ethical media


January 2017

A corporate rose by any other name?

‘We don’t have job titles around here’, a more recent manager Matt droned. FFS. I took a sneaky look around…for leprechauns.

Managers who tell employees this, are A. affecting power play, or B. away with magical dancing green Irish pixies.

When a male manager tells a female employee that job titles are not an organisational imperative for her; his passive-aggressive word choice states this:

I tell you what to do because the only job title around here that matters is the one with ‘manager’ in it – are you tacitly seeing the point of difference?

Bullshit aside, studies show one’s job title can affect anything from stress levels to identity.

In 2014, a Pearl Meyer & Partner ‘job titling practices’ study learned 80% of companies use ‘job titles to reflect hierarchy’ and over 92% use titles to define roles.

According to WinterWyman recruitment consultant Doug Schade, and as reported by Forbes magazine, titles are valuable because employees get job envy aspiring to their colleagues’ positions.

‘Sometimes, job titles can mean more than a salary increase or other monetary gain, and indicate the level of responsibility from the top down,’ Doug said.

For us professionals, the role we choose including title and duties, is extremely important. For me, on personal and professional levels – having ‘my job’ in writing, creates boundaries.

Also, it’s one of the few labels I’m willing to accept from anyone; which begs the question – what labels do you assign yourself?

For me, I’m a journalist. Always was, always will be. And this is despite a myriad of industry roles.

As a professional communicator over two decades, I’ve skillsets in various sub-categories like change, PR, journalism, audio-visual multimedia – I mean, the overriding premise is, ‘to communicate’.

Short story: once worked with a colleague-in-change Tim who constantly insisted that communication was a category of change management. When old matie would not shut up, I assert impracticalities of argument.

If one can gain change certification in 2 days, as contrasted by 3-year commitment to communication qualification, then argument null and void.

Did that shut him up? No. He was NPD, albeit vulnerable – they don’t know how to lose.

In any case, the words you use to describe your profession are revealing.

For example, I’ve been titled a specialist and consultant by my employer. But it would defeat my purpose, to tell this to strangers. I want people to relate to me. Not roll their eyes.

Telling people that you are a consultant or an expert is a power play opportunity. If they aren’t onto you, the polite person is forced to ask ‘what you consult in’, at which point, you get to tell them ‘just how great you are in your field’.

The purpose I have in telling folks that I’m a journalist is, ‘I’m a storyteller so I like to collect stories – could you please share your story with me?’

And that point, it’s true – I am interested in you. Because, unfortunately, I can only continue if the relationship is equal; ie. you prove interesting.

Why? Interesting people are genuinely interested people. You cannot be interesting, if you are not interested in people.

And people know. Sure, smart is smart – but it doesn’t take high entity to know when someone is not listening.

I find it goes directly to active listening. Is the person responding to you with probing questions?

Because anyone can ask and question before moving on to meet their own psychological needs. And sometimes that’s ok, because I actually do care to help you if you’re not NPD.

But, if the disinterested party is toxic, I clock off mentally. I’ve been known to actually cut people off so I can hit-the-road literally. Why wouldn’t I? I’m being used.

Of course, sometimes you’re stuck having to deal with these invariably weak and insipid types.

Like former colleague, Ed who appointed himself my manager, and subsequently, went about attempting workplace subjugation through power play.

It started early on-the-job, but the following after-hours text exchange from day 2 highlights problems that preceded and ensued.

Ed: You left your USB stick in your computer, so I put it away, so that you wouldn’t be fined by office security

Me: Goodo (ie. I’m annoyed that you’re seeking A. an apology and B. a thank you by way of misdirection – so in fact, not good at all)

Early the next day, as we passed in the corridor, Ed leveraged jungle law as office furniture and pressed for superb dead-end power play.

Ed: Did you get that USB?

Me: Yes

Ed: Next time, just think (takes index finger to temple, and taps it against the side of head a few times)

However, Ed’s implicational converse theory is a formal fallacy; that is, ‘you are dumb, and I am smart, and vice versa with evidence ala USB’, and it demonstrates the overriding fact.

That a job description, including title and duties that wannabe-managers don’t think we need, is a professional policy of personal paramount.

In actuality, the document allows us, the workplace marginalised, to establish boundaries with the encroaching likes of-the-Matts and the-Eds of-the-workplace-world.

So. Now I’m reverting to type including ‘journalist’ – I’ll be needing a faux title for enemy missions. What, ‘consultant’ you reckon?


Woolworths give newer meaning to ‘fresh’ food people

I silently commiserated. She sounded so sad. I would have been too, in managing an employee that Woolworths refused to fire, despite no role-required skillset.

Because, believing ‘women should not be managers’ and that your ‘DHS-employed son is going to get unmarried Australian mothers on benefits’ rorting system is one thing.

It’s another entirely to ‘pointedly’ share the hate with colleagues and customers. Problem number 1.

However, let’s ignore the ‘ignorant’ and instead, outline some basic problems for Australia’s second largest company with $59 billion revenue, 2016.

Problem number 2: English language

When a customer complains to head office, and is advised their ‘inquiry’ is being processed; the worry for said national grocery conglomerate who sees 29 million weekly customers, is point of difference between an ‘enquiry’ and a complaint.

At this point, all the customer can do is hope that business holds an ‘inquiry’ about the complaint.

Problem number 3: Roles and responsibilities

A business that expects customers to ‘stay in touch’ regarding their debacle – has simply lost the plot.

A customer is never responsible to follow-up a business risk, as crazily, it is not-on-them to manage the business risk.

This is especially true, if the customer is a journalist who has advised business that they are ‘working up copy for publication and need a quote from an authority figure’.

