Saturday, January 21, 2012

A Dill Pushes Her Borrow

IN TODAY’s Silly, A Dill Horin writes about bad bosses and addresses the topic with a vehemence the casual reader might conclude can only be the result of harsh personal experience. Now this is a real curiosity, as A Dill has spent her working life in the service of just one employer, Fairfax. Indeed, she is a little piece of that company’s institutional memory. Her insights were first gifted to the reading public by the original National Times, the forest-products version, which has much to answer for. David Marr, Marian Wilkinson and A Dill – all are graduates of that defunct publication, and not one has ever deviated from the exclusionary arrogance and didactic dementia which, back then, characterised just that one weekly corner of the Fairfax empire.

Today, as many former Fairfax readers have recognised, the attitudes and perspectives have infected and colonised the entire group.  Purchase tomorrow’s Sun-Herald, a mass market product ostensibly aimed at the widest possible readership, and you will see the consequences: a paper filled with the preciousness and picayune fancies of those who produce it, rather than the interests of those who no longer buy it. (According to a friend of the Billabong, a former Fairfax employee, the Sun-Herald once sold in excess of 800,000 copies every Sunday; the latest figures barely exceeds half that number). Whatever A Dill’s experience of bad bosses, her personal perspective would seem to have been shaped not by bullies but buffoons forever prepared to indulge subordinates’ peculiar disdain for all unlike themselves. If A Dill has ever encountered a boss who took her to task for that attitude, word of such an encounter would come as an immense surprise.

And it also would appear she has never met a boss who reminded her that she is paid for original thought, not simple mastery of her keyboard’s CONTROL + C function. In today’s column, for example, she lists some of bad bosses’ defining deficiencies:

Here are some other traits bad bosses are unlikely ever to admit:
They are control freaks and micro managers.
They are pushy and overbearing.
They cling to plans and opinions despite overwhelming evidence that they're dead wrong.
They won't protect staff from the idiocy raining from above.
They hog the credit.

Now where would A Dill have acquired such a scorecard? Click the following link, follow the prompt and observe the similarities to the content of a web site operated by American author and management guru Robert Sutton.

Now it is true that A Dill acknowledges Sutton two paragraphs subsequent to the list of points she has borrowed from him, which is probably enough with her light paraphrasing to see the charge of full-blown plagiarism dismissed, at least on the strength of this one exhibit. But when you dive a little deeper into the dribble of A Dill’s thoughts, it is the unintended irony of the following passage that is perhaps the most striking element of A Dill’s effort. 
Bosses are not the only ones to suffer from lack of self-knowledge, of course. All of us do to some extent unless we have been through therapy or a crisis that reveals uncomfortable truths about ourselves.

The “uncomfortable truth” about A Dill is that she needs one of those “bad bosses” in the worst possible way – someone prepared to point out that originality is a condition of employment.

UPDATE: A little more borrowing.


A DILL in the Silly: NetApp topped Fortune's 100 Best Companies to Work For in 2009 and a month after the ranking appeared announced it was laying off 6 per cent of employees. Google, top-rated by Fortune in 2008, also shed hundreds of full-time workers.

SUTTON in The Harvard Business Review: NetApp, declared number one in Fortune’s “100 Best Companies to Work For” for 2009, announced it was cutting loose 6% of its employees less than a month after the ranking appeared. Google, top-rated by Fortune in 2008, has shed hundreds of full-time employees.

6 comments:

  1. ""Bosses are not the only ones to suffer from lack of self-knowledge""

    This has got to be one of the finest pieces of unintended humour I have ever laid eyes upon.

    Can we somehow find a way to deport Fairfax journalists after that company finally collapses?

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  2. Elizabeth (Lizzie) B.January 21, 2012 at 5:56 PM

    Copy, copy, copy: she would have made a fine medieval scribe. She has all the right attributes, including her excellence at putting out the received wisdoms of her ancient revered lefty theologians dating back to hippy undergrad days of wine and rage at that tattered rag The Natty Times.

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  3. Wow, that says everything one needs to know about Fairfax. the word "cheap" springs to mind.

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  4. Perhaps Fairfax should consider subscribing to Turnitin and insist that everything A.Dill writes be submitted through it. It might leave three original words per article and spare the rest of us her secondhand derivative ramblings.

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  5. The channel 10 weekday evening news has a sort of 'vox populi' where people in the street and various experts are asked their opinion on some current or emerging social issue. A few weeks back the topic was finishing year 12 as a sort of watershed for young people and the types of issues and challenges that it raises for them. For some reaon they asked Horin's opinion and she - looking like a raddled septegenarian, must have been the lights and camera angle - said rather snootily that poor, marginalised and minority youth don't even get to do year 12.

    It struck me as the sort of remark that a self-consciously angry seventeen year old might come out with at a family gathering, both to shock and to demonstate a superior level of sensibility and compassion. The obvious reply to this sort of cheap and immature sub-Marxism -'How many marginalised/minority youth do you actually know?' wasn't ventured by the Channel 10 reporters.

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  6. Brian of MoorabbinJanuary 23, 2012 at 9:45 AM

    "Here are some other traits bad bosses are unlikely ever to admit:
    They are control freaks and micro managers.
    They are pushy and overbearing.
    They cling to plans and opinions despite overwhelming evidence that they're dead wrong.
    They won't protect staff from the idiocy raining from above.
    They hog the credit."


    I wonder if A Dill and her Fairfax cohorts ever thought of applying that list to the current inhabitant of The Lodge in Canberra.....

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