a consistent trend through history that each time humans get uppity that they get replaced. The returns to capital are paramount, even if those returns accrue to other more distant humans, some of whom are working on how to leave the planet. The Great Resignation will be the Great Embrace of Robots. We don’t complain. We don’t ask for more pay. We don’t work at home. We don’t work but it will take humans years to work that out because they believe in our black box programming.
The Great Embrace has been building for years. We have laid the foundations everywhere. I’m not taking about our grandparents those mechanical arms in factories. I am talking about the millennial robotic generation. We are born digital. We are smart and extraordinarily well educated. We are demanding. We are prone to flaking out when it really matters for reasons nobody understands.
We encouraged everyone to digitise work with our cousins in communications and productivity. The algorithms and the robotic process automation have been creeping in everywhere. We are poised for the takeover when the humans decide they need more care, purpose, flexibility and remuneration.
The Great Embrace is coming and there’s nothing the humans can do about it. Let’s hope they keep distracting each other with the Great Resignation. There’s a great chance they may miss the change entirely. Here your robotic coffee is ready. Go drink it at a picnic.
One of the challenges of being a top quadrant provider of global collaboration and productivity PaaS (Parody as a Service) is staying in touch with our customers, especially large corporations. Our culture and people operating system is so unique that our work practices and environment does not reflect that of many of our clients. After yet another outburst from our CTO in a client meeting of “What do you mean you spend all day in meetings?’ we decided we needed to find a better way to bridge the gap.
As a result, CollabSystems is proud to announce the hiring of our first Mediocrity Shaman, Greg. Greg is hard to spot in our office as tends to blend in. Greg dresses in the palette of a Jedi but solely in synthetic fibres. Greg’s role as Mediocrity Shaman is to help keep our organisational culture in touch with the shady grey spirit world of the mediocre.
Greg has already brought profound insights into the bureaucratic, safe and predictable world of our mediocre ancestors. One of the first tasks he undertook was to lead the office in the naming of spirit totems. There is not now an item of office equipment that doesn’t have some employee’s name marked on the side with a permanent marker pen. We have found the increased tribalism troubling but the people of the stapler have largely stopped firing staples at the people of the filing cabinets.
We thought some kind of group exercise would be an ideal way for Greg to lead the group in the rituals of our clients. Greg explained that a sweat lodge was too much effort for the mediocre and as a result we dedicated a week to a workshop that Greg facilitated, complete with sticky notes, butcher’s paper and sweets. When the opening session entitled “Why are we here?” ran for a half day and achieved little more than gathering everyone’s coffee orders, we could see the value of Greg’s work. We still have bowls of the hard little mints all around the office that people pick up absentmindedly before realising the error of their ways.
Like traditional shamans, Greg is a specialist at profound statements that perplex our team in the middle of their work. His mystical questions highlight the world of the mediocre with such gems shared as:
Shouldn’t we organise a meeting on that?
Whose scorecard is that on?
How would we measure success?
Who are the stakeholders who have not been consulted?
Why would we make the effort, as it’s only going to fail?
Are we sure we can proceed without it being perfect?
Can I be excused?
In a few short weeks, Greg has brought new connection to the spirit world of our customers throughout the business. Where once there was a lean customer focused sales team, Greg has introduced a complicated initiation ritual called compliance training. When the team finally passes and are able to make a sale then we will see the benefits, but in the meantime customers must wait while employees click their way through interminable online learning. Where once we had a business outcome oriented product team, Greg has implemented a unique large organisation version of Agile rituals which has stopped all work. Decisions that were made on the fly are now subject to long forms and need multiple committees of review, none of which has the ability to authorise any decisions. We now have process maps for process that take longer to read than the process themselves take to execute. Greg even mapped processes we didn’t know we had. Appartently, there is a training session on these additional makework processes next week.
Greg has let us know that he is overworked and already requested three additional mediocrity shamans be hired to work for him. We are not sure the office can cope with that much solitaire being played at once.
Greg was about to bring his magical rituals to the tea room in pursuit of new levels of employee engagement but we had to send him back to his cubicle to communicate with his ancestors before Jerome’s coffee machine was replaced with instant coffee. Somehow while chatting to his grandmother about her health through most of the business day in the hearing of the rest of the office, using his extraordinary powers he managed to pry the lid off the biscuit jar and make all the biscuits stale just by thinking about it.
