Art of Misusing Company Resources – Come Unprepared

Lest the earlier discussed strategies convey to the Managed that misuse of company resources is the sole preserve of Managers, take heart ! It is not so. Most companies in the modern world are equal opportunity employers. The lower rungs of the Corporate hierarchy have as much right to misuse company resources as do the higher. In fact, more, if past data is anything to go by.

If you have been asked by your Boss for a presentation to the senior management on the competitive landscape in the industry, you have the perfect platform for showing your readiness for a senior management role by making your contribution towards misusing company resources. Here is how.

Employees often come well in advance of a scheduled meeting time where they are making a Presentation, especially when the Presentation is to seniors, to ensure that all systems (like Laptop, Projector, Lights) are working.

Instead of wasting company paid time by coming early and checking on resources that are expected to be working, you will swagger in five minutes after the scheduled start time of the meeting. This is not to show disrespect to anyone, but to allow for the seniors to gather. You don’t want the stragglers among the seniors to feel that they have delayed the meeting by coming in late, as you will try to explain when asked.

You will then proceed to connect your Laptop to the Projector and search for the file you need to display. You will not find it because while you had arranged with someone to make last-minute changes you had not agreed on the folder where the file would be placed on the shared drive.

You will then proceed to call the person last updating the file and, in a stern, officious tone, that displays your full control on the situation, proceed to ask for the file location which you then proceed to bring up on your Laptop. The file opens and plays the video of “Another one bites the dust” by Queen (you know your boss loves that one). You can feel the appreciative looks around the room boring into your back as if saying “thank you for taking us out of the daily tedium”, even as you struggle to muzzle Freddie Mercury & co. through some frantic pressing of keys.

As the video stops and a blank screen comes up you stand up to speak, and look intently at the screen, willing it to respond. Nothing happens. It stays frozen. You press some keys frantically but nothing happens. By now thirty minutes of the allotted sixty have passed.

You turn to the audience and offer apologies on behalf of the incompetent soul who you had entrusted with the responsibility of putting the right data on the file and say that you will “attend to that person suitably” and also reschedule the meeting. As people file out of the room your Boss asks you to stay back and says “I need to have a chat with you”.

The meeting never gets rescheduled. Turns out it was your last day at that company. You get fired.

Art of misusing company resources – 2. Meeting rescheduled, finally !

The Boss calls a meeting of his team, people who report to him. It is slotted for one hour.

The Boss’ secretary is in the meeting room at the appointed time and passes an attendance sheet around. This is done in solemn silence. As if the people signing the sheet would be the only ones needing to come back to work tomorrow. People missing the meeting need not. Everyone in the room looking at each other with an enquiring look.

Every two and a half minutes she runs out of the room to check with the Boss, and comes running back exactly thirty seconds after going out and says “He will be here shortly. Just finishing an important call that got extended. He is very sorry for the delay”. When someone followed her out of the meeting room she stopped, pulled out her mobile and start dialling nonchalantly as if that is what she came out for. Perhaps she did not want anyone else accompanying her to the Boss’ office and see him playing Solitaire.

After repeating the above about six times, about twenty minutes had elapsed. By now a sense of disquiet and restiveness amongst the participants was visible. She then announced that that the Boss has offered to pay for coffee and cookies for the participants. This was a business meeting after all. This coffee and cookies, she suggested, would be ordered from the luxe Coffee shop just opened in the mall next door and not the cheap company cafeteria. The participants cheered and settled down to wait for the Mochas and Lattes and Cappuccinos. They engaged in a game of Dumb Charades while waiting for the coffee.

As the order of coffee was from the shop outside, coffee arrived about five minutes prior to the scheduled closure time of the meeting.

The Boss walked in at this juncture (when the coffee had arrived and was hot), loudly talking on his mobile. He was saying “OK I will call you back”, “I have an urgent meeting NOW” or some such thing. Presumably he was not talking actual business because that would mean he was actually talking to someone on the phone.

The Boss proceeded to pick-up his Hazelnut Frappuccino, which his secretary had taken to order alongwith the rest (and which on other days he would have paid for), apologised for the delay, and offered to get his secretary to check their availability and reschedule the meeting.

Art of misusing company resources – 1. Call urgent meeting

The Boss should call a meeting of his team, that is, of people who report to him.

The meeting needs to be designated as urgent so that people who need to attend have no choice but to drop whatever they are doing and rush for the meeting. This will permit the effort they had already put into the task to be wasted, requiring the task to be restarted from scratch.

Care should be taken that the subject of the meeting not be specified. This will create intrigue and interest and get people, who may have skipped the meeting if the subject did not pertain to them, to attend in the belief that something of importance for their area may also be discussed. Otherwise, some may have skipped the meeting and spent the time doing work.

The call for the meeting should be given at a time when a significant number of the intended participants are expected to be engaged in meetings with their own teams. This will create a powerful multiplier effect as many other meetings involving many other people will be disrupted.

Care should be taken that the Boss does not invite peers and seniors to participate. The Boss’ successful conduct of these meetings is likely to spark jealousy amongst peers leading to a campaign of misinformation against him.

In the meeting, the Boss could either sing the company song in chorus, announce the introduction of a new vendor in the cafeteria, give a sneak preview of the new policy on cars to be only parked backed-up in the office compound, or any other important and urgent matter, puff out his chest, and say that the CEO wanted that information to be personally disseminated by him to his team and that he would like each of the participants to “go forth” and do the same with their teams within the next two hours. He should then thank them for their participation and close the meeting.