Information Technology as a Profession

To say that there’s such thing as a 0 defect or perhaps 6 sigma achievements for IT implementations is like saying that you porked 6 million women and no one’s pregnant cause all of them were sterile. Odds are; you’re the one that’s shooting blanks.

The problem with IT is that it’s not a professional degree, if you extrapolate the word “professional” contextually, you could say that IT is not even a “profession”. Accreditation is not governed by any one body but MANY bodies. Most of them disappear after the company goes belly up or swallowed by another company. There’s no need to be “licensed” to practice and a vainly worded “software disclaimer” notice is all you need versus a professional indemnity insurance. On top of that, you can charge USD1K-5K per day for services; depending on how Caucasian you look or SGD1K-5K depending on how Caucasian you sound.

IT FACT 1: There’s no real way to tell whether the person you hired is good just by paper qualifications; because most of it are gobbledygook.

Try to spot the differences - CISSP, CISA, CCNP, CCIE, MCITP, WTF, MILF, ROTFL and MOFO

IT FACT 2: Even if the so called IT professional is good in one thing, it doesn’t make him good in the practice of IT.

If IT was medicine and the professional a heart transplant specialist then; the heart valve would come from Cisco, the tissue replacement from Intel and the whole heart from IBM and on the side, the doctor would be pushing you a Java based heart from open source market on the cheap. Plus he’s probably certified by HP and has never worked on IBM equipment before but claims that it’s “all the same”.

IT FACT 3: Because there are no professionals, you; the customer can dictate pricing, parts and scheduling. Best part is, the IT “professional” almost always agrees.

“Doc, I don’t give a shit what you say, I have my honeymoon coming up so I want my heart transplant done in 2 hours and discharge me immediately. I plan to boink my wife all through the trip! My friend says that the doc next door can do it in 2 hours so I won’t have anything less!!!”, the doctor smiles reluctantly, calls the nurse to page the 10 other doctors on duty because a 20 hour operation can be shrunk to 2 by sheer number of doctors.

IT FACT 4: I have no balls Sir, I have a punane (No offence to people who have punanes)
That pretty much describes IT management. The customer is always right and everything can be fixed by having the staff not sleep, and sheer resource math. Then there’s the gwailo coefficient, the whiter he is, the better the perceived outcome of the project. There’s also this argument by a manager, let’s go live first and see how it works, all the testing in the world is not going to help find real world bugs. It’s like a chief engineer going “let’s have the building load up with people to see if it collapses...”

IT FACT 5: There’s no such thing as failures, just delays and more budget requirements.
As long as the project objective is met, it’s ok that the sutures are still bleeding out while you’re screwing your wife. If you die, statistically, the operation is still a success as more than 50% of the patients survived.

My message to all you “customers” and “managers” out there who feels validated in dictating IT timeless, budgets and resources, I say this – "‘May you be stewed and boiled by a high fever, you son/daughter of a dog.’"

To IT Managers who acquiesce and paints this wonderful picture that everything is possible – "KOOS IMEK...!!!"

To end I was even more surprised discovering that Divinity and Ministry is offered as a 1st Professional Degree. Information Technology degree was no where in sight, closest I suppose was “information science” but no where was Computer Sciences or IT, deemed a professional degree.

Sure, I’ve already mentioned that, but consider this - studying the invisible man in the sky is more “professional” than studying vapourware.

Chronic/Acute Cowardism

I think it's about time that I talked about this, as we've hired a middle manager that simply epitomizes this condition.

Required was a simple answer to the question of whether the team was ready with the presentation to boss. So this manager; being the "team lead" rightfully should have the answer. We had a conference call and all and I followed up with an email confirming the conversation.

Instead of replying with a definite YES or NO, He sends his staff to "handle" the situation.

Meaning. He meant "NO", but fears replying in writing for some reason or another. All i could do was laugh away at the other end of the phone.

Well soon enough the team took hold of his reputation and guess what?

More members of the organization requests for transfers to his department!

Especially because of his chronic fear; which not only includes the fear of looking bad for reporting that he can't control the team members; but also of any form of reprimands and disciplining.

Seriously, this is NOT a made up story. It's kinda like a working level corporate joke. Best part is, nobody dares to inform the CEO of what's happening cause the new boss created this "reputation" of alienating anyone who complains about anyone else.

It's deemed as "unprofessional" in his book, or not Teamwork like.

SO, end result.
  1. Every departmental meetings starts with everyone patting each others back about what good stuff they have done helping each other.
  2. The manager's direct boss claims that this manager is the "best manager" that he's hired.
  3. The team members claim that he's the best darn manager there is, cause the team OWNS him
Everyone's HAPPY, the CEO gets to hear what he wants to hear. The Middle Manager gets to continue pretending to be a manager, and the team gets to fuck around while getting paid.

It's like a very low budget parody of Dilbert, starring Robert Englund.

Bio Break

It used to be just a "break" in the middle of the meeting...
somehow, managers think it's cool to add "bio" in front... I mean, must a break be biological by nature.

Why not a "logical" break... or a break from all wanking and whining that typically goes on in a meeting.

Why you shouldn't add your boss in Facebook

From a blog somewhere

5 minute - Management Course (Collection of Oldies)

Lesson 1:
A man is getting into the shower just as his wife is finishing up her shower, when the doorbell rings. The wife quickly wraps herself in a towel and runs downstairs. When she opens the door, there stands Bob, the next-door neighbour. Before she says a word, Bob says, 'I'll give you $800
to drop that towel.' After thinking for a moment, the woman drops her towel and stands naked in front of Bob, after a few seconds, Bob hands her $800 and leaves.