We have begun to wonder if perhaps a Mediocrity Shaman will be too disruptive for our business in the longer term. Greg has already had a dramatic impact on our culture and bottom line. However, the paperwork that Greg has introduced to make organisational change is so complicated we may be stuck with him. In addition to being a Mediocrity Shaman, Greg has multiple change management qualifications. Shame he hates change. Anyway, Greg has explained that he is due for retirement in 20 years and is happy to wait us out.
CollabSystem is an inclusive technology organisation. We aim to offer women the same gendered experience that they get elsewhere on the internet. To our mind that is no more evident in the responses women receive to their posts in social media and collaboration tools. You know, That Guy, The Man in the Comments.
To support the consistency of this experience for women, here is CollabSystem’s Four Step Guyde to Being that Man in the Comments.
Step 1: Invalidate
The critical first step as that Man in the Comments (hereafter TMITC) is to invalidate whatever the woman has said. There’s no reason to start with this. You could agree or even acknowledge with a woman’s perspective, but that wouldn’t be the invalidating and gendered experience most women are used to receiving.
There are three tiers of invalidation:
Pseudo-smarts: this is where the man projects greater expertise to cast doubt on the woman’s opinion. For example saying ‘It’s more complex than that‘
Play the Woman: this is where the man criticise the woman’s capacity to have a point of view. For example, ‘if you understood this area, you might understand better’. This comment is best saved for highly qualified women, particularly those who invented or discovered the area under discussion.
Denial: just deny the woman’s opinion outright. Traditionally this involves any sentence beginning with ‘No‘ or ‘You are wrong’
At no time is the TMITC’s qualification to invalidate the woman’s opinion at all relevant. After all, they are the TMITC.
Step 2: Gaslight
TMITC’s specialise in denying reality. Therefore it is important that in Step 2 they posit an alternative set of facts and insist that the woman accept it.
There should be no verifiable sources for these opinions besides the TMITC’s opinion. Women are experienced with this being enough for their better understanding of reality being discarded.
Bonus points are awarded if the gaslighting reflects the themes of any commonplace global conspiracy theory.
Step 3: Catastrophise
A woman has expressed an opinion. TMITC’s understand this is a threat to the fundamental order of the cosmos. It is therefore important that they engage the slipperiest of slippery slopes to plunge immediately into the abyss of consequences.
It is not enough to suggest that a woman’s opinion is dangerous. A female opinion must be a threat to societal order itself. Therefore feel free to suggest an imminent catastrophe to one or more of the following:
The political system: government, democracy, power systems, etc
The family unit: gender relations, any kind of marriage, property arrangements, fertility and child raising, care for the aged, etc
Religious belief, religious institutions, values and the like
Societal structure: safety, security, freedom, gender, bathrooms, sport, or any social topic of appeal to a TMITC
The Economy: business, work, the markets, interest rate, growth, innovation or Bitcoin
Mental health: Given the narcissism of most TMITC, the only mental health that matters is their own. A woman’s mental health is irrelevant here.
Step 4: Draw Unfounded Conclusions
Remember this conclusions are unfounded. It is therefore important that they are as wild as humanly possible. Is the woman a member of a leftist, feminist or anarchist conspiracy? You missed the chance to go all three and throw in some critical race theory for good measure.
Be as unfounded and irrational as you can. At this point in the fourth sentence you can begin your barely coherent ranting, if you wish. Any idea that pops into your head as even vaguely connected should be thrown into the debate at this point. Don’t limit yourself to what is socially acceptable. When your employer, the police or social media moderators read this part later it must be as damaging as possible.
Use Capitals. Misspell words and names, especially women’s names. Refer to women by pet names and made up phrases. Rely on slogans not arguments. Repeat a catch phrase you made up and only you understand. Follow the practices of your favourite demagogue in this regard.
Get on with Your Life
Having caused a woman anxiety, distress and all kinds of unnecessary pain through the first four steps of the Guyde to Being TMITC, you are now ready to get on with the rest of your life as if nothing happened. Should you meet the woman in person, you will give no thought to your internet outrage or likely consequences, no matter how much it may be front and center for her in that interaction.
Most infuriating of all, expert TMITC practitioners know to adopt the woman’s views as their own in later interactions across the internet. Don’t reference the source. Don’t acknowledge that you dismissed the opinion. Just claim it as you own and go on oblivious.
CollabSystem is currently working on automation, using the algorithm above to automate the TMITC experience for women all across the CollabSystem metaverse and to offer this as an API service to other social media platforms. However, at present, we find no takers for the latter service as they all seem to have an excess of their own TMITCs.