These quotes, like the rest of the Dumb Things People Say collection, are taken from actual incidents.

However, if you need a joke about management, click on the joke button. (You can kill the new window when you are finished.)


The Russler's Experiences:

Note that company names,
product names, and people
names have been changed
to protect the not guilty.

One of our top execs once said:
"We need to align around common goals and direction."
I picture us trying to surround something in a straight line.

Managers are good at verbosity. Instead of simply saying, "We're ready talk to XYZ Company," I heard one say,
"We're ready to get in front of XYZ Company and start having those dialogues."

At a meeting of the group in which I worked, we were told,
"We don't know much [about the situation], but what we do know, we can't tell you."

I overheard one side of a phone conversation in which the manager made the following statement:
"You spend ten hours a day doing this, ten hours doing that, and ten hours doing something else . . ."
I wondered if all of us were required to work thirty hours a day.

One manager told someone in our computer programming group:
"Don't make any coding changes until you've tested them."
(In case you don't know anything about programming, it's impossible to test a change without making it first. I'm reminded of my uncle who, as a child, was told, "Don't go into the water until you know how to swim!")

And speaking of testing, when we were wondering how to test a certain scenario in a new computer system, our business partner said:
"Some of this, you just have to turn it on and solve these problems as they come up."

Deadlines are important. There may be many reasons why part of that word is "dead." In speaking of an intended completion date, one manager said:
"I was going to shoot myself for July 17th."

In the handout materials for a presentation given by our management, one page read as follows:

  In <org name>, changes we face include:  
  • (Customize for audience)  


    What I'm trying to say is, that's what the handout said at the time the presentation was given.

    In a company publication about security when traveling abroad, there was a list of countries in which travel was risky. One of the countries listed was


    I don't know whether they meant Colombia or Sri Lanka (the capital of which is Colombo).

    When I was teaching at a business college, all the faculty received a memo that simply said,


    In an announcement of a charity fund-raiser we were told:
    "The event is a race for crawlers and new walkers ages 6 months - 18 months old.
    . . . This event is open to employees of XYZ only."
    This is when I first learned that we had employees that young.

    In a meeting, I heard the following from someone whose specialty is personnel:
    "Now I'd like to introduce all the people I don't know."

    In another meeting, I heard this conversation:
    Bill: "So, there's data in the field, but the data is incorrect?"
    Phil: "Correct."
    This left me wondering whether the data was incorrect or correct.

    It was sort of like:
    Charlie: "So, when I get to the intersection, I turn left?"
    Darly: "Right."

    I overheard this snippet of conversation:
    "I guess my point is that . . . "
    Now, shouldn't this manager have known what his point was before he started to speak?

    I received this in an E-mail (from outside my company):
    "I have accepted a new role with ABC as the Manger of XYZ Global Alliance."
    I can imagine him saying, "Used to, I couldn't even spell MANGER. Now I are one!"

    I thought we had gone a little overboard with the initialisms long before I saw this in a company E-mail:
    "RBTLís were collected from ASC, BRSC, CarSC, CHSC, ISC, LSC, MMSC, NYSC, SMSC, SWCSSC, UKSWSC, GSMS, and GSCM into one RBTL."
    I ' d   l i k e   t o   b u y   a   v o w e l !

    A coworker of mine overheard this from someone:
    "Do I need to email someone to ensure someone has someone assigned a discovery task of some sort?"

    Here's an actual quote from a company newsletter I received:
    "what's new@infoCentre tells you what's new at infoCentre"

    This manager was not horsing around (at least not on purpose) when he sent this in an E-mail:
    "As you are all well aware, the implementation date is drawing neigh."

    Then I saw this in an internal job posting. In this position, the manager would be
    Although we had many globally based employees, I wondered how they would appreciate being called large and complex.

    One day we received this instruction in E-mail:
    "You must also return the projector to the server room (the room across from Danny that is always locked) when you are done with the tool."
    I wonder why Danny is always locked. Oh, you say it is the room that's always locked? Impossible! How can we return the projector to a room that's always locked?

