I’ve had to spend part of the last two working days “studying” (using that word here seems somehow wrong) some “training” materials (ditto) cobbled together by my employer with a view to ensuring that no employee should remain ignorant of the management’s latest strategic thinking. I was under orders to do this; I would only recommend it as a voluntary exercise to anyone who’s seeking the proverbial cure for insomnia.
I’ve had to wade through these kinds of documents before, and whilst I can’t deny that, yes, they are written in English, it’s the kind of English where you reach the end of a sentence or passage and wonder what the hell that was supposed to mean. “Big, important-sounding words with vague meanings apparently strung together by a computer” about covers it. Actually, I happen to know this strategy was, like most of them, written by committee, but that will have much the same effect on anything you write as getting a machine to do it for you.
My only consolation, faced with experiences like this, is that it could be worse – I could have to write this stuff, and still worse, profess earnest belief in it, or at least profess to believe it even more earnestly than I do as it is. For that is the lot of the manager – the price of ambition is having to spout nonsense, and defend it, perhaps with the half-uneasy knowledge that everyone under you knows that it is nonsense. I say “perhaps” because I’ve never been sure whether managers genuinely believe in all their mission statements, strategies and so on, because unless you believe you probably won’t get the job in the first place, and don’t get anyone who doesn’t, or are just deeply cynical people with good acting abilities who know what you have to do to look like an effective manager. Maybe a bit of both.
Either way, I don’t think the higher salary would make up for the violation of intellectual integrity. Although, once you start spouting about concepts like intellectual integrity, you pretty much know you’re doomed to end up towards the back of the rat race.