Tuesday, August 4, 2009

The Church Of The Corporate Ladder

It's time to take the gloves off. At the request of a few friends who shall remain nameless (cough *gutless* cough) this diatribe is going to be a bit edgy and address one of the verboten subjects of polite conversations - religion. (pause for collective gasp from the blogosphere) No, I'm not going to debate the relative merits of snake-handling versus self-mortification, I want to talk about the hypocrisy of devout religious zealots who also happen to be part of corporate leadership.

So, first, I'll apologize - if you are a very religious person, you may find some of my comments offensive. Please recognize that I'm not attacking your religion - I am attacking the hypocrites who proudly proclaim their religious beliefs, but are also willing to take out anyone by any means necessary to further their own corporate careers. I freely admit that I am NOT a religious person - 8 years of parochial school saw to that - but I hold no animosity towards anyone who actually lives the teachings of their chosen religion. However, if you are just a wolf using your religion to ambush your opponents - then I suspect your God has a special section of the everlasting fire waiting for your @ss.

Religious corporate leaders really are a strange bunch. I have a hard time understanding how plotting and scheming the downfall of your opponents and your own rise up the corporate ladder fits in with God's divine plan. I absolutely understand how it might fit with the person's master plan. Let's look at the advantages the outwardly religious person might have in the corporate game.

First, there is the obvious - the ability to maintain a holier-than-thou attitude over everyone else in the room. *They* know the *right* thing to do, and anyone who disagrees is clearly aligned with Satan. Maintaining a pious and angelic look on their face is very important in order to pull this off. Of course, there is no outward condemnation of the non-believing heathens in the meeting, but a gentle "I'm not comfortable with the moral ramifications of this approach" is more than enough to get their point across.

They also have the advantage of holding everyone else to a higher standard than they themselves actually operate. They can hamstring their opponents by working behind the scenes on evil plans while constantly pointing out and being outraged at any less than divine actions taken by their foes. This continually puts everyone else on the defensive and makes them less likely to attempt their own initiatives for fear that their plans will not meet the moral standards set for everyone except the devout.

Look at one example - let's say in a fit of frustration you send an email to a co-worker complaining about the latest underhanded trick pulled by the resident religious hypocrite. In that email you drop a few f-bombs and point out a few shortcomings in the hypocrite's genetics. If that email were to somehow make it's way to one of the religious corporate leaders (even if it is not the actual target of your wrath) the outrage and retribution will be swift and overwhelming. You will be accused of being "vulgar" and of having morals lower than a crack whore. It won't matter if you have heard many others (including other religious hypocrites) using the same language or expressing the same sentiment - YOU are now the unclean, heathen outcast who will be declared an evil person by EVERYONE who fears they may someday be the target of the Holy Rollers.

I have absolutely no problem with a company being run according to a set of strict religious beliefs - as long as the rules apply to everyone on an equal basis. I may not choose to work there - but anyone who does knows and accepts the culture. What I cannot stomach is the hypocrisy of a company's leadership that pretends to adhere to strict rules - but only when it suits them, or when they know other people are looking.

I wish I knew of a suitable defense against this particular type of slimy corporate toad. However, I really don't have an answer. The best I can come up with is to simply get as far away from that company as quickly as you can. The senior executives CAN minimize the issue - by simply ignoring the sermons and being willing to tell the devout ladder climber to go pound sand. The only thing the halo-wearing scumbags will respond to is realization that their current path does not get them to the next rung of the ladder. However, if the senior executives lack the spine to stand up and tell the righteous reptiles to knock it off, you are screwed and you need to get out before you are branded with a scarlet letter.

It's been said many times that some of the greatest evil has been committed in the name of religion. I would probably modify that statement to say "in the misuse of religion." There's nothing inherently wrong with the vast majority of religions. If they help you get through the day, great. But when religion is used as a political tool for your own benefit, you are a bloated toad who should be skewered on your own pious pitard.

So - how about it? Do you know a particular jackass that claims to be an elder in his/her church, yet is not above bald faced lies and unethical behavior in order to advance their own career? I would like to hear your story of how a religious hypocrite screwed you over during their rise to divine status in the Church of the Corporate Ladder. Leave me some comments!

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