Depths of... Tension with Your Boss
Don't worry — we won't cc your boss on this email!
I’m Annie Rauwerda, and I started @depthsofwikipedia on Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok to highlight my favorite Wikipedia rabbit holes. I partnered with Bullish Studio to round up the weirdest Wikipedia articles about a new subject every week. Next up: Tension with your boss! Here are the Wikipedia pages we're diving into:
Today's Entry: Tension with Your Boss
As pandemic restrictions were lifted, the US saw a “Great Resignation.” Record numbers of employees are clocking out for good — some in pursuit of better management.
In fact, 41% of workers globally are considering leaving their current employer this year, and a Harvard Business Review survey revealed 58% of people trust strangers more than their own boss. There are troves of Wikipedia articles about bosses, and here are some of my favorites!
A quick break at work can refresh your mind, but it's not always a good look to be drafting your fantasy football team when you have a work assignment. Wikipedia has an article on the boss key, a keyboard shortcut to quickly hide a program (usually a game) when your boss is nearby. Your screen will jump to another one that looks productive, like Excel or a fake video call. Here's the work-proof way to watch March Madness.
I'm not advocating for you to trick your boss! But if you need a quick discreet break, here are some programs with the same slack-off spirit as the boss key:
- ExcelTrick has a huge list of games that can be played within Excel. Make sure you have macros enabled, though, or some won't work.
- Caffeine simulates a keypress every minute in order to make your Teams icon "active"
- The Wiki Game passes time and accomplishes nothing. You start from a random article and reach a specific destination just by clicking hyperlinks on the page.
📈 Peter Principle
As defined by the Peter Principle: "People in a hierarchy tend to rise to their 'maximum level of incompetence.' Employees are promoted based on their success in previous jobs until they reach a level at which they are no longer competent, as skills in one job do not necessarily translate to another."
- The idea was first developed by Laurence J. Peter in a 1969 book by the same name. Though it was published to be more satirical than scientific, recent studies have held up some of its principles.
- The Peter Principle describes a worker like Michael Scott: A great salesperson but a terrible boss
- A similar phenomenon is known as the Dilbert Principle: Promote the least competent employees into management where they can't hurt anything (aka failing upwards)
📺 My Big Fat Obnoxious Boss
Up next in crazy reality shows we all forgot about: "My Big Fat Obnoxious Boss." The Fox Network show aired in late 2004 as a parody of The Apprentice.
A character named Mr. N. Paul Todd (an anagram of Donald Trump) led competitions for contestants who were all pining after prize money and a prestigious corporate job. Decisions were made by "the real boss" whom Mr. N. Paul Todd would regularly consult but viewers would never see.
The Big Twist: In the final episode, the fabled "real boss" was revealed to be a chimpanzee who responded to the name of "Mowgli" and made his decisions by spinning a wheel with the names of the contestants. The show was canceled after five episodes and never renewed.
- You can view the entire season, including the final five episodes that were never aired, on Youtube with this link.
- Interested in other forgotten TV shows? Dive into Wikipedia's list of television series canceled after one episode.
It's not when your boss is napping, nor is it "napping like a boss," but it is a good read. According to the Wikipedia article, bossnapping is "a form of lock-in where employees detain management in the workplace, often in protest against lay-offs and redundancies." The practice has especially been carried out in France, where activists are known to go exceptionally hard.
Here are some examples of what bossnapping looks like:
- In March 2009, workers held the CEO of Sony France hostage for a night to demand a better severance package for workers who had been laid off.
- In 2010, workers of a Caterpillar Inc. plant in Grenoble took five managers as hostages for 10 hours over layoffs.
- In another bossnapping incident in 2010, approximately 300 workers of a Toyota factory in Northern France blocked all entrances and hindered all trucks from leaving the premises