One of the less palatable aspects of my job is bidding on government contracts. It would be less of trial if I thought it would be worth the effort, but it’s a complete waste of time.
Most state entities openly thumb their noses at the procurement regulations and carefully word their specifications to favour certain outcomes. The state officials have very itchy backs that require lots of scratching before you’re granted entrance to the preferred circle.
The fact that this is technically illegal is neither here nor there. The government occasionally makes a few disingenuous noises about “rooting out corruption” before election time, but the practice continues because few private firms have the stomach, stamina or stones to take the matter to court. They understand the power of the Dark Side.
Nevertheless, my boss insists that I keep hitting my head against this particular wall, because Senior Management Logic(TM) dictates that if something doesn’t work, you keep doing it until your skull pops.
If you’re like me and regularly find yourself trapped in a room full of corporate drones (aka the Wednesday morning meeting), you may also begin to think that “expanding client interfaces to synergise profit vectors” is a perfectly normal discussion instead of the complete bollocks it actually is. This is the insidious nature of groupthink: it slowly erodes your ability to think critically and you end up being pulled along in the current of consensus. Woe betide the individual who dares to swim against the prevailing direction of the stream, for that wretch will be cast into the pit of non-team players!
A similar phenomenon occurs on Twitter. The hive mind has a low tolerance for dissident opinions. These are crushed with a brutal efficiency that would have given Stalin a raging boner. Regular Twitterers may be forgiven for believing that they are changing the world with the latest hashtag, but that’s to be expected from people who are active participants in an enormous virtual incarnation of the human centipede. The harsh reality is that most people don’t really care too deeply about today’s trending topic. Especially if it involves a Kardashian.
This can be illustrated with the following handy infographic* (and who doesn’t like infographics?):
What this tells us that in a room containing a hundred people, one of them will be standing in the corner fulminating against the Bad Thing du jour. Of the 46 who are actually in a position to do something it, only four of them might be interested enough to pay attention. The rest may possibly catch the odd phrase here and there, but the majority will be too busy counting all the fucks they don’t give.
* Source material:
What do SA’s 24.9 mil internet users spend most of their time doing online?
What Twitter in South Africa looks like
IEC voter registration statistics
Every year our marketing department circulates a memo encouraging the peons to augment their wardrobes with ghastly new corporate-branded clothing. It’s a rather heavy-handed way of telling us to conform or else.
It wouldn’t be so bad if there was something in the catalogue that I could actually bring myself to wear, but the company “look” essentially involves beige chinos and pale blue polycotton shirts – i.e. the uniform of dead souls.
I don’t think the office is ready for the magnificence of my dragon onesie just yet.
As antisocial activities go, I’m more in favour of drawing genitalia on stuff than killing foreigners and flinging faeces around. I guess I’m not enough of a patriot for that.