    And then there was a memo was sent that stated:
    "This is to inform you that a memo will be issued today regarding the subject mentioned above."

    This was typical of the environment in which I worked, which included:

    We had metrics that told us how well we were doing. For example:

    Then, in another metrics presentation, a manager was talking about meeting and exceeding goals. One goal was to have a one-on-one session with each employee. The result he reported was 125%. I assume that means that for every four employees with which the managers had met, they met with one extra person. When it came to budget, he was proud to report it was another thing that we had exceeded. (Up until then, I thought exceeding a budget was a bad thing.)

    The Experiences Of Others:

    One manager spent the entire weekend retyping a 25-page proposal that only needed corrections. She claimed the disk given her was damaged and couldn't be edited. The problem? It had the write-protect tab on.

    Employee:   My sister died, and the funeral is scheduled for Monday.
    Employer:   She died so that you would have to miss work on the busiest day of the year. Can you change her burial to Friday? That would be better for me.

    No matter how many times he was corrected on this, one manager insisted on sending E-mail referring to "pier to pier AppServer communication." (What a nautical thing to do!)

    Boss:   Why are you an hour late?
    Worker:   Sorry. I fell out of our upstairs window.
    Boss:   It doesn't take an hour to fall that far!

    (I'm just kidding. I made that one up.)

    A friend of mine received a memo about a promotion in his company. It began by talking about "Michele's breath of leadership and involvement . . ." His assumption was that "the air is different at higher levels in an organization."

    Another friend received an E-mail from his boss warning the team that some people were not responding to pages on their beepers. Her stern warning was that "This is not expectable!"

    My wife had a boss who liked to talk about the fast-food restaurant "Chick-A-fil."

    Office Manager:   Where were you yesterday?
    Peon:   I was at my cousin's funeral.
    Office Manager:   Why? Did she die?

    One charitble organization posted requirements for a job position, and under the category "HOURS," it said this:
    "Approximately 20-25 hours three days per week."
    I guess I wouldn't mind working a 25-hour day every once in a while, but three 25-hour days every week is a bit much!

    Here are some other quotes from managers:

    1. As of tomorrow, employees will only be able to access the building using individual security cards. Pictures will be taken next Wednesday and employees will receive their cards in two weeks.
    2. Be specific, but general.
    3. Do it now! I need it A.S.P.C.A.!
    4. Doing it right is no excuse for not meeting the schedule.
    5. E-mail is not to be used to pass on information or data. It should be used only for company business.
    6. How long is this Beta guy going to keep testing our stuff?
    7. I didn't say it was your fault. I said I was going to blame it on you.
    8. I see you've had no computer training. Although that qualifies you for upper management, it means you're under-qualified for our entry level positions.
    9. I'm not accusing anyone in particular, just everyone in general.
    10. I'm sorry if I ever gave you the impression your input would have any effect on my decision for the outcome of this project!
    11. I've decided to fire all the yes-men, all the naysayers, and all the equivocators. What do you think?
    12. I've noticed a disturbing pattern. Your solutions to problems are always the things you try last.
    13. If I wanted it tomorrow, I would have waited until tomorrow to ask for it!
    14. Is Ann a functional person?
    15. No one will believe you solved this problem in one day! We've been working on it for months. Now, go act busy for a few weeks and I'll let you know when it's time to tell them.
    16. Teamwork is a lot of people doing what I say.
    17. Then date and initialize each page.
    18. This project is so important, we can't let things that are more important interfere with it.
    19. Turnover is good for the company, as it proves that we are doing a good job in training people.
    20. We are going to continue having these meetings, every day, until I find out why no work is getting done.
    21. We know that communication is a problem, but the company is not going to discuss it with the employees.
    22. We passed over a lot of good people to get the ones we hired.
    23. We're only hiring one summer intern this year and we won't start interviewing candidates for that position until the boss' daughter finishes her summer classes.
    24. What I need is a list of specific unknown problems we will encounter.
    25. What you see as a glass ceiling, I see as a protective barrier.
    26. You really screwed up this time! Don't get defensive.

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