Hujambo! My name is Abeni. I am writing to you from West Africa. Jethro asked me to write his column while he is out of country on a mission for the Esteemed Order of Feline Journalists. While I do not possess Jethro’s American wit, I do have far deeper knowledge than the diminutive house cat.
Dear Jethro, (In this case, meaning I, Abeni)
I work at an advertising agency. We recently merged with another agency. They told us is would be a true partnership, with my current boss and the new boss running the new agency together. But my boss has been moved into the basement and the new boss got a corner office and the company car. There are now a bunch of middle manager types “checking my work.” The new boss sends out important memos and forgets to CC those of us who were part of the original agency. Last week I presented a new campaign to my oldest client and she told me that my “assistant” already gave her a new campaign. I don’t have an assistant. What the heck is going on?
Despite your attachment to your Primate connection, in the corporate world, you are much more like Lions than you may know. Allow me to illustrate:
When one pride takes over another, every one knows it is a hostile take over. Only humans pretend it is a merger. When a new lioness smiles and complements your shoes, she is actually in your office to see if her elliptical machine will fit once your desk is hauled out.
Before the take over, the stronger lion will investigate the weaker lion’s den. He will send some skilled lionesses (middle managers) with Malva Pudding and Tamarind Tea, or in America, lemon bars and frappuccinos. They will assure the weaker lion that the take over will be a true partnership; they will share all the meat the lionesses bring in and all the cubs (you) will be loved and protected from hyenas.
When the stronger lion moves in he immediately claims the biggest shade spot on the hill. The weaker lion is moved to the basement, physically announcing his new place literally under the new boss. The weaker lion will be outraged but he can only complain to . . . the new boss. His once powerful roar now an anguished meow.
The new boss is not “forgetting” to CC you on important memos about upcoming projects. He is starving you. If you want to survive into the new regime, you will need to push into his pack of offspring and rip some wildebeest flesh for yourself. But do so quietly or one of the new cubs will pounce on you in the break room and choke you.
You may be thinking the lionesses will care for all the cubs, like some Disney orphanage. This is an American fantasy. The new lionesses will purr and lick your ears but only so they can break into your office, steal your client files and feed them to their own cubs.
Do not be shocked by the animal nature of a take over. Be shocked at the human nature of smiling killers.
Best of luck to you in your impending job search,