Ode to a Lazy Subordinate

(I don’t really mean this, it’s just a humorous poem, which I wrote ten years ago, and just came across it going through old papers…)

If you were a daphnia,
A hydra or a snail,
You’d be more scared of a clown loach
Than of a killer whale.

Small things bother the little ones
Great things bother the great
So don’t come at me with your issues
Trying to upwardly delegate.

5 thoughts on “Ode to a Lazy Subordinate

  1. ** With reference to ‘Ode to a Lazy Subordinate’ **
    It’s lovely to hear that one is “going through old papers” in this age of electronic ephemerality. Would that we all kept more paper copies of our information. The death of the age of paper seems to have accompanied the death of the genuine eccentric in our societies. Is that a coincidence ? Probably. The death of the eccentrics was a direct result of the “age of conformity and political correctness” Certainly in the U.K. At least.

    As an aside ; it seems to me absurd that one of the very few instances (unlike the protests within the universities of the 1960s) of any type of non-conformity in a university is the headline-grabbing anti-Trump protest in America that turned rather violent. The protesters seem to be somewhat misguided and tardy in their action. There have been, and are, far more important examples of anti-democratic governmental behaviour in the USA than this latest Trump policy. Where were the protesters then ? At least, to his credit, the big T is only doing what he promised to do in his election campaigning (albeit rather earlier than expected). How many politicians (in any country) do that ?

    1. Thanks for your replies, Alan. Your first paragraph reminds me that truth, even expressed as a cliché, is still truth. I say that because references to mid-twentieth-century history, including but not limited to the book _1984_, are clichéd but quite timely and valid nonetheless. The challenge is to go beyond the superficial memes and understand our realities, past, present, and future, to profundity.

      Few ´major players´ (and fewer ´superpowers´) on the international stage have accepted the following basic, reasonable axioms for many generations: unique, priceless natural resources always existed everywhere and were to be used in a way that conserves diversity, life cycles, and quality of life, making the universe (or at least the planet) a more decent place for all beings involved. I haven’t defined ´decent’ here, but it involves balance and dignity in birth, life, and death at a social scale coupled with the acceptance of ancient astronomical, geological, and ecological realities.

  2. “tenacious competition for our attention represents a race to the bottom as far as analysis and critical thought go”…………….nicely put………I like it.

  3. Hmm. There’s something wrong with this post. I think pretty much universally it’s not subordinates who are immortalized by poems mocking them (however justified the mocking), but rather odious superiors. The one forgiveness would be if this particular subordinate were an example of nepotism and thus abused all others in the office, in which case this poem actually denounces those responsible for the placement. Or could it be that this post was an earlier example of what your latest post (on analysis of contrived—er, constructed languages) seems to be? It’s sad to see how ubiquitous 24/7 Internet access (particularly facebook and the like) has ruined users’ taste for real discussion on such a powerful tool with so much potential. I miss the sustance. (Yes, I realize that the tenacious competition for our attention represents a race to the bottom as far as analysis and critical thought go.)

    1. Superiors get a bad rap as we tend naturally to side with the underdog. One of the standard formulae in plots or subplots for movies is how the subordinate is smarter than the boss or harder working, more committed, etc etc and then pulls through. It has been a theme in literature since classical times, not merely Figaro and the Count or Jeeves and Wooster but even going back to Joseph and Pharaoh you have cases of this theme appearing and most people naturally warm to them. They give an optistic note for the person who is under authority, which most of us are.

      It comes to the point where a movie or song where the boss is actually right, and works harder, or is cleverer and the people under him demotivated and lazy actually confuses us because that is not the standard way these things are represented? Can they happen? Well yes, they regularly happen. Bosses are more often bosses because they had the talent and the hard work to get there than because they had a silver spoon in their mouths when they were born. Unless the innate IQ and the appetite for work were the silver spoon.

      The poem does not deny the desirability of social mobility and for people to work up and become their boss’s boss. It just shows that not everybody is going to do that. Some need to get their act together. Stating the same as an “ode to” is of course ironic. Usually odes are to things we admire, not tell off.

      Beyond this, it is a poem that dissuades managers from seeking to micromanage subordinates’ matters, allowing them to deal with the issues of their level and think about solutions without needing to bat them back at seniors every five minutes. There are cultures where this is seen as completely necessary for a manager and so their people never learn to think for.themselves.

Your thoughts welcome, by all mean reply also to other community members!