I have an idea for a new product. It’s called Egregiously Chuckleheaded Opinion Liability Insurance (ECOLI). It would indemnify publications that print bad advice — along with the the addlepated know-it-alls who author that advice with no regard for the unintended consequences of that advice — against the retributive lawsuits that result from the following of that advice by the naïve, the unwitting, and the cannily litigious.
The idea came to me after reading this: “Four Productive Ways To Get Confrontational At Work“. This piece, written by an ostensible expert and blithely published by Fast Company without concern for the capsized careers it will leave in its wake (where DID the editors go?), should leave any reader who follows its guidance on the windfall side of an ECOLI judgment. To wit:
Sometimes you have to make life worse, or at least riskier, for your more powerful counterparts in order to make them collaborate with you. And that may mean getting a little more confrontational—just not in the way you might think.
First, anyone who’d ever been in the employ of a corporate bureaucracy for more than five minutes would know that making life worse or riskier for your more powerful counterparts is tantamount to career — or at least job — suicide. Make careful note of this: It will not make them collaborate with you. It will make them fire you.
No functionary, comfortably wedged into the bureaucratic hierarchy, is going to be threatened or have his cushy gig distressed by anyone on any rung of the corporate ladder below his. It’s just not going to happen, Duke.
Second, getting a little confrontational — in the way you think, not in the way you think, in the way some other self-immolating chooch might think, or any way at all — will not make your more powerful counterparts any more synergetic, either. In case you didn’t note it carefully enough the first time, make careful note of this: It will not make them collaborate with you. It will make them fire you.
Corporate bureaucrats don’t want confrontation. They want single-minded conformity. They want unruffled feathers. They want as little attention as possible and smooth sailing to the retirement destinations of their dreams.
If you’re going to publish advice like that, you might as well get ECOLI.
Call 1-800-BAD-IDEA to apply.
Image courtesy of TheJobNetwork.