Fire Walk With Me: Acknowledging power


When you have power over someone, it’s important to acknowledge it. If you don’t acknowledge that you have power, it’s hard to examine your use of it. If you’re not paying attention to how you’re using your power, you will come to abuse it, and you won’t notice.


Hear, hear.

The CEO of the smaller business unit of the Very Large Megacorp I work for often does stuff like this in his regular meetings with staff. He’ll get us all together to talk to us about where the company’s going, and during these purposely vague corporate doublespeak rambles, he’ll make jokes like “I look at the crowd and I don’t see anyone I like” and “blah blah blah or you’re all fired” and “of course we’ve committed torture and other human rights violations against employees [who complain about lack of equitable pay].”

Afterward, all the cowering senior management types who work directly under him talk about how funny he was! It’s not funny, it’s gross. He’s the only one in the room who gets the freedom to find those jokes funny, because he’s the only one in the room with that much power. It’s the most fucking tone deaf management style I have ever seen, and the sad part is, he doesn’t even have to change, because he’s in a position where it doesn’t matter if he’s responsive to the concerns of his employees or not – the gears will continue to grind all the same.