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The seven roles that every employed person plays

William Shakespeare said that a person went through "seven ages of life". Thou wast spot on, immortal bard. So here are: The Seven Stages of Modern Life.

Stage One: The Intern.

Arrives late. Explains that he got lost. Told to make coffee. Makes undrinkable black gunge. Sits in on meetings at which he realizes, with horror, that he knows nothing about anything being discussed. Spends most of the day feeling terrifyingly useless. Asks inane questions such as, "Please, sir, do we have to ask before we go to the toilet?" At midday, eats packed lunch from home.

Stage two: The Short-Contract Worker.

Arrives early. Waits outside till a staff member arrives with a key. Devotes all his energy to volunteering for assignments because he is desperate to get hired full-time. At lunch, he eats sandwiches at his desk while doing everyone else’s work. He leaves the office last, at 9:00 pm, but still arrives the next morning before the rest of us.

Stage three: The New Hire.

Arrives slightly before other staff. First to take his seat at meetings. Talks constantly about "our vision". Starry-eyed and enthusiastic. Does much of the work that gets done, although he is constantly interrupted by older staff wandering into his room to sit on his desk and spout rubbish. Leaves at 8:00 pm.

Stage four: The Experienced Executive.

Arrives at exactly 9:00 am, not a minute early or late. Has a lot of work to do, but spends most of his time transferring it to other people. Occasionally buys lunch at the wine bar for people at stages one, two and three, because he enjoys the way they worship him. Leaves at 7:00 pm.

Stage five: The Senior Manager.

Strolls into the office at 9:40. Cannot avoid work completely, but does the bare minimum. Lunches at private club, practicing his "vice president" look of worldliness and ennui so as to be ready for the next stage. Sneaks out of the office on the dot of 6:00 pm.

Stage Five: Vice President.

Languidly ambles into the office around 11:00. Finds work a total bore, so he gets people at stages one, two, three and four to do all of his work for him. Spends most of the day sitting on the desks of new hires to give them the benefits of his wisdom. Leaves the office at 5:00 pm pretending to be on the way to a client meeting.

Stage Six: Chief Executive Officer.

Comes into the office at noon, and then goes straight out again for a long lunch at his club, which takes him until 3:00 pm. No longer even pretends to do any work. Leaves at 4:00 pm for a quick round of golf.

Stage seven: Chairman.

Arrives late. Explains that he got lost because his memory is not what it was. Serves coffee from private percolator. Turns out to be undrinkable black gunge. Sits in on meetings at which he realizes, with horror, that he no longer knows anything about what is being discussed. Spends most of the day feeling terrifyingly useless. Asks inane questions all the time, such as, "Shall we open some overseas offices, or have we already done that sort of thing?" Before leaving at 3:00 pm, he eats packed lunch from home because he can’t eat anything without bran.

It’s the circle of life.

Comment on this article at our columnist’s website: www.vittachi.com

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