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Work/Life: Dancing with the Work/Life Stars

CEO Dad’s Tuesday Tirade

CEO Dad’s Tuesday Tirade

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Fall is kicking in. New school year, new TV season. Reality, along with reality TV, is about to rear its ugly head. And what are all these reality TV shows but popularity contests, pitting us all against one another as millions of viewers wait breathlessly to find out who doesn’t have what it takes to make it? Once upon a time, you worked hard and met people along your career path that recognized your talents and helped you to advance. Now, you can be a chef, a top model, a singing star, whatever you’d like to be…as long as the required number of people who have never even met you phone in enough votes, or as long as some abusive chef/model/singing star deems you worthy.

Well, if we’re going down this road anyway, why not start giving in and making all of life like this? Here are a few network shows I’m lining up to pitch to the networks:

ARE YOU SMARTER THAN YOUR BOSS? In which the highest-ranking member of your workplace is pitted against you to see if they still have any concept of how to answer their own phone, fax their own documents, get their own dry cleaning or park their own car. Final round includes bosses having to come up with an excuse why YOU aren’t back from lunch yet. A Simon Cowell-like host waits on the sidelines to remind each contestant that they have no marketable skills.

SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DOWNSIZE? In which one lucky winner gets to make substantial cutbacks to their workforce, even if they have no previous leadership experience. Contestants can take the easy way out (relocating the entire operation to India) or the long road (hiring consultants to increase efficiency) depending on viewer preferences. A vicarious thrill for the unemployed, this promises to be a monster hit.

AMERICA’S GOT NERVE! In which a series of hopefuls take the stage to recite a completely fabricated resume. The more creative ones may even choose to sing a version of their utterly phony job history. The person who most convinces the panel of judges (David Hasselhoff, Paris Hilton, Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright) that they have had the bogus career they claim to have gets a job in their chosen field, where it doesn’t matter how badly they screw up. I talked to the network, and they are looking to make this the standard by which we choose our presidents by the year 2012.

BIG MOTHER 8. In which an overworked, overstressed executive is forced to spend a week in a house with his or her mother, gradually realizing how little they have made good on the hopes and dreams their family had for them. Hidden cameras capture every gory detail, including the carnage that results when birthdays, anniversaries and Mother’s Day are forgotten.

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Honestly, if we can’t develop qualifications or come to terms with what our real needs are outside the workplace by ourselves, why not work it out on national television? If anyone else has any ideas for reality shows that do the job we’re supposed to be doing, feel free to add yours. And Dr. Phil…call me.

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