toxic jobs

Personal stories about toxic jobs and workplace woes.

August 29, 2012

a career worth crying for?

Sabrina holds a middle-management position and earns far more than her husband, Phil, but they are by no means wealthy DINKS.

She plans to take time off from work in her thirties in order to start a family, but she is concerned about not having sufficient money saved up by then to maintain her lifestyle. She is also very concerned about losing her competitive edge during the time she plans to take off work.

Sabrina is typical of an Onion Manager. She has a highly competitive mentality.

"Yes," she laughs, "employees where I work do run rings around each other, they do have bad breath, they do cry a lot and management does encourage removing layer upon layer of outmoded thinking to reveal the real, raw you! Competing with my older brothers and sisters was how I survived and flourished as the last child in a family of six children - it was the best start to life anyone can have and I manage my staff on the principles I was brought up with. Sink or swim!"

Companies using the onion style of management aim to get every drop of juice out of their employees, and Sabrina is exceptionally good at promoting raw and open competition between staff members. Often, there is no ‘them and us’ divide between management and staff in this style of company, and Sabrina typifies the egalitarian nature of onion managers. She socializes with her staff regularly and sees this as an important part of being a manager.

There is a great deal of company investment in individual achievement, and Sabrina acts as a mentor for all of the workers under her wing. The onion style of management believes that if given carte blanche to excel, employees will surpass their wildest dreams.

"And they often do," enthuses Sabrina. "Employees are encouraged to take time off to study and develop their creativity for the betterment not only of the individual, but also for the ultimate betterment of the company. I gained three degrees while working for the company and I owe my present management position not only to my own innate drive to succeed but also to the support of the company. We’re a big competitive family here, and I love the atmosphere!"

"If I can do it, anyone can do it," enthuses Sabrina. "All is takes is hard work and commitment and a competitive spirit."

Sabrina’s company is typical of the onion management style in that it uses psychological testing to recruit staff, and regularly monitors the progress of every employee. Performance evaluations are aimed at stripping away all the outmoded ideas that shield a person's true brilliance - their true productivity - and heavy emphasis is given to pitting one employee's performance against another's.

Sabrina admits that initially a lot of employees are literally left raw and exposed from these regular stewings, which virtually tear strips off them. Some may call them a lot of ‘tripe’, but she maintains that this type of evaluation is geared to increase productivity and strengthen character and overall it is very effective.

"There is," admits Sabrina, "a price to be paid for competing with one's co-workers. At first, everyone treats it as a game and there is a great deal of camaraderie. People make friends easily when they start with us, but as time progresses, bitter rivalries develop and friendships falter. At this point, we weed out the weak and let them go."

"This company maintains its edge in the business world by being competitive, one step ahead of its rivals, and we need special people to represent the company - not nice people."

Sabrina believes that people only perform at their best when there are rivals, when there is someone to beat. She feels it is more important to succeed and be an excellent representative of the company than to be liked.

"I aim to be admired, and to act as a role model," says Sabrina, "I’m not here to make friends and that’s what I teach the people I manage."

"For most of us," explains Sabrina, "there is always going to be someone who is able to run rings around us. Until I was twelve, I was regularly beaten by my brothers and sisters. The more layers of civilization that have been peeled from us, the rawer our emotions, and only the very strong can cope with the raw competition fostered by the onion management style."

"As the name implies," laughs Sabrina, "the onion management style does cause lots of raw recruits to weep in corners and walk around with red and swollen eyes. This is a healthy part of the learning process."

"And yes," laughs Sabrina, "because everyone works late and rarely takes a break to relieve and refresh themselves, there is often a problem with bad breath among staff in companies operating on the onion management style."

"Nobody can possibly have sweet breath all of the time," she argues, covering her mouth with finesse.

Also, because employees of onion management style companies rarely get an opportunity to get out in the sunshine, they tend to fry very easily because of their ‘rawness’ and, believe it or not, actually attract a lot of people by their aroma.

"There's nothing more alluring than the aroma of fried onions!" Sabrina laughs.

"Joking aside, people are far better off working for a company run on onion management principles than any other style of management. It's definitely a career worth crying for."

"My staff quickly wipe those tears from their eyes, toughen up and freshen their breath when they consider what they’d have to put up with in a mushroom management style company."

Sabrina comes across as a young lady with a great sense of humor who genuinely likes people. When she gets around to taking time off work she will make an excellent mother.

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