The woman wraps back up in the towel and goes back upstairs. When she gets to the bathroom, her husband asks, 'Who was that?' 'It was Bob the next door neighbour,' she replies.
'Great,' the husband says, 'did he say anything about the $800 he owes me?'

Moral of the story:

If you share critical information pertaining to credit and risk with your shareholders in time,
you may be in a position to prevent avoidable exposure.

Lesson 2:
A priest offered a Nun a lift. She got in and crossed her legs, forcing her gown to reveal a leg. The priest nearly had an accident. After controlling the car, he stealthily slid his hand up her leg.
The nun said, 'Father, remember Psalm 129?' The priest removed his hand. But, changing
gears, he let his hand slide up her leg again. The nun once again said, 'Father, remember
Psalm 129?' The priest apologized 'Sorry sister but the flesh is weak.'
Arriving at the convent, the nun sighed heavily and went on her way.
On his arrival at the church, the priest rushed to look up Psalm 129. It said, 'Go forth and seek,
further up, you will find glory.'

Moral of the story:
If you are not well informed in your job, you might miss a great opportunity.

Lesson 3:
A sales rep, an administration clerk, and the manager are walking to lunch when they find
an antique oil lamp. They rub it and a Genie comes out. The Genie says, 'I'll give each of you just one wish.' 'Me first! Me first!' says the admin clerk. 'I want to be in the Bahamas , driving a speedboat, without a care in the world.'

Puff! She's gone.

'Me next! Me next!' says the sales rep.. 'I want to be in Hawaii , relaxing on the beach with my
personal masseuse, an endless supply of Pina Coladas and the love of my life.' Puff! He's gone.
'OK, you're up,' the Genie says to the manager. The manager says, 'I want those two back in the
office after lunch.'

Moral of the story:
Always let your boss have the first say.

Lesson 4
An eagle was sitting on a tree resting, doing nothing. A small rabbit saw the eagle and asked him,
'Can I also sit like you and do nothing?' The eagle answered: 'Sure, why not.' So, the rabbit sat on the ground below the eagle and rested. All of a sudden, a fox appeared, jumped on the rabbit and ate it.

Moral of the story:
To be sitting and doing nothing, you must be sitting very, very high up.

Lesson 5
A turkey was chatting with a bull. 'I would love to be able to get to the top of that tree' sighed the turkey, 'but I haven't got the energy.' 'Well, why don't you nibble on some of my droppings?' replied the bull. They're packed with nutrients.'

The turkey pecked at a lump of dung, and found it actually gave him enough strength
to reach the lowest branch of the tree. The next day, after eating some more dung,
he reached the second branch. Finally after a fourth night, the turkey was proudly perched at the top of the tree.. He was promptly spotted by a farmer, who shot him out of the tree.

Moral of the story:
Bull Shit might get you to the top, but it won't keep you there..

Lesson 6
A little bird was flying south for the winter. It was so cold the bird froze and fell to the ground into a large field. While he was lying there, a cow came by and dropped some dung on him.
As the frozen bird lay there in the pile of cow dung, he began to realize how warm he was.
The dung was actually thawing him out! He lays there all warm and happy, and soon
began to sing for joy. A passing cat heard the bird singing and came to investigate.
Following the sound, the cat discovered the bird under the pile of cow dung, and promptly dug him out and ate him.

Morals of the story:
(1) Not everyone who shits on you is your enemy.
(2) Not everyone who gets you out of shit is your friend.
(3) And when you're in deep shit, it's best to keep your mouth shut!

Resigning Gracefully

Perhaps I was a tad too harsh in the previous posting on resignations. Here's the top 10 things to do before you resign.

  1. Copy the address book of all your corporate customers and accounts.
  2. Copy the address book of all your colleagues, you never know when you may just spam them with want adds or unit trust deals.
  3. Be chummy with just about everyone.
  4. Find 5 people to have lunch with. At least.
  5. Out of the 5 people, find 2 that will be your potential referee
  6. Out of the 2, find 1 that's willing to bend the truth a bit :p
  7. When HR do call you in for your exit interview. Just tell them how thankful you are for your current job, but thanks anyway cause the next job just pays too well. Even if its not true.
  8. If you're the lucky few which the CEO do summon to his office for a farewell chit chat. You really have 2 options. A) Tell him the real reason why you're leaving. B) Repeat the same dribble you told HR. Either way, sound positive and not some whiny wanker.
  9. Shred everything. I know, some people say that this is illegal, but it really depends on the company's policy. In the first place, nobody really cares about those documentation in the first place. On the other hand, you may wish to keep some documentation with the CEO's signatures just in case.
  10. Last but not least, your handover documentation. Usually, it's something that you do last if nothing at all. But then again nobody reads any documents these days, so whatever you've produced is really a summary of interesting bits that you may want to take with you on your next job.

The Difference between You and Your Boss

When you take a long time, you're slow.
When your boss takes a long time, he's thorough.

When you don't do it, you're lazy.
When your boss doesn't do it, he's too busy.

When you make a mistake, you're an idiot.
When your boss makes a mistake, he's only human.

When doing something without being told, you're overstepping your authority.
When your boss does the same thing, that's initiative.

When you take a stand, you're being bull-headed.
When your boss does it, he's being firm.

When you overlooked a rule of etiquette, you're being rude.
When your boss skips a few rules, he's being original.

When you please your boss, you're apple polishing.
When your boss pleases his boss, he's being co-operative.

