02 July, 2009

Introducing The Amazing Toad Man

The Amazing Toad Man haunts the upper levels of middle management or, at least, seems to think he does. It's not actually clear from outside his area exactly where he sits on the corporate ladder, and it's entirely possible he sits no higher than The Invertebrate. But he doesn't let that hold him back, or keep him from trying to throw his weight around in other areas' operations. The Amazing Toad Man isn't the name I came up with. I think a friend with the misfortune to work under him came up with that title, or one very similar to it, and the name has stuck in my mind.

The first time I met him he was attempting to pick the lock on the toilet cubicle door while the cubicle was still occupied. I know this because I was the occupant.

"Oh," he said, looking surprised when I opened the door. He gestured at the lock with the bent paperclip he was holding. "It was locked."

Because apparently that somehow made it all perfectly normal.

That's more or less set the tone for my dealings with him ever since. In fact it turned out to be somewhat symbolic, as ever since then he's consistently tried to insert himself into other areas' business without ever thinking to ask ahead of time whether his input is relevant, required or desirable. His specialty is ignoring information and requests for input right up until a deadline occurs, then trying to throw a spanner in the works because he thinks he's been slighted somehow or had his requirements overlooked, and then sulking when the spanner gets thrown back at him because (a) there's no possible room in the deadline to accomodate his last-minute demands, and (b) when you're a minority stakeholder, you don't get to derail the entire process just because you didn't want to talk to anyone earlier when they asked you for input.

He's also presided over an impressive drop in his team's numbers, experience and morale. But it makes his salary budget look good, so in his mind it all balances out.

He's currently plotting and scheming behind our back to lock us into a three-year agreement with a lacklustre supplier everyone else would be happy to move away from. Again, the bulk of our organisation's business with this supplier is ours rather than his, but why let that get in the way of pretending he's the man to see? So expect the Amazing Toad Man to appear again in future when The Invertebrate returns and discovers what's going on.

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