October 17th, 2009

don draper

Our offices

Here's a quick essay on roles in the workplace described in reference to The Office. The reasonableness of the model might be obscured by the provocative terms he uses for the three layers of the hierarchy: The Sociopaths, the Clueless and the Losers. The 'Losers' are people like you and me - those who produce more value than they earn (hence 'losing') which after all is the engine of capitalism. The Sociopaths are those who steer capitalism (aka 'bankers').

The Clueless are those poor saps who get promoted to thankless middle rank between the producers who do the work, and the upper managers who take the cream:
The Clueless are the ones who lack the competence to circulate freely through the economy (unlike sociopaths and losers), and build up a perverse sense of loyalty to the firm, even when events make it abundantly clear that the firm is not loyal to them. To sustain themselves, they must be capable of fashioning elaborate delusions based on idealized notions of the firm — the perfectly pathological entities we mentioned. Unless squeezed out by forces they cannot resist, they hang on as long as possible, long after both Sociopaths and Losers have left (in Douglas Adams’ vicious history of our planet, humanity was founded by a spaceship full of the Clueless, sent here by scheming Sociopaths).

You can name them at your workplace can't you? Among us 'Losers' there are two choices - give as little as you can (hence tending towards being a selfish Sociopath) or try as hard as you can (hence tending towards being a Clueless victim).

metafilter discussion here where someone projects the model onto MadMen

Don: psycho, but emo about it.
Roger: psycho, but makes up for it by not caring
Cooper: Would eat his own children for a happy meal prize
Peggy: co-opted loser and psycho-to-be
Pete: wannabe psycho, really a loser (communicator adds - no, he's actually Clueless)
Joan: loser. A tragic character really.
Paul/Ken/Harry/Sal: all losers in their own ways (communicator adds no they are all wannabe/Clueless)

And here's how I know I am a Loser - I've got time to read stuff like this on the Internet. If that's what losings like, I don't want to win.