When you're out of the office, you're wandering around.
When your boss is out of the office, he's on business.

When you're on a day off sick, you're always sick.
When your boss is a day off sick, he must be very ill.

When you apply for leave, you must be going for an interview.
When your boss applies for leave, it's because he's overworked.


Not original, taken online somewhere...


I don't know about the Western world... but in Asia, there's this unspoken law about resignations - You're not suppose to tell people what you're going to do or where you're going. At best you make up an excuse like,

"my mum's sick... or you have a permanent hernia that's leaking bile and crap, so it won't be fair for your office mates to deal with it".

IMHO, it's pure Dark Management bull behaviour. You've probably fucked up so bad, that you're afraid that your current employer will call up your new boss explaining intimate details of the screw up.

Secondly, when you do bump into your old boss; you'd have this weird ass look of someone thinking up another lie explaining why you're with a Vendor which you've signed a 3 year non-compete agreement during your previous employment.

Be a man!

Just own up and tell the whole world that you're leaving your current Gawd forsaken dump for the next dump. Who knows; folks may just think you have balls for a change. Not to mention how mortal enemies now suddenly come right at you and give you a congratulatory pat in the back...

"No hard feelings yah, and good luck"

"Sure, thanks mate", and what you really want to say is... "Fuck you and die!"

The Balloon

A man flying in a hot air balloon realizes he is lost. He reduces his altitude and spots a man in a field down below. He lowers the balloon further and shouts, "Excuse me, can you tell me where I am?"

The man below says, "Yes, you're in a hot air balloon, about 30 feet above this field."

"You must be an engineer," says the balloonist.

"I am. How did you know?"

"Everything you told me is technically correct, but it's of no use to anyone."

The man below says, "You must be in management."

"I am. But how did you know?"

"You don't know where you are, or where you're going, but you expect me to be able to help. You're in the same position you were before we met, but now it's my fault."

Cognitive Distortions

Another affliction taken from
I've come to the conclusion that perhaps some dark mangers just do not know that they have these diseases; well, at least wishing that helps me sleep. For me to think that any individual can be diabolically vile and commit to premeditated actions is just too depressing.

Many cognitive distortions are also logical fallacies; related links are suggested in parentheses.
  1. All-or-nothing thinking - Thinking of things in absolute terms, like "always", "every" or "never". Few aspects of human behavior are so absolute. (See false dilemma.)

  2. Overgeneralization - Taking isolated cases and using them to make wide generalizations. (See hasty generalization.)

  3. Mental filter - Focusing exclusively on certain, usually negative or upsetting, aspects of something while ignoring the rest. For example, focusing on a tiny imperfection in a piece of otherwise useful clothing. (See misleading vividness.)

  4. Disqualifying the positive - Continually "shooting down" positive experiences for arbitrary, ad hoc reasons. (See special pleading.)

  5. Jumping to conclusions - Assuming something negative where there is no evidence to support it. Two specific subtypes are also identified:
    • Mind reading - Assuming the intentions of others.
    • Fortune telling - Predicting how things will turn before they happen. (See slippery slope.)

  6. Magnification and minimization - Inappropriately understating or exaggerating the way people or situations truly are. Often the positive characteristics of other people are exaggerated and negative characteristics are understated. There is one subtype of magnification:
    • Catastrophizing - Focusing on the worst possible outcome, however unlikely, or thinking that a situation is unbearable or impossible when it is really just uncomfortable.

  7. Emotional reasoning - Making decisions and arguments based on how you feel rather than objective reality. (See appeal to consequences.)

  8. Making should statements - Concentrating on what you think "should" or ought to be rather than the actual situation you are faced with, or having rigid rules which you think should always apply no matter what the circumstances are. Albert Ellis termed this "Musturbation". (See wishful thinking.)

  9. Labeling and mislabeling - Explaining behaviors or events, merely by naming them; related to overgeneralization. Rather than describing the specific behavior, you assign a label to someone or yourself that puts them in absolute and unalterable terms. Mislabeling involves describing an event with language that is highly colored and emotionally loaded.

  10. Personalization (or attribution) - Assuming you or others directly caused things when that may not have been the case. (See illusion of control.) When applied to others, blame is an example.

Narcissistic personality disorder

According to DSM IV-TR (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) criteria and taken from Wikipedia,

A pervasive pattern of grandiosity (in fantasy or behavior), need for admiration, and lack of empathy, beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts, as indicated by five (or more) of the following:[1]
  1. Has a grandiose sense of self-importance
    Which gets translated to an inordinate amount of budget being allocated to offices with plus chairs and secretaries. Not to forget bookshelves that typically gets stocked with books that you don't read, and folders that are really empty.

  2. Is preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty or ideal love (megalomania)
    Seriously, this is beyond me.... :p

  3. Believes they are "special" and can only be understood by, or should associate with, people (or institutions) who are also "special" or of high status
    A general manager should never seek advise from a senior manager, should never seek advice from a manager and so forth...

  4. Requires excessive admiration
    It's your birthday, and you're wondering where's the gift baskets from your staff and the vendors.

  5. Has a sense of entitlement
    If the managerial office in Tower 2 is larger than Tower 1, it'll potentially appear in next week's Management Minutes

  6. Is interpersonally exploitative
    When management suddenly asks you out for lunch... be wary... be extremely wary.

  7. Lacks empathy
    Calling your staff at 3am in the morning and asking him to drive 200km to the data center on a Christmas Saturday makes perfect sense.

