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“Hi, can I please speak to who’s in charge here?”

“Well, that would appear to be you, sir.”

“Alright. So, I am responsible for making decisions.”

“Yes, sir. Of course. That’s what being in charge means.”

“And I don’t need to check with anyone about my decisions?”

“Don’t be ridiculous. You need to check with management before making any decisions.”

“So, I’m not in charge?”

“Of course you are. But we need to make sure those who are more important than you and have higher status get to provide their input.”

“And when I follow their guidance, they’ll have my back?”

“Of course not, sir. You are the designated decision maker, so you are responsible for any and all fallout.”

“Do you think I could talk to these people first? Do I get to meet with them regularly to avoid the above from happening?”

“You could attempt to book a meeting on their calendar.”

“Which I have access to?”


“Okay, so how do I book a meeting with them? You know, to check with them before I make decisions.”

“They are booked up at least two weeks in advance, so it’s very difficult.”

“Okay, but what if I need to make a decision in a timely manner. Generally, people expect responses within 48, if not 24 hours.”

“Well, of course, sir. You can’t keep people waiting.”

“But I can’t meet with them for two weeks, so it will be hard to make a timely decision.”

“Sir, I think it’s a bit presumptuous for you to assume that you would have such unfettered access to those who make six figures and have much more important things to do than help you make decisions.”

“They’re making SIX FIGURES?”

“Of course, sir, they are very important. You can understand why they are so busy.”

“Alright, can you help me make an appointment with them in three weeks time? Let’s say Wednesday?”

“Oh no, sir. They all work from home on Wednesdays.”

“Wait, I can work from home?”

“No, of course not. That’s only reserved for key decision makers.”


“That is correct, sir. But those in charge have negotiated a generous work from home policy.”

“So, can I do that? Can I negotiate a work from home agreement? A greater salary?”

“You would need to talk to HR, sir.”

“Can I speak with them?”

“They will just forward your request to management to handle, sir.”

“So can I talk to management?”

“No, sir, we already talked about this. They’re very busy.”

“Can I put a written request in?”

“No, sir. Your request is denied.”

“But I haven’t even made it!”

“Sir, you don’t have to. It’s impossible for you to be successful in your position, and make such key decisions, if you aren’t physically here.”

“But I need to get all my decisions approved by people who AREN’T HERE!”

“I’m going to be honest with you, sir. I don’t approve of your tone.”

“Okay, I’m sorry. But what do I do if I have a legitimate problem with some of the people in charge? Say they mismanage me? What if they say something offensive or racist or homophobic? What if I don’t agree with their treatment of me?”

“Sir, we already went over this. You can provide information to HR and they will forward your request to management to handle.”

“The very management I’m hypothetically complaining about?”

“Yes, sir.”

“So, what if someone complains about me to HR?”

“Sir, isn’t it obvious? They’ll investigate the claim thoroughly and you’ll most likely be disciplined and suffer an impact on your professional reputation.”

“How is that fair?”

“Nobody ever said life was fair, sir. And remember, those in charge who make the most money will do anything to protect their reputation. You’ll understand one day when you’re in management.”

“So, I have an opportunity to move up to management?”

“No, sir. That won’t be possible.”

“What? Why?”

“It’s just not possible.”

“Is there a reason?”

“Of course not sure. Those decisions are obviously above your pay grade. Is there anything else I can help you with today?”

“Yes, where do I go for my parking pass?”

“Did you pay for it yet?”

“I have to pay for a parking pass at a job that requires me to come to campus?”

“Of course, sir.”

“You know what, I quit.”

“Sir, as someone in charge, you know you need to give us a month’s notice.”

“But I’m an at-will employee!”

“We don’t care, sir. What are you going to do… sue us?”


“Welcome to your career in higher education, sir.”

Eric Mochnacz

A wizard of pop culture. A prince of snark. A delightful addition to any dinner party.

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