On Minions & Monsters – Stories from the other side of journalism

There are minions and monsters in every office. The former is relegated to doing every odd job at abysmally low salaries. The latter enjoy the privilege of delegating and getting away with all the perks.

A typical monster’s not atypical thinking is that there comes a time when one is not supposed to do any work other than make others work.  That ‘time’ does not necessarily come with age, experience or skills. It simply comes with the ability to stay in the good books of the CEO for reasons that no one else in the office can explain ever.

Morphing into a monster, however, comes easy with added power. The same friendly executive who sat next to you and whined endlessly about the management, fulfilling his role as a minion, will transform into the most egoistic and dreaded corporate honcho the minute he or she gets a promotion and solo cabin.

Suddenly, all you will get are cold stares when your paths cross by the office water-cooler. He or she is often seen in the company of the CEO as if they were long-lost friends. He or she is now more aggressive, authoritative, irritated and, of course, moronic.

With the added advantage of knowing your limitations, they hit you where it hurts most. “I know what you are doing there’ refrains ring in your ears until they bleed. The trail of mails between you, the low-lying executive, and he/she, the manager, becomes longer and nastier, and any attempts to revive the erstwhile minion bonding are cold-shouldered.

Such monstrosity is not restricted to one’s office. When it comes to the communications industry, the foremost monster is none other than ‘THE CLIENT.’

THE CLIENT invariably comes with certain set features: They are never happy, they always keep things to the last minute, they want everything yesterday, and they find fault with anything and everything you do.

Most importantly, they never seem to know what they want. The brief is always far removed from the end-product, and every job is a work in progress, shaped only on the whims and fancies of THE CLIENT.

Most of THE CLIENTS also take delight in ‘going over changes’ over the phone, copying your boss on stinker mails, and making you feel redundant and worthless. They are the know-it-alls of the universe, who even when they hardly speak or write a grammatically right sentence insist that the ‘English is wrong. Don’t you have a native speaker?’

Being THE CLIENT suddenly also makes them language experts, creative whiz-kids and technological geniuses. They become the absolute authority on artwork, editorial, content, strategy and what not.

Being in power gives them the authority to judge any work of merit, using their limited knowledge, understanding and talent. They evaluate even outstanding work based on their skewed, ill-informed views. They are often so bad that they simply don’t have the ability to distinguish what is good and what is bad.

So what is that makes ordinary minions evolve into moronic monsters once they are in power? Is it the classic case of power corrupting?

Honestly, we will perhaps never find an answer to that. That is not because there are a few exceptionally good managers amongst us.

We will never discover the truth because the world today has more monsters than minions.

As ordinary minions who must get along with life even when you are rebuked, your ego trodden upon, your sense of self-worth decimated and your worth seriously challenged, there is only one way to survive: To whine. Whine to your heart’s content, get that negativity out of your system, and continue to trudge on.

The more monsters you have to deal with on a daily basis, your circle of whining will widen, until the day comes, if you are lucky, to eventually escape from minion-hood. Until that golden age of freedom, let whining prevail.

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