  8. Is often envious of others or believes others are envious of him or her
    Let's be honest now, your day gets ruin should you notice that your staff has a notebook with better specs.

  9. Shows arrogant, haughty behaviors or attitudes
    Really? Me? I'm always patient and humble towards everyone that I deal with.
There's also a certain pattern that I noticed, Dark Managers with this sickness tends to be short ~ Napoleon Syndrome perhaps? More importantly, they typically don't get promoted any higher up in the food chain and retires as a Manager or if they're lucky a Senior Manager.

Lastly, the worst of the lot are Senior Executives that never makes Manager. Personally, someone should shove em to a loony bin and throw away the keys; and these people supports my case on the uselessness of psychometric tests to weed out these individuals...

To Toe/Tow the Line

Dark Managers also suffer from a parrot reflex of repeating phrases that the CEO uses. At the moment, "towing the line" seems to be spreading around.

It's so odd how its being used in just about every situation. E.g. if the boss shits and you wipe his ass; that's also known as towing the line.

When I did a quick check on wikipedia, it was originally written as to "toe the line" as in when an army commander calls his soldiers to attention, they stand abreast of each other, with each soldier looking down to ensure his/her toes are on the line.

So maybe that's true too, in the even the boss walks by, you'd want your subordinates to "toe the line" and in corporate speak; that means a clean desk, arms always clenching a deck of freshly printed powerpoint presentation plus a 300 page leather bound organizer. Nevermind that you also carry a phone PDA.

Nevermind also that the PowerPoint presentation is merely 5 pages long, but you've printed 20 copies of it just to make it look big.

Governance - Dark Management Style

After working with Governance or Councils or Committees for the last 5 odd years. It dawned on me that perhaps there's a deeper meaning to the purpose of these proceedings:-

1) When any hanky panky needs to be done "officially"
2) To stop any other hanky panky that is not your own
3) To make decisions backed by articles prepared by preferably institutions that are based in US or UK (does not matter that the study is conducted on only American or British soil exclusively). As long as the recommendations are "backed" by those study, somehow responsibility for the decision making is absolved.
4) To ensure that all traceability of accountability does not stick to the governance body.
5) where possible, to deny any initiatives because its better to be safe than sorry.
6) To make decisions that are for the benefit of the Governance/Council/Committee members and hardly ever for the business
7) To pretend that they care only when there is a user representative.

It's also typically manned by folks that are over the hill; the type that just can't get promoted or transferred anywhere else cause nobody really wants them.

I know, its not a funny or sarcastic post... i'm just pissed.

The Rowing Team - Malaysian Version

A Japanese company and a Malaysian company decided to have a canoe race on the Rejang River.

On the big day, the Japanese won by a mile.

The Malaysians, very discouraged and depressed, decided to investigate the reason for the crushing defeat. A management team made up of senior management was formed to investigate and recommend appropriate action. Their conclusion was the Japanese had 8 people rowing and 1 person steering, while the Malaysian team had 4 governance personnel, a supervisor, a stamping officer, and an assistant offier which checks that the stamping officer has rightfully stamped the supervisor's decisions on how fast the single rower should row. Nobody really knows what the governance personnel do other than deliberating whether the rower is using the correct rowing technique from articles that they subscribe to from a rowing site. So the Malaysian management hired a consulting company and paid them a large amount of money for a second opinion.

They also advised that there were too many people "not rowing" and while the processes and deliberations are important the number of people required can be reduced. The PM was sent the report and he immediately threw it aside.

He decided to let go of the 2 stamping officers, kept the supervisor and made the governance personnel dual role as stampers and governance. Which meant that now the governance people were referring to even more articles both on supervision and rowing. The PM increased the rowers to 3, placed his son and his 2 best friends in the team for exposure.

The next year, the Malaysian team won by two miles!

The 3 rowers were frat buddies with the Japanese rowing team and agreed that they would throw the race in exchange for a business deal. The 4 governance officers still debated only now each one of them felt that the other person was too stupid to understand where they're coming from. The supervisor on the other hand gave an emotional speech thanking everyone for their contributions and everyone got their bonuses. Especially the 3 rowers which immediately became senior managers and needed replacements for next year's race.

Happy and elated, they decided that the following year's team should be the same 4 governance personnel, a single rower, the stamping officer, the assistance stamping officer and the supervisor...

Because the lessons learned database would have enough information to beat the Japanese again

The Rowing Team - An Oldie but a Goldie

A Japanese company and an American company decided to have a canoe race on the Missouri River.

Both teams practiced long and hard to reach their peak performance before the race.

On the big day, the Japanese won by a mile.

The Americans, very discouraged and depressed, decided to investigate the reason for the crushing defeat. A management team made up of senior management was formed to investigate and recommend appropriate action. Their conclusion was the Japanese had 8 people rowing and 1 person steering, while the American team had 8 people steering and 1 person rowing. So American management hired a consulting company and paid them a large amount of money for a second opinion.

They advised that too many people were steering the boat, while not enough people were rowing. To prevent another loss to the Japanese, the rowing team's management structure was totally reorganized to 4 steering supervisors, 3 area steering superintendents and 1 assistant superintendent steering manager. They also implemented a new performance system that would give the 1 person rowing the boat greater incentive to work harder. It was called the ' Rowing Team Quality First Program' , with meetings, dinners and free pens for the rower. There was discussion of getting new paddles, canoes and other equipment, extra vacation days for practices and bonuses.

The next year the Japanese won by two miles.

