Shit magnet (n): A new manager or director who arrives in a new business and promptly finds himself surrounded by brown-nosers, arse-lickers, pooh-claimers and assorted office fuckwits.
Directors usually spend a couple of years in a job at most. This is usually because there’s an offer of bigger money from somewhere else, or – and more likely – they’re so completely fucking useless that they’ve been found out and they have to move on. Shit meet fan, fan meet shit – I’m off.
Half of them have impossible remits such as “increase sales by twelvety million percent” or “reduce costs to zero”, and it takes them about a year to realise that the MD was having a laugh when he hired them in the first place.
You’d almost feel sorry for them, the poor things, if it weren’t for their six-figure salaries and their shiny new cars. It takes a special sort of person to become a Director – a sort of psychopath who loves his job, Michael McIntyre and his family – in that order. A sort of beige blandness combined with red-faced rage seems to fit best.
So, when a new Director arrives in your business, watch him or her become a shit magnet. The various office creeps float inexorably towards the new Director, commonly asking things like “can I grab five minutes?” or “it would be great to pick your brain”. No more than five minutes, as any more and he’ll realise that he’s attracting all manner of incompetent turds and the business is stuffed full of under-performing shirkers.
The clever ones will find his PA and pester her for “a five-minute window”, and the even cleverer ones will have been on that knob-fest LinkedIn to find out some tenuous link between them: “Hey Mike, great to meet you – I believe you worked with Dave who worked with Pete at some subsidiary of a subsidiary of a company that my Uncle Bob used to walk past every day on his way to pick up his giro from the job centre – who would have thought it eh? Small world! Let’s grab five minutes when you’re free eh?”
Even better, they’ll have picked up on something in the LinkedIn profile such as “plays war games” and will leave a figurine of a soldier on their desk, casually picking it up when shit magnet walks past, making machine gun noises before looking up and saying “oh, sorry I lost myself for a second there, back to creating value for my customers and I’ll carry on with the second world war in my lunch break.”
The sensible ones know when the game’s up. I worked for one guy who used to piss off at 4 o’clock every day, and turned up to full-day meetings in London without his laptop, knowing full well it would end early and that he’d be able to say “ah shucks, I’d better leave early then”. The new shit magnet, sorry, Director, was onto him quick enough.
How to get noticed by a shit magnet
Do you really want to get noticed by a shit magnet? He’s going to be surrounded by jabbering incompetents for the first few weeks, so go under the radar for a while and you won’t be tarnished with the same brush.
You’ve got a mortgage to pay so getting noticed by the shit magnet is important – but make sure he feels that he’s noticed you. Make sure that he feels that he’s just discovered a “pearl” within his organisation. It’s all about boosting their ego by making them feel they’ve done the finding.
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