Sunday, February 24, 2008

Anti-Functionalist Rant

At a fictitious metropolis, three entities working together, Club, Pass, and Community College have obtained a $2.3 M DOL grant to train twelve people in the college’s ANUS (Accomplish Nothing Under Success) certification program. Started in 2003, the program teaches students how to succeed in lucrative positions without producing results.

"There is great demand for these skills," said Wesley Mouch, Club Vice-President, "Many employers require people who can fill this role effectively."

"Companies can’t get enough," said College Senior Executive Vice-President Simi Raykitin, "It will be impossible to saturate."

The $2.3 M will be paid to Pass, who will track the students and pay College $1.6 M, enough to train twelve students (including administrative overhead). Raykitin hopes to ramp enrollment to forty by offering courses to the public. The certification requires two years of full time study. Applicants should have 12th grade English skills and two or more years of management experience.

"Being a professional grade ANUS is not as easy as you think," said one student, "We spend a semester learning how to take credit for stuff we had nothing to do with, like a drop in gas prices, a business expansion into new space, or a housing boom. After the course, you see politicians in a whole new light. Reagan got credit for the collapse of the Soviet Union, and Clinton got credit for the economic expansion in the 90s. It’s amazing what you can take credit for once you know how."

In addition to taking credit for results one did not produce, the program shows how to create the illusion of results even when none occur. In one example, "doc spinning," one produces surveys, assessments, brochures, strategic plans, flyers, and newsletters. These can be built into the subject of many meetings and presented at luncheons as accomplishments. An instructor commented, "You don’t even have to write the document. You can pay consultants to do it."

In the program one learns the ANUS Semantic Matrix of Meaning. Most people operate as if nothing means nothing, problematic for those who accomplish nothing. The task is to frame the discourse to where nothing can mean anything while simultaneously pushing towards anything meaning nothing. When both are achieved, anything can mean anything, a framework perfectly designed to perpetuate satisfaction in a situation where nothing occurs.

Accomplishment for which credit can be taken is helpful, but accomplishment for which credit cannot be taken is highly problematic. The former accomplishment occurs inside the "circle of acknowledgement" while the latter does not and must be eradicated. In its first three years, Club has successfully shut down all agencies outside its circle of acknowledgment. Mouch is very pleased, "If a company hires someone, or a business sells more product this year, we get credit for all of it, and nothing is our fault."

While the metropolis contends with a $12 M budget shortfall, taxpayer funded (over 60 percent) Club’s $4 M budget has a surplus. Club VP’s Major, Mouch, Shelf, Wetson, Sneed, Milche, and Mason are currently choosing where the organization should travel this year. When asked why it was necessary to visit a town’s resorts and restaurants and not just research the information, a Club spokesman said, "Research and phone calls are not sufficient."

Club is considering the French Riviera or Fiji to deepen its understanding of the attraction and how metropolis might use such practices.

"We’re delighted with the ANUS program," Raykitin said, "It’s hard to find people who can produce absolutely nothing in high paying positions."


Blogger Sirocco said...

This is a truly magnificent post.

2/24/2008 7:04 AM  
Blogger Casey DeLorme, APR said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

2/24/2008 8:12 AM  
Blogger Casey DeLorme, APR said...

I'm taking credit for this post...

2/24/2008 8:20 AM  
Blogger Cigar Man said...


You get it. $700 grand to "track" twelve students. Brilliant.

Simi Raykitin! That's great.

Your post is "serious funny." You packed three years of Dilbert into one blog entry.

2/24/2008 11:38 AM  
Anonymous The Navigator said...

I haven't laughed so hard in quite some time. The Semantic index had me gasping.

What makes it so hilarious is the truth it contains.

You're gifted.

If I were to now sit in one of their meetings, I think I would be doubled over within minutes.

2/24/2008 3:11 PM  
Anonymous The doctor said...

Oh, God.

I'm with Nav.

2/25/2008 12:05 PM  

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