Except for a couple of vlog posts, the world has been too crazy, my work too busy, and my new book needed too much attention, so I’ve neglected my blog, which makes me sad 🙁
I thought of doing another video but I’ve been procrastinating, so here’s an old-fashioned blog, even if no one reads anymore.
Anyhow, welcome back to kleimansays.com, and please enjoy responsibly!
Also, please note that the featured photo of The Big Duck, a building out in Flanders, NY on the way to the East End, has nothing to do with the blog post below. I just needed a picture of a duck mailbox and The Big Duck came up. I love The Big Duck. It’s one of my favorite buildings. Did you know that it inspired the architectural term “duck,” meaning a building shaped like what it does or sells? Like that giant donut that you buy donuts from out here. It’s not a donut, it’s a “duck.” Cool right? This reminds me, I need a new Big Duck T-shirt, and maybe a mug. Did I mention I love The Big Duck?
ON “TEAM” WORK
Since when did everyone get on a “team?”
Our team, the new team, team-building. We’re all suddenly on a team. Your team, my team, our team. Aren’t we a good team?
Sports teams I get. A player gets drafted, traded or signed to a team in a city, in a sport with a uniform, a league and a stadium or arena. That’s a team.
In politics, now everyone has a team. Joe and Kamala assembled a team before they took office, recruiting and signing free agents, mostly with tons of experience in their field of expertise.
Trump didn’t really have a “team.” I’m not sure what that was over there in his White House, but a team? Unless perhaps he models his team on George Steinbrenner’s Yankees, where managers were hired to be the “greatest, best” manager, and win championships, only to then be fired, then re-hired, refired, refried… players bought and sold, hero one day, enemy the next… but Steinbrenner had a much better grasp on reality and a much better win/loss record.
When I start a new job and they tell me about the team and the team-building and who’s on the team and how we’re going to work as a team, I’m thinking, when did I get drafted? Where is my uniform? Is there a team trainer and massage therapist? Can I get endorsements? Tickets for family and friends? Do I choose a “walk-up song?” (Note: if I get a walk-up song, it’s Elmer Fudd singing that aria from Die Walküre (formerly Valkyrie), substituting “kill the wabbit” for the real lyrics in the Wagner opera, which are probably just as silly.)
Of course not! So then why this tired, overused “team” analogy? It’s not going to make anything better, really. In fact, it makes things worse. Remember how Billy Martin looked suicidal when he got fired by Steinbrenner the first time? Of course you don’t. No one who reads this blog is old enough, and if you are, you don’t follow the Yanks, but that’s not my point. My point is, when you get fired, or let go, or “re-purposed” or reduced, reused or recycled, it feels much worse getting cut from the team than it would just losing the job. It’s as if the whole team, the team you worked with and fought alongside in the trenches all those years (or weeks) didn’t like you very much, or working with you. You let down the whole team! And so you’ve been put on waivers.
You can count on something stupid happening once you hear the word “team” at your new job. You know you’re going to get a lot of phony, new-corporate, team-building crap. You know, trust exercises, role playing, weekly meetings with bad potluck food (Trader Joe’s aside yer not foolin’ anybody) and awful coffee (Starbucks cold in the carton) and all this rah-rah bullshit, for example, writing suggestions and putting them in the ass of a duck.
Think I’m kidding? This actually happened to me many years ago. Not a real duck, a duck-shaped mailbox that the team leader used as a suggestion box. Or maybe it was a goose? (the photo here is not that one, which was shaped like an actual goose. Or duck.) No one present at the time will ever completely get over that. You think that guy didn’t know how humiliating it was to stick our well-thought suggestions up a duck’s ass? The only thing worse would be if he told us to stick our suggestion up our own ass, which was probably the not-so-secret message… But this begs the question, why a duck?
One thing you don’t want, and that is to be the team leader, or captain, or manager, or whatever it’s called. Oh, sure, maybe there’s a little more pay involved, but at what cost? Now you have to get your team to perform better, like Mr. Martin, or face the consequences, like Mr. Martin, by drinking heavily, getting into fights, and being ridiculed by the Daily News, like Mr. Martin. Not only do you have to worry about being motivated enough to do your own work, now you have to motivate your freakin’ team. You need to light a fire under the lazy ones, or focus the scattered ones. You might even find yourself telling people to put their suggestions into a duck’s ass. And for what, a few extra bucks a month? A resume builder? Please.
The best thing about working in a business environment where everyone is always talking about team, team this, team that… the only good thing to come from that is, you will become so disgusted and annoyed by the whole experience, you’ll be forced to come up with your own idea for a business so you never have to work on a team again. A team of one. Two tops. That’s a duo. Three is a group and hence a potential team, for example for 3-on-3 basketball, or curling. If you want to be on a team, get some folks together and play softball or something like that. You can get uniforms and you might consider including beer in your plan.
In conclusion, it would be beneficial to everyone involved (those that “work”) to drop the phony and contrite team thing and go with the less patronizing “herd.” Thank you.