How come whenever they tell you, “We’re moving into the 21st Century,” it means more forms to fill out, more “reminders” maddeningly blinking on your screen, “updated” computer programs that take five steps to do what used to take a single click, and more compulsory “trainings” about stuff you’ll never, ever need to know, such as how to keep a job interviewee from telling you he has a criminal record (we’re not making this up). All this is inevitably “facilitated” by jack-booted enforcers bursting into your office demanding to know if they can “assist” your compliance with their 25-page emailed instructions, when the whole point of sending things by email is to enable the recipient to delete it without reading.
Resistance is futile. The Busywork Conspiracy has taken over.
Scene: Underground conference room. Number One, his face hidden behind a blind, sits on a throne stroking a white Persian cat.
Number One: [Nazi accent] Brothers, we’re nearing our goal of world domination at last. Thanks to our transformative reinvention of the the narrative, every profession from medicine to farming has been strategically restructured into exclusively making reports and filling out forms. Hahahahahah!
Number One : Number Two, what progress in the Social Justice Warrior sector?
Number Two: Robust and empowering, sir. Utilizing our scalable initiatives and value-added metrics, we ran it up the flagpole that the purpose of computers is to double the paperwork. The heavy lifting was to repurpose the stakeholders from substantive work into filling out forms and filing reports, but then there’s more than one way to skin a cat.
Number One: OUCH! Fluffy, stop that! It’s just a figure of speech.
Number Three: But sir, what happens after we achieve Busywork Paradise where nobody does anything but fill out forms and make reports? What will there be to report about?
Number One: Idiot! They’ll report about making reports! (presses a button and Number Three’s chair explodes).
Number Two: (wiping off pieces of Number Three from his trousers) We’ve also mindshared the bestpractice of touching base offline.
Number One: You mean, having meetings?
Number Two: Yes, sir. As you know, meetings are the key strategic facilitator for generating new forms and reports. The longer and more frequent the meetings, the greater the perception of passionate engagement with the work. We already have a significant cadre of stakeholders for whom that’s the entire meaning of work.
Number One: (reaching for the button) I hope you’re not suggesting that “work” means something other than filling out forms.
Number Two: (hastily) Perish the thought! No-oooo! (his chair explodes).
Number One: I want a full report by 3 o’clock. Complete with Excel spreadsheet.
All: Yessir, yessir, yessir, yessir.
Tip o’ the hat to Andrew Davidson Corporate Gibberish Generator