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The Gruntwerx Paradigm

disgruntled worker at gruntwerx< Gunter was employed by the spectacularly successful IT consulting company, Gruntwerx. Why was Gruntwerx the acme of the German IT world? Because they didn't whine. They didn't complain about anything. Complaining caused negative energy, wasted time, and brought everyone down, the CEO of Gruntwerx, Helga von Werthog, said. "Two moans and you're out," she said. And she meant it. It was in all their employment contracts. Half of their analysts had been fired for whining on the job. It was hard to argue with their success. Even with the downturn in the economy, revenue and profits were way up. But the strain was starting to show. "Good morning, Gunter," his manager Berhard Dink said as Gunter walked into the office, a bit late. "You're tardy." "Are you complaining about it?" Gunter asked. "No, just noting the fact." "Ah. My apologies. My train was delayed." "And..." "And that's okay!" Gunter enthused. He smiled as broadly as he could. Of course, he wanted to say, scream: "and it sucks. I get in trouble because the bloody train is late." But he did not. He was a happy, productive worker. He had a job. He also had an ulcer, and a throbbing vein in his temple that was worrying. His co-workers dealt with the stress in other ways. Werner had taken up karate and self-flagellation. Hedrick was on a cocktail of mood-altering drugs that kept him happy, sedate, and incapable of enjoying marital relations with his leggy wife, Lisle. Gunter had been looking for employment elsewhere, someplace where he could speak his mind on occasion. But it was a shrinking market, not to mention that more and more companies, particularly in the IT industry, had taken up the Gruntwerx paradigm. The only thing that was keeping him sane was his hobby, taxidermy, and the self-help group that had formed from the most disgruntled Gruntwerx employees -- they meant once a week for what they called sessions of "über-bitch". He would survive it. He'd survived countless other management fads: TQM, quality circles, excellence, matrix management, and on, and on. He would survive the Gruntwerx paradigm too. He sat down at his desk and began the work day, content with the knowledge that he would rise above von Werthog and her corporate censorship.

There was a hubbub in the common area, where a TV was usually on showing the news. His co-workers looked worried, as they watched. It was their Chancellor, announcing a new sweeping law based on the Gruntwerx paradigm.

“If Germany is going to weather this global economic crisis, we must change the way we think. We must be positive. From this day forward, the German people are not allowed to complain, whine, whinge or moan about things, under penalty of law,” he said.

“Isn’t it wonderful?” Bernhard Dink asked the assembled Gruntwerx employees.

“Oh . . . uh, yes, yes,” they all muttered, but not Gunter.

He was already back in his office, calling an old army buddy, who dealt in illegal arms.

You know who else is really thrilled? Alltop . Thanks to Jan Tik for the photo. Originally published, December, 2008.


  1. Poor Lisle, poor leggy Lisle…

  2. Something tells me Lisle will be okay …

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