Friday, 28 September 2012


My little joke regarding who gets the Canterbury gig got my thinking yesterday.

See, in the rest of the world, ambition is generally seen as a positive thing. In the old days, you used to see job adverts for "Young, ambitious COBOLwright" or whatever. The assumption being that though the young person was merely hewing Invoice Passing applications from the codeface today, given the ambition he or she displayed at interview then, in a few short years, he or she might have been a business analyst or - ultimately - a Technical Support Manager.

The world has changed now. You can't ask for "young" candidates anymore. You need to say "Ambitious Health and Safety Advisor who has no memory of Duran Duran", or something like that*.

But the point is, as Gordon Brown proved to us, mere ambition is no measure of ability. Those sad wannabes who cannot hold a note, yet queue up outside X-factor rehearsals convinced they're gonna be the next Maria Carey - they've boundless ambition. Their ambition reaches as far above their ability as the sky is above the earth.

No, it's not really ambition the employers are after. They're really wanting the readiness to work hard in pursuit of that ambition. Those people are desirable - because hard work is a substitute for ability, and without all the grief that true creativity might bring to the organisation. Hard working, ambitious people are those still Blackberrying highly important (if totally unnecessary) emails in the middle of the night, while less ambitious ones are still sleeping or out having a good time with friends or family.

Personally, if I believe that one of our junior Heirarchs, Novitatives or Oblates is showing ambition, I take a keen interest. After all, uneasy is the head that wears the pointy hat. I tend to promote them to our exciting North Midlands venture, the "Tar Pit Folk of Tarporley" What they don't realise is that everybody there is marked down as a potential promotion candidate - and therefore dangerous.

Every month, the Tar Pit Folk of Tarporley look forward to the email I send them on "Organisational Changes." They're all convinced that this month they are going to have caught my eye, and be promoted to Deputy Sub-Druid.

Every month I email them the same Organisation Chart. It's got all the important people at the top. And Jesus at the bottom. The document is headed "those that are first will be last, and the last first". They've not taken the hint yet. But as long as they're all still stuck out there, I know I can continue to be least in the Kingdom of Husborne Crawley in complete safety.

*to my knowledge, nobody using "Duran Duran" in this way has ever lost an age discrimination case in the European Courts. Especially if using the "Cultural fit" excuse - eg "He was a poor cultural fit for our company, which has an under-40s culture."

1 comment :

  1. Tarporley in the North Midlands?! I'll have you know that the (now sadly defunct)county of Cheshire is in the North West (along with Lancashire, Merseyside Greater Manchester and Cumbria.

    Perhaps it's time the Tar Pit Folk had a personal visit from their Archdruid so that she can see for herself where they actually operate.


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