Humiliated, the American management laid off the rower for poor performance, halted development of a new canoe, sold the paddles, and cancelled all capital investments for new equipment. The money saved was distributed to the Senior Executives as bonuses and the next year's racing team was outsourced to India.

Psychometrics don't work well with Asians

Perhaps in this global economy and overwhelming exposure to MTV and American sitcoms and hopefully not British ones like Little Britain; we may all be westernized. I mean, there's a huge difference between race and culture. For example, you could be culturally American but Indian (the Asian kind) racially.

The problem with applying psychometric tests like Myers-Briggs, Cubik's PAPI personality tests and the sorts are that the statistical sampling of results are gathered from prepubescent Americans going through freshmen year; and besides making some money as personality test subjects; side income are also derived from donating sperm or ovarian cells. What's scary is that the "base psychological" profile is then used as a yardstick to measure other people. When applied to Asians you can get pretty warped results.

For example, if you ask an Asian whether he'd report his boss to the authorities for soliciting money from vendors. He'd probably answer no; because his boss is potentially his father and the vendor's his uncle.

Secondly, Asians are taught to be meek towards folks who are:-
  • Older than they are
  • Magically in bred among the Sultanates or of Kingly bloodline. In which case, that person is still a demi God
  • Children and family members of major conglomorates. The new "aristocrats" of current times; if you may.
In which case; assessments on Assertiveness will not be accurate. Another example, if you're culturally Japanese maybe then tests on making decisions will not be clear cut. Being Chinese if there's a test for greed they'd probably score extremely high.

I hence posit that psychometrics should first start with determining your cultural orientation. With questions like:-

  1. Which do you prefer; a Dirty Sanchez or getting stroodled?
  2. What happens when you puff the dragon?
  3. Do you think its way cool to exclaim "mother-Chot!"?
  4. Do you "Tah Fei Kei" or paint the ceiling?
  5. Are kelentits are delicacy in South East Asia; and why?

Good Management vs Dark Management

“Good management is the art of making problems so interesting and their solutions so constructive that everyone wants to get to work and deal with them.” - Paul Hawken

"Dark Management is the art of making problems so minuscule and their solutions so destructive that everyone does nothing and believe that they're better off not dealing with it." - Dr. Kervokian


“A good manager is a man who isn't worried about his own career but rather the careers of those who work for him.” - H. S. M. Burns

“A dark manager is a man/woman who isn't worried about his own career but rather curries it from those he work for.” - Dr. Kervokian

People who gripe about Nepocronysm

I've come to the realization that people who gripe about nepocronysm have one or more of the following symptoms:-
  1. They don't have beer buddies
  2. They tend to have lunch alone
  3. Spend most of their time "meeting friends" online
  4. Plays golf on the PC
  5. Prefers to wank off compared to sex
  6. Only meets with "real people" when they want something from you
As a Dark Manager and by reading this blog; you hereby swear that you WILL make time for your friends and families even if they have BO.

Getting Subordinates to do more than expected

Last week I was asked how on how I'd manage a situation where the manager has assigned an R&D duty to a staff that has never done that before.

First off, I inquired as to whether she accepted the task or not; and the answer was yes. Well, that means you have there is a person with good attitude who willingly accepts "challenges". However, I was enlightened to the fact that she does not even know where to start & the manager didn't bother to check on her leaving her to gripe to this friend of mine.

Which brings me to the conclusion that :-
  1. She's an excellent Dark Management candidate for accepting "challenges" beyond her abilities.
  2. The manager is fucked
Primarily "because" she has such "good" attitude, the subordinate will probably not tell the manager that the task can't be done until probably the final 2 hours. And secondly; the manager assumes that by divesting responsibility the problem lies with the staff.

As a dark manager I'd apply Principle 5 from "Your First Day as a Dark manager" where you load up your most capable staff to avoid the situation in the first place. Unfortunately; this manager is now forced to apply the methods in what to do when the shit hits the fan.

How to Minute your Meetings

I've spoken on Decidophobia or the fear of making decisions and diluting the chain of responsibility. So, the correct ways to minute your meetings are:-

  1. Whenever there's a decision, never say Person A requested for clarification or Person B approves. You dilute it by saying; Department A requested for clarification or Committee C approves the recommendation to purchase a 52 inch LCD to display glorious corporate achievements at the reception area.

  2. Always state everyone that's present and not present in the meeting.
    By not being there you can:-
    • Deny that you know about the topic at all
    • Not have to attend any domestic inquiries when people are questioned on why three 52 inch LCDs were purchased but only 1 was ever used. Naturally, the minutes would have state in minute detail that according to Gartner Group best practices include keeping spares.

  3. Never endorse anything wholesale, always come to a landing with clauses. The committee will endorse proposal for the LCD TV provided that the vendor has 3 years worth of clear credit history, a local owned company as a sub-contractor for servicing and maintenance, an ROI report for its usage and impact analysis on electricity bill.

    The inane requests prove that the committee has done its job.
My CEO calls it "all the bullshit that's put in place to cover one's ass", which is kinda poetic since an ass is where turd comes from anyway...


If you're old enough; you'd probably remember the whole TQM hype popularized by Japan's miraculous recovery post 2 nuclear bombs and WW2. Here's the thing that management sold in the 60s through to the 80s, that Edward Deming was the guru behind their recovery with the adoption of Deming's Quality philosophy~ Plan->Do->Check->Act yada2...

Here's my take -> pure hogwash! The Japanese as a culture have always been perfectionists and they conquered China while Deming was still pushing papers in university. They even booted the Russian during the Russo-Japanese war circa 1904-05.