Problem number 4: Resource allocation

Welcome to 2017. Customers only get traction from business with poor practice, by using public over private channels – therefore, dollars towards dedicated Customer Complaints Centre are wasted.

Again – this is especially true, if the complaints centre does not ‘manage customers with complaints’.

Problem number 5: Business process improvement

Since 1924, Woolworths Limited employs 205,000 employees in 3000 stores; for efficacy over 92 years, business must refine process.

At risk of sounding like shit vinyl – again, true of a multinational company that operates with centralised and decentralised function. Woolworths Limited head office develops strategy, and stores implement and operate; in Australia anyway.

Business areas that do not regularly intercommunicate, fail business practices 101; eg. end-to-end customer complaint management.

Problem number 6: Business tools

In conjunction with a publically published Risk Management Policy, a General Manager Risk & Assurance is well-served by implementing a supporting business tool: AKA, a risk register.

Why? Please refer to problem 3, paragraph 3 regarding investigative journalism.

Where to, folks?

The purpose of communication is not to ‘inspire’ change desire in Woolworths. That would be fruitless; again, as evidenced.

Their response will relate to a common denominator for all blind capitalist ventures – fiscal failure of $1.25 billion last year.

In fact, we’re talking because I worry my compatriots are accepting poor service at a high cost. Something I flat out refuse.

As usual, I assign my personal and professional value. And if business does not make the cut and I don’t enforce the boundaries – then I have no business complaining.

So, rest assured, I’ll be back through old matie’s checkout – like yesterday, when I found him dressing-down a gorgeous old Greek mumma from Melbourne about a purchase request.

I bet that resolution ‘request’ for $5000 womens refuge donation looks pretty sweet right about now, hey Woolies.

The female half of my brain momentarily melted down pre Chrissie reading Daily Telegraph headline (Sat, 10/12) announcing emerging Australian MMA fighter Megan Anderson as ‘our ultimate bad girl’. Bloody. Hell.

I had forgotten momentarily the national media oligarchy is no longer a bastion of intelligent mainstream media, but corporate with an agenda that ensures women are reminded of their “ultimate” appeal: sexual viability.

Yeah, you can make allowances and give old mate, a young male journo the benefit of the doubt in calling Megan, Australia’s premier deviant, which is according to studies is characterised by ‘unacceptable’ sexual behaviour.

Let’s think about that? She’s valuable as a kinky whore and that’s what women should to aspire to because that’s what men want. Did I miss anything?

Of course, he didn’t mean to say that! I’m not the one with the limited repertoire – but whether it’s intended or unintended, it’s still anti-feminist. And when I bought the sexist headline to his and his employer’s attention, they remained silent and compounded the problem.

And what is the problem for corporates like News Corporation besides the fact their core values are a lie, as evidenced.

There’s a well-known social construct so-called Darwinism. The concept was ‘evolved’ in post-modern times as a Darwin Award. The award is usually given out to individuals who have killed themselves by doing something ill-considered. Like the American mechanic who put a jet engine into his ute and drove it into a cliff at ridiculous speed, thus killing himself and winning the annual award.

Drawing a line between A and B right now; if your business is sexist and racist, how long do you think it’ll take before you begin losing market share as worldwide women, and other marginalised groups, become exceedingly educated and eschew messaging that does not reflect their growing self-worth.

Like the message that Trump’s election sent to women worldwide; how many of us revised our understanding of social progress with that vote of confidence?

I’d love to see quantifiable data across the top four social media platforms, but it doesn’t take a particularly smart woman to know, if Trump easily abuses and degrades women at which point he’s elected leader of the free world, women might take ‘umbrage’.

So if women are increasingly assigning their personal and professional value that isn’t being reflected in business attitudes and behaviours – what will they do?

Well, if you’re lucky, they tell you how they feel and what they think – but mostly, women opt out.

Hell, everybody knows people avoid confrontation – if you get bad service in Australia, you’re likely never to return and bad mouth said operations, which as we all know is the biggest nail in the coffin.

So here’s my fiscal health warning to Australian business that isn’t walking the ‘diversity’ rhetoric they spout – hire a diversity consultant to help you board the train – because ‘nasty’ women account for 87 per cent of the world’s consumerism. Yep. Men might unbelievably earn 27 per cent more for doing same role, but they don’t ‘control’ it.

According to Harvard Business Review in the The Female Economy, women responded to a consumerism survey that they felt vastly underserved with sexism still present, for example, in seeking financial advice and health care.

Coupled with data showing women make purchasing decisions in 94 per cent of household furniture; 92 per cent of vacations; 91 per cent of homes; 60 per cent of automobiles; and 51 per cent of household electrical items – it’s clear, business must nurture customer relationships founded on respect and trust if they want to survive.

And business relations must be authentic, or a woman will sniff you out a mile away.

Of course, it’s not just management responsibility to train-in and enforce diversity policy because employees must account for their professional choices; you, as an employee of a diverse business, must reflect the policy in language and deed.

And if you aren’t and management accepts the poor behaviour, then they also accept the risk for hurting employees/publics, damaging their reputation and losing money/market share. Of course, one day they might not and sue their employee/s to recover litigation costs – oh wait – they already are.

In this instance, although it’s just another case of a male sports journo who has poor headline word selection; cause let’s face it, as a journo, if you don’t know the meaning of words you publish in a national publication, then in this instance, you fail.

So if you’re an influencer, know what you’re saying and doing to ensure it’s in keeping with a socially regressive or progressive position…either way that’s fine. I just want to know who I’m up against.

Create a free website or blog at

Up ↑