Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Declassified: As Above, So Below

Good morning, Ruineers! We're coming back to the OSS Simple Sabotage Field Manual for more tips and tricks on destroying your life and ruining your company.

Today's Tip: As Above, So Below

The chain of command, when properly used, can be just that - a chain of links choking the life out of an organization (or else keeping it shackled in place). But whether you're the top man on the totem pole or a simple squaw, it's your job to tug that chain around the company's neck and pull, pull pull!

Let's start with paperwork - memos and documents can be your worst enemy when they're out spreading information, but with a little skill you can use them to prevent 90% of work from being done on time.

First, demand every request, no matter how simple, be put down into writing before you'll do it. Have people fill out forms for every job they ask you to do - to make sure they have "used proper channels." Refuse to move forward until a mountain of paperwork is completed and approved by three different departments. The more the merrier!

Now that you have a mountain of information, it's time to find something wrong with it. Look for unclear language (or at least, language you can pretend to misunderstand) and write long letters and emails asking for precise clarification.

Why? Because you must never turn in a job on time, whether it's turning in a proposal, shipping an order to a customer or purchasing raw materials from a supplier. Give other people as little time to respond to your demands as possible and then blame them when it all goes South.

And remember, this isn't just about your job. If some busybody needs information from you to do their job, it's time to stall. First, ignore their request. When they remind you, pretend you lost the request (better yet, really lose it). Next, demand more information on why they need this "sensitive information."

For you boys on the factory floor, insist that you need the most expensive, high-quality materials to do simple jobs and warn of dire consequences if the wrong material is used. This gives you an excuse to delay ordering materials! Once a product is finished, insist that it's not perfect enough for your organization's high standards - even the smallest imperfection can be used to delay shipping a finished product.

Now let's talk a little about training and staffing. Even Joe Blow on the street knows better than to train new employees well - after all, they may be competiting with you for a job some day! But have you thought about actively mistraining them? Try giving them contradictory demands - for example "Quality is the most important thing" and "Meeting our schedule is the most important thing." With a little luck, they'll start ignoring big mistakes while shutting the line down for minor ones!

Speaking of which, an untrained, unskilled employee is the perfect choice for important jobs. How else are they supposed to build experience? Heck, make sure that the least competent, most unpleasant people are promoted first.

With these simple tips, line meant to move information from one person to another can instead strangle the organization to the ground. But remember, unlike every other job in the company, killing all forward momentum is your responsibility!

That's all for now, Ruineers. Remember, a noose is only as strong as the knotted, tangled rope at the top!

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Declassified: Just Keep Talking

Good morning, Ruineers!

Today we're talking about talking, and talking about talking about talking. And as always, today's talking points about talking about talking come from the OSS Simple Sabotage Field Manual.

Now we're talkin'!

Today's Tip: Just Keep Talking

Any good time-waster loves a good meeting, particularly when there's important work to be done. But these wonderful get-togethers are often marred by the presence of people who want to make decisions.

Yes, it's a sad fact that in every meeting, there's going to be one or two good-idea nogoodniks. These slick customers pretend to sit quietly and stay out of your way at first, but they're really coiled snakes, listening to peoples' complaints and formulating plans to fix problems. Jeepers!

By using the following tools, you can frustrate these quiet menaces and tangle up every office interaction, every time. It's hard to keep a good man down, but with these strategies, you can prevent them from getting anything done.

Time is money, and it's up to you to use up as much of both as possible. Every moment that your jaw isn't flapping is time that a good idea may rear its ugly head. Tell stories from your personal life to illustrate "points," whether or not the point is relevant. Voice your concerns about how people not present might feel about the situation. List, at length, every possible option and then why none of them will work.

If someone turns the discussion back on topic, bring up unrelated issues. If the group starts making headway on that new topic, get them "back on track" by switching back to the original topic. By changing the topic as frequently as possible and dragging in as many issues as possible, you'll replace forward progress with horizontal complaining.

Once a meeting is finished, make sure to hunt down the person in charge of writing the minutes. Pick out a sentence (picking at random is just fine) and argue over the precise wording. I'm sure you'll have a fine reason why "decided" is better than "chose"!

Speaking of minutes, you might think at first that they're a dangerous enemy - after all, they provide a record of what was decided.

First of all, you're the schmuck who let something get decided! Don't worry though, even the most vigilant meeting manager sometimes lets a decision slip through. Your goody-two-shoes boss might demand a decision be made, and you may have to oblige him. It's a sad fact of life that some problems require action - action committees, that is!

Start an action committee and pack this "small group" with as many people as possible, whether or not they care about the situation. Remember, nothing of importance ever got decided by a group of more than five people. After all, you're "just being reasonable" and "want to have all the facts" rather than "making a hasty decision."

Second, even if a stray decision gets through, minutes are the perfect tool to roll the clock back. Simply keep a copy of the minutes and bring up any issue that got decided all over again in the next meeting. The frustration of backwards movement is even worse than simply staying in place - it's a great way to keep the organization (and your coworkers) in their place.

There's no situation that can't be made worse with more talking, from preventing a decision, to dragging out the decision-making process, to reversing old decisions. Remember - the work can't start happening until the mouths stop flappening.

That's all for today, Ruineers! It's time to go back to finding ways to avoid work on your own now.