By the book, in all the eleventy-seven business classes I’ve taken, a business corporate headquarters is there to assist the CEO, President, CFO, et al in running that business.  The people who work there facilitate, streamline, and enable the business unit (He…he…he… he said ‘unit’) to succeed.

But, as I keep learning, life is not ‘by the book’.  I was reminded of that at work recently.

And what I relearned was that a headquarters real job is to add meetings, oversight, reports, and needless roadblocks to the successful execution of a business.  Not to say that many business teams don’t need help from leadership, but wouldn’t it be nice if the ‘help’ was actually ‘helpful’?

Without getting into too much detail <pause while my readers have a collective sigh of relief>, each project over a certain budget value has to periodically go to the headquarters to prove they’re going the right direction.  Good business sense and these meetings are at critical junctures in the schedule.  Well, some bright Ivy League business grad decided we need to do yet another set of approval meetings, not tied to the schedule, yet the project cannot continue without it.

Whenever we get these policies from headquarters, we give the preemptory fight against the lunacy, but ultimately have to grit our teeth, take a deep breath, and accept our fate.  Which is what we did.

So, we reviewed the policy to see what we need to do for this new meeting/presentation to the corporate leadership.

And we looked again…


We called the next layer of bureaucracy divisional headquarters for guidance on how to conduct this new meeting.


We called the black hole of questions corporate headquarters for guidance…


…well, sort of…

Corporate:  “We’re working on that.  We’ll know what we want when we see it.  Until then, just keep putting something together for us to look at.”

Us:  “Put ‘what’ together?”

Corporate:  “We’re working on that.  We’ll know what we want when we see it.”

Us [with teeth grinding]:  “Thank you, you’ve been more than helpful.”

Corporate:  “Oh, by the way… the leaders here at corporate are expecting your presentation in 60 days.”

Us [barely under our breaths]:  “Bastards.”

I’m not naïve enough to think any of you who work in a big…or even small…business have not run into the same phenomena. 

Doesn’t make it better…but does give me comfort knowing I’m not alone.



*I can’t say or type this word without thinking of Yukon Cornelius from the TV special “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer”.  If you’ve seen it, you know exactly what I’m referring to.  If you haven’t seen it, find it at watch… it is a classic of campy tackiness.


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10 Responses to “Bureaucracy”

  1. Miss P Says:

    You expect help from corporate anywhere to be helpful? My dear boy, can I suggest you see someone, seems you’re suffering from some kind of delusional condition, head office is NEVER helpful, and as most would agree, barely human … That said, I am, so I suggest you consider using these guidelines when creating your presentation:
    If that fails to please I suggest sticking your head in a gas oven. It’s about as helpful, and probably less painful overall 😉

  2. kyknoord Says:

    I think your crowd attended the same business school as mine. You’re damned no matter what you do, so the most efficient way is to do the absolute minimum that your professional integrity will allow you to live with.

  3. Stephanie of Stopbouncing Says:

    want to borrow my letter opener?

  4. lucidlunatic Says:

    There’s nothing innately wrong with Ivy League grads. It’s just that the good ones are all either successful academics or politicians (though not always successful ones). It seems like businesses only get the bottom of the graduating pool.

    Oddly enough, there are a lot of MBA’s in government these days.

  5. daisyfae Says:

    procrastination is your friend. there are certain staff members who will ship out “guidance” and “taskings”… and then within a day, or even an hour, send the corrections. if i wait until the day before, and simply check the most recent missive on the subject, i can save myself perhaps a few hours of wasted effort… i have achieved bureaucracy, baybee…

  6. thegnukid Says:

    Miss P – i tried sticking my head in the oven, but found, after severe blistering, that it’s an electric oven… should have checked that first. hey! it sounds like i’m uniquely qualified to be on corporate staff!

    kyknoord – i knew i wasn’t alone in this. still, it’s good to hear from others in the same boat. but…integrity? hmmm. i’ve heard tell of such a beast. will have to google that.

    stephanie – to stab them or myself? actually, either would be satisfying at this point….

    lucidlunatic – yeah, i know i was overgeneralizing. but, you’re right…it typically is someone with a graduate pedigree, but who was in the bottom of the class and likely has no real life experience. we all have our demons…

    daisyfae – laughin’… yes! i do that sometimes as well. it’s the old prioritization method – – if you think it’s stupid, don’t do it. if they don’t ask again, you win! if they do task you a second time, do it, but at the last minute. blame them for an unrealistic schedule demand.

  7. nursemyra Says:

    you want me to send them some used continence pads?

  8. thegnukid Says:

    nm – absolutely!!! and make sure they’re fully loaded!

  9. Rob Says:

    I’m with daisyfae on the procrastination thing. You simply would not believe how many hours of wasted work I have not done because I’ve learned when to not say when.

  10. thegnukid Says:

    rob – sorry it took so long for me to respond to your comment… i was procrastinating, obviously.

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