So why all the hullabaloo on Deming? Simple; cause he's a Whiteman in Asia (See Halo Effect) and you know what they say about the victor stating history as they see fit. Anyway, fast forward a couple more years and TQM turned into the many ISO variations, British Standards, ITIL, CMMI the list goes on. The latest being "Business Process Management" and "Enterprise Architecture"

In a nutshell, you define all the organization's key processes within its value chain in bringing products and services to the customer; tracking the transformation from raw material to valuables. While doing so you measure the performance of these processes and "optimize" it as you find bottlenecks and weaknesses.

Problem is, what typically happens in Asia is this:-
  1. A 60 page (Asians write poorly so they try to keep it short) document that does not get updated or "optimized" even if it takes 9 months to replace a notebook for the customer. It's either the vendor's fault or the customer filled the requisition forms incorrectly.

  2. A flow document that has RACI (Responsible, Accountable, Consulted, Informed) roles defined which does not exist in the organization

  3. Everyone goes into a spree of documentation, the team lead gets promoted; then nobody knows what to do with it next.

  4. Every six months, the head of Governance proclaims that the company has moved from CMMI level 3 to 4 then 5. They have a huge party; but it still takes 9 months to replace the said notebook.

  5. The operations team dream up random numbers to incident reports just to fulfill the process criteria.

  6. Folks get shipped to expensive overseas training on the subject only to be transfered 6 months later cause another department is short of staff.

The result of which are fancy websites with process flows and documentation that is as far from reality as the Sales Manager's quarterly predictions. So why do Asian organizations still persist in achieving such certifications?

Simple, cause dark managers are running riot in the company; and there's nothing like process documentations that get thrown at you like it's the Torah. A bureucrats wet dream is to attain ISO certification; and when you have ISO, ITIL and CMMI together; it may as well be an orgy.

p/s: The US Department of Defense Enteprise Architecture Documentation is well over 1,000 pages.

Disappearing creatively

Besides selective amnesia, the mind meld method and taichi, there's the lamest tactic of all - Excuses...

It's typically used by junior dark managers because the "flee mechanism" is still very instinctive. Throughout my working life, I've heard many; but the following are the more creative ones
  1. The Father/Mother/Wife/Girlfriend/daughter/son emergency
    There's just so many permutations to go about this, and if you've noticed the rule of thumb; it has to be your most immediate relatives.
    Wife - pregnancy; failure to get pregnant; pregnant but with complications. There's nothing like the notion of an unborn child in distress.
    Father - major illness like cancer, renal failure (something thats protracted where ppl dun die that quickly while being depressing enough)
    Son/Daughter - High fever. Honestly, i think that's really lame, but it somehow works.
    Brother/Sister - loan shark problem. This is really good, cause you come off as a goody big brother/sister role model that your family depends on.

  2. The most recent transmitted decease emergency.
    It used to be SARS, then the Bird flu and the most recent the Swine flu. The cool part about this is the quarantine procedures. You and I know that Human Resources are typically too lazy I mean busy to check whether the person really did either contract the decease or not. Heck, they probably wont even come near you with a 10 feet pole. By virtue of association you get yourself a 5-7 day full salary paid leave, having fun with your PS3 at home.

  3. Emergency Meeting with the VP/President/CEO
    This works as well because no one ever checks where's the head honcho is, let alone bother to ask the secretary of his location. This may even be true, as you could always magically find the time to help the boss synch his blackberry with outlook... something that you've been putting off just for this situation

  4. The family holiday to Australia just came up.
    And guess what, it somehow always come up the week after a major incident where the big presentation to the customer needs to happen. So the chief peon (your no.2 guy needs to do it on your behalf)

    There' a slight nuance to excuse 4; if it's the presentation to your boss; you want to do it yourself cause the presenter might blame it on you. But if its to the customer; the unspoken "code of not making your company look like a useless dick that it is infront of your customer" applies. So you're safe!

Decidophobia - The Fear of Making Decisions

Checkout the wikipedia entry here: Decidophobia

There's essentially no cure, but a common solution would be a "dilution" of authority via consensus or communal decision making. We tend to call it "The Management Committee"

Berkowitz vs Kowalski

There's just something about Jewish names and court cases. It makes it sound horrendously expensive like some KKR leverage buyout. The same should apply with how Dark Managers name their departments. Lobbing your foreskin doesn't cut it anymore, you gotta have the kippah and curly sideburns to earn the credibility.

Most Dark Managers make the mistake of naming the department as per it's intention. So here's some suggestions to lend a little false sense of grandeur:-

Objective:The lame ass grind of PC Support and answering phone calls from wankers.
Potential Names: Office Automation, End Computing Support
Better: Corporate Computing Services

Objective:The collection of reports that will eventually be fudged to make the ugly look good, and the good look beautiful.
Potential Names: Corporate Governance, Corporate Planning
Better: Corporate Strategic Intelligence

I mean, some rules of thumb apply;
  1. If it works out to a 3 letter Acronym that sounds like a grander organization, CSI, FBI, NSA etc then the better it gets.
  2. 2 Letter Acronyms are lame
  3. 4 Letter ones better sound like a cool misspelled profanity e.g FCUK
  4. When all else fails, don't ask an engineer or a geek. They tend to come up with horrendous puns and snicker away at their supposed ingenuity.
  5. If you're adventurous enough to invent a nonsense word e.g. Accenture or Avanade; you better have a killer 30 second spiel or be already famous to begin with. (Well; being the Board of Director's nephew works as well)

How to handle Dumb and Dumber

A friend asked; what do I do with staffs that are just too dumb to be any good. To be honest, all the training in the world is not going to change him/her because "dumbness" is an attitude; not a skill deficiency.

