I read an article recently that really set me off. I got hooked by one comment the author made, that it’s better to be useless than to be different, IF you want to keep your job.

This bothers me for oh so many reasons.

The idealist in me rails against that comment. I know it’s not the only thing he said and maybe I’m blowing it out of proportion. But I believe that if a business owner has the need to hire people to help run the business, a smart owner will hire people who will use their brains and special talents to make the enterprise successful. To show up and be useless is ridiculous. Why would I pay someone to do that?

The realist in me knows that in many organizations this really happens. A founder and CEO told me the other day that a day came when he realized he didn’t know everyone in his company, it had grown so much. This is a good guy, a conscious and intelligent business owner. He knows that the possibility exists that somewhere in the “chain” there could be people who are being paid to NOT have the best interests of the company in mind. He’s doing something about that which is good to see.

The other thing that irked me about the article is this: The author compared the world of work to the so-called reality TV show, “Survivor.” Huh. People being paid to behave badly. Encouraged by producers to talk trash about each other. Manipulated to create drama and cliques. And this is reality? As I write it I’m thinking this does sound an awful lot like some companies. Maybe there’s more to the comparison to “Survivor” than I gave the guy credit for.

There is one reality TV show I like to watch sometimes, “America’s Next Top Model.” ANTM, if you’re a fan. Tyra Banks auditions a bunch of wanna-be models and similar to “Survivor,” each week someone gets kicked off the show. At the end one girl is named the next top model. They seem to learn a lot as the season progresses. I had this idea that I could jump on the reality TV show bandwagon and host “America’s Next Top Manager.” I could interview a bazillion managers and choose 12 of them. Each week I put them to the test – setting goals, giving feedback, mentoring, motivating, dealing with performance problems.

Nah. I just figured out the reason reality TV is so popular is that it is outrageous and inappropriate. I just can’t be a jerk on purpose and I won’t pay other people to do it either.

But it was a good idea 😉