Tuesday, July 31, 2007

an abundance of idiots

As disappointing as it is, I have grown accustomed to feeling as though I am surrounded by idiots, however it is increasingly disconcerting to be reminded that I also work for idiots. I'm not talking about your regular everyday, average idiots here either. No, we're talking about complete bumbling ones who aren't even bright enough to recognize themselves for what they are.

Do I seem a bit aggravated? My apologies for the rant, but the sheer stupidity of it all has me in a bit of an uproar.

Two weeks ago, our corporate HR guy comes down in an attempt to justify his position, and wastes an hour of our time going over proper phone etiquette and the need for projecting a professional appearance at all times, emphasizing that cleavage is unacceptable. (Bear with me and I'll come back to why this is relevant.)

The following day, the president of the company comes down and shares they have hired a new publisher. I cringe at the name as this woman is notorious for having been involved in a major ethics violation involving fabricated quotes. The president dances around my questioning of this woman's background, asks me to go easy on her and gets the hell out of dodge.

Oh boy here we go!

So late last week, the president comes through again, new publisher in tow and introductions are made. I tried to keep an open mind, really I did, but the woman made my skin crawl. I am blessed with a strong intuition of people's character and am seldom wrong.

Unfortunately I am not blessed with the ability to keep my mouth shut and seem utterly incapable of pursing my lips to the hind quarters of the powers that be.

Having already made up my mind that this woman, notorious for a complete lack of ethics and for throwing her staff under the bus when shit hit the fan, would NOT touch the editorial side of things, I paused before answering her one question of me, "what is it that you need from me?"

Mustering up a wry smile and what I hoped sounded like a sweet southern drawl, I responded, "well, as you can see, we have a pretty well-run operation here. I suppose I simply need for you to allow me to do my job and not call me on Tuesdays."

Yes, I know, I'm an insufferable bitch at times.

Anyway, yesterday, corporate sent down the photo they wanted me to run with the story announcing her hire. I could overlook the bright blue eye shadow, although, at the risk of offending folks, I've never seen a woman who looked good in bright blue eye shadow, but the ample cleavage spilling from the top of her low-cut, sleeveless blouse was almost more than I could bear. Her head was thrown back in a half-mocking, half-playful smile, her large, dangling earrings completing the effect. Somehow I managed to keep my thoughts to myself and prepare the photo for press.

I skimmed through the story that had been sent, noting with surprise that she was said to have received a Bachelor's Degree in Communications from Duke University.

Then, this morning I received my first official email from my new publisher. I have pasted it below for your amusement and so that we can all point our fingers and laugh. This email went out to five editors and the president of the company:

"Good Morning Everyone,

I have had the pleasure of meeting all of you expect for (name deleted to spare the innocent) who I look forward to meeting in the near future.

As we move forward through the remainder of this year and beyond it is important to that all of the papers in our group, as well as within the (name erased to spare the stupid) organization, be on the same page. Our common goal is now and has always been to produce the best newspaper possible for the communities we serve. Papers that are full of local, local, local news that our readers rely on us to provide them. To that end I have ask (name erased to spare the innocent) to head an Editorial task force that will include all of the editors in the group and will meet in (undisclosed location) once every three months. (Name erased to spare the innocent) will be contacting each of you soon to begin scheduling the first on what I hope will be many productive meetings. This is a great opportunity to learn from each other, share ideas,discuss the challenges facing community newspaper and how best to resolve them.

I look forward to working with all of you as we move forward. Please let me know if you have any questions."

(Okay, you can quit laughing now.)

My Lord, do they really expect us to take this woman seriously?

I couldn't help myself and bypassed the chain of command to voice my concern that perhaps, if she was to ever gain the respect of her editors, someone should tactfully point out the handy spelling and grammar check feature available on her computer before she sent out anymore messages. Then I spent the rest of the day laughing at the sheer idiocy of it all, hoping those involved in hiring her at least had the good grace to spend the afternoon hiding under their desks and hoping I wouldn't have to put up with it much longer!


  1. Oooooh, a smorgasbord of practical joking potential! I am proud of you for not using Photoshop to draw horns on her photo or darken the line of her cleavage. Of course, you do have that photo now. The temptation to have fun with it would be overwhelming to me. I suppose it's better to take the high road. Seriously tempting to leave a handout in her in-box about correct usage of "who" and "whom".

    Do you know what else comes to mind? I don't know if you are a Harry Potter fan, but I think she may be Dolores Umbridge. LOL

  2. I'll have to be sure to ask the boy about Dolores Umbridge...

    Don't pat me on the back too much for taking the high road, I had my staff writer spend the morning trying to verify if she had ever even attended Duke, much less received a degree!

  3. it's amazing that some people even manage to function

  4. It makes you wonder what the tipping point was - in her favor - when they were in the midst of the hiring process. You're right, it is so absurd its funny.

    You should read the most recent post on www.mattresspolice.com. Its basically the same subject matter, and I think you'd enjoy it.

  5. Thanks Hollygl, I rolled! What a great site!

  6. I'm no English teacher but I have also come across a media manager recently in my job who can neither spell nor use proper grammar [or should that be either/or] and it gets my goat too :)