It's like a sense of initiative or curiosity, it is not a condition or an affliction, but a state of mind. So a Dark Manager will take one of the following options

a) Assign him to the most mind numbing task possible, as typically folks at the shallow end of the IQ spectrum have a high threshold for boredom.
b) Give him a glorious commendation to be transferred to another department.

Either way, out of sight, out of mind.

Seriously though, dark managers love dumb resources because it's the few people in the world that can withstand the dark manager's ingenuity (note: sarcasm).

When you work with stupid people

The hinges to my notebook starts giving way and I mistakenly approached the peons instead of working my way down from the department head. So this is what I got

"According to our record, your notebook will be reaching its leasing maturity period in less than 3 months from now. So, if the current one still can be stretched for this period of time, we will be very grateful for your understanding. Should the notebook fails completely, then we will assist to find you a replacement unit, though it may be a challenge as we do not keep any spares"

Try replacing that email with a doctor patient scenario:-

“I am sorry, but your pacemaker is up for renewal only in 3 months time, we know its faulty now; but hopefully it will last that long… but if it kaputs on you we will try to find a replacement pacemaker… and I hope you understand that it’s really hard to find a replacement when it breakdown too, cause we don’t keep spares… ”

Which brings to mind Carol:-


I saw this in one of those websites asking whether there's a medical name for the fear of signing one's name.

"Scriptophobia" is fear of writing in public. "Nomatophobia" is fear of names.

So perhaps Scriptonomatophobia is the fear of signing one's name on a document that can be traced to you when the shit hits the fan.

What they should have mentioned is that Dark Managers carry this sickness like a recessive gene. The more dark managers they are in the company, the more Scriptonomatophobic managers take time off or work out an excuse to tai chi authorizations to a subordinate or to another department.

Leadership & Management

I got this from an old boss which I highly respect.

There's essentially 2 types of people that I've worked with:-
  • 1) Leaders with a clear vision who are catalysts to positive change
  • 2) Highly paid rubber stampers with an ego that match their salary -> The Dark Manager!

Myers Briggs were Wearing Rose Tinted Glasses...

The problem with all these psychometric tests is that, it assumes that the test taker will answer honestly... and that's like asking a cat to chew cud for a Dark Manager.

Here's the Dark Manager's Version of Myers Briggs test:-

Favourite World
  • Extraversion(E) - they bitch all the time about everything to Everyone and its always someone elses fault. (dysmorphic fault myopia syndrom or a dumb fuck management sod). You also hear stuff like "ohhh i use to do that when i was young... i was the best... I was trained in such and such", but you'll never see them actually doing it with a 10 feet pole
  • Introversion(I) - they bitch all the time about everything to THEMSELVES and looks like they're about to go postal.
  • Sensing(S)
    The dark manager that uses facts and intimate knowledge of bureaucracy in order not to work.
  • Intuition(N)
    Builds extrapolations of the worst possible scenario based on completely irrelevant facts that because dogs eat cat turd, these 2 animals can't get along. Sorta like how operations team takes all the crap from projects
  • Thinking(T)
    Scrawny dark managers with glasses that spends 2 whole months to work out a matrix that says there should be another study just to corroborate this study.
  • Feeling(F)
    You're probably a single female, potentially late 30s to 40s. If you're married, you've not been porked for 2 years. If you're male, you're going through male menopause.
  • Judging (J)
    I "love" judgers because they come to conclusions really fast, and they talk fast and never let you finish your sentence cause they're assuming that the everyone sees the world as they do. They are also extremely easy to communicate with because they say that they do understand everything you just said; yet does something completely differently. They also fall in love with you at first sight just because you're tall or have good teeth or speaks with a Caucasoid foreign accent. Typically these are the only people that makes them pause and actually listen. (Asians can go dig a hole and die quietly).
  • Perceiving(P)
    You hear phrases like "we will cross the bridge once we get there"; they'd do everything just to meet some dateline which they've shrunk by 50% to please the boss. Probably decides to add 20 more function points on the fly cause it seems cool and then removes 10 of them 2 hours before the dateline.
If you haven't read psychometric tests and interviews go here.

Who's In Charge

I tend to repeat this "story" whenever I'm assigned tasks which I deem to be improbable or bound for failure. For example, being responsible for something without the authority...


All the organs of the body were having a meeting, trying to decide who was in charge.

"I should be in charge", said the brain, because I run all the body's systems, so without me nothing would happen".

"I should be in charge", said the blood, "because I circulate oxygen all over, so without me you'd all waste away".

"I should be in charge", said the stomach, "because I process food and give all of you energy".

"I should be in charge", said the rectum, "because I'm responsible for waste removal".

All the other body parts laughed at the rectum and insulted him, so in a huff, he shut down tight. Within a few days, the brain had a terrible headache, the stomach was bloated, and the blood was toxic.

Eventually the other organs gave in. They all agreed that the rectum should be the boss.

The moral of the story?

You don't have to be smart or important to be in charge... just an asshole.

A Boss that's smarter than you

What do you do when your boss is smarter than you? Or thinks he is...? After which, comes up with this gargantuan plan for the company that encroaches on how operations have always run (Some hints on what you shouldn't do appear as well)
  1. Congratulate the almighty prescient leader like it's Godsend.
    Some people would think that, hey, gee... what if the idea has loop holes...?
    Well, what you shouldn't do is tell him about it, that's what we peons are for - to clean up the mess. With all due respect, not all of the ideas are bad, some of it may even be half good; but like all bosses, they see things at a higher plain of existence, the details, well...

    Secondly, because the idea came from the top dog, that's 75% of the battle won. You've just got top-down muscle to bulldoze through bureaucracy (<-see blog entry)
  2. When the resident expert tries to put up challenges and threats to the plan?
    That's the opportunity to shine baby, SHINE! Stand up and declare to the rest of the world that the threats and challenges are so minor that its nonsense. Tactfully, to make them techies happy, provide a political solution that goes along the lines of "that problem can be solved via top-down arm twisting"... most techie issues go back to a top-down levering anyway, so remember that; it works 95% of the time.

    Keep them techies happy, they're a considerate bunch that's unfortunately, too conservative to run organizations. However; they're good at crossing the 'T's and dotting the 'I's...

  3. What about that other 5%
    Hey, that's where you nominate yourself to lead the task force to come up with the mitigation plan and be the "man" to present it to the boss. Everyone loves task forces... heck; it even sound good in your resume. But remember, THE PLAN STILL GOES ON...!
Lastly, bosses are humans too... for all their training to say the 'right' thing and pat people on the back for a job well done; they need positive feedback too.

Problem is, bosses can't be human because of the power that they wield; and because of that, most people end up telling them stuff that he wants to hear for fear of a lightning bolt. This spiral of ass kissing and radioactive fall out clean up are the activities that kill even large organizations...


I like to think of bureaucracy as the dark manager’s ultimate arsenal. It gives you the “power” to deny just about everything. Here’s a list of bureaucratic bullets ready to fire:-

1. Charge Code.
Awesome weapon, not only does it shoot down things coming your way, but it’s really NOT your fault, because the finance department needs it.

2. Approval from the CEO
Because it’s so darn hard to get to him

3. Approval from the customer’s CEO, General Manager, prior to your CEO.
Go boy, good luck on that!

4. Approval from the Project Manager, the Head of Department, the Security Analyst, The Security Head, the Security Governance Stamp.
This is what we call the approval loop of death, because typically, the Security Governance Head never see eye to eye with the Security head. Heck, both of them think they’re better than each other. Due to ego, they won’t sign until the other does!

5. Forms
Forms used to be powerful, but because of all the e-fying going on, it’s loosing it’s power

6. Cryptic E-Forms
Now that’s the way to go! E.g Notes Id Canonical Value, Email Domain, Department Charge code

Top Management Training

Thought for the day... a friend forwarded this to me

A Red Indian walks into a cafe with a shotgun in one hand and a bucket of
buffalo manure in the other.

He says to the waiter, 'Me want coffee.'

The waiter says, 'Sure chief, coming right up...'

He gets the Indian a tall mug of coffee, and the Indian drinks it down in
one gulp, picks up the bucket of manure, throws it into the air, blasts it
with the shotgun, then just walks out..

The next morning the Indian returns. He has his shotgun in one hand and a
bucket of buffalo manure in the other. He walks up to the counter and

Says to the waiter, 'Me want coffee.'

The waiter says, 'Whoa, Tonto! We're still cleaning up your mess from
yesterday. What the heck was all that about, anyway?'

The Indian smiles and proudly says, 'Me training for top management
position: Come in, drink coffee, shoot some crap, leave mess for others to
clean up, disappear for rest of day'.

Greetings & Conversation Openers

How someone greets you tells you a lot about the person. There’s roughly the following unspoken objectives/statements when they see you for the first time in the morning based on their voice timber, tone, eye contact, body posture and facial expression (Not necessarily in any specific order):-

  • 1. A genuine greeting, no intentions
  • 2. “Hey, you’re so cute, I so love talking to you every morning”
  • 3. “Duuudee… wasssuuup… did you watch the ball game yesterday….?”
  • 4. “Asshole! Hope you die mauled by rabid dogs!!!’
  • 5. “What a putz , you’re so dumb you couldn’t tell a vulva from an anus”
  • 6. “You mensch! Worship me or die”
  • 7. “I am better than you, so I'll just mess with you a little”
  • 8. “Urgh… not another irrelevant person that I need to make eye contact…”
  • 9. “Hmm… he/she could be useful, I’ll be civil and chat a little”
  • 10. “I wonder if he/she knows some juicy secret that’s happening with the boss…”
  • 11. “Asshole, you don’t even deserve to be in your position, but wtf, I gotta kiss ass… so I’ll just greet you with a sarcasm laced opener”
  • 12. “oh shit.. .this guy won’t stop talking…”
  • 13. “I see high level ass... must kiss, must kiss... nose not brown enough”

As part of the advance dark manager technique, you have to master, Greeting 1); Greeting 2) even if he/she reeks like the toilet; Greeting 3) to be part of a gang and Greeting 9). All of this while sounding like Greeting 1)

Tough… but you’ll need it to succeed!

Dysmorphic Fault Myopia Syndrome

Dysmorphic Fault Myopia Syndrome is not unlike PMS, except whenever you’re on a bitching fit, the people that you bitch about is really you.

Problem is; you're not able to see through all that haughty righteousness and your (warped) sense of justice outweighs any means so long as your end is met.

Here’s a kind advice for all you dark managers. The moment you find someone in the office that you sincerely despise through some ‘fault’ or moral compass predisposition; find a true friend and ask them whether your's is pointing the same direction.