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Hierarchies of employment

I've been so quiet here lately because I've had nothing of great importance to say, and also because work has actually been keeping me very busy. It did inspire me to look around and observe that in the average office you can tell how important someone is just by catching a glimpse of the task they're doing. (I think this occurred to me while I was on my knees in the lunch room, stacking bottles of water into the fridge, and musing that you never see the Vice President of Operations doing something like this.) So, here's a basic sketch of the hierarchy, as I see it. Feel free to adjust or add on, according to your own observations.

Official Index of Workplace Importance

Level 1: Peon
Can be identified by these actions and poses: Filing, esp. on knees. Rinsing out coffeepots. Photocopying large stacks of paper. Carrying heavy but not expensive things.

Level 2: Mildly Useful Assistant
Sorting mail. Typing. Bringing coffee or refreshments to Important Personages. Filing occasionally, but not on knees. Photocopying smallish stacks of paper. Carrying expensive but not heavy things.

Level 3: Essential Help
Talking on phone for business purposes. Sorting important mail. Bringing coffee or refreshments to Supreme Beings. Photocopying one page every so often. Making other people carry and file things. Going to meetings with Important Personages and Supreme Beings, but only to take minutes.

Level 4: Important Personage
Talking on phone for business purposes with door closed. Receiving important mail, pre-opened. Going to meetings and giving the presentation. Asking for coffee and refreshments. Looking at catalogs and choosing some of the expensive and heavy stuff that gets ordered.

Level 5: Supreme Being
Talking on phone for business purposes from home or place of vacation. Receiving important mail, sealed. Going to meetings for purpose of scaring others with mere presence. Receiving coffee, refreshments, and expensive stuff without having to ask.

(I'm somewhere between levels 1 and 2 right now, if you were wondering. But, hey, I'm not complaining. There are worse jobs, to be sure.)

Edit, 9/5/03: Recommended humor reading: kenshi has put together a very elaborate D&D-style taxonomy to expand upon this. Check it out!

Comments

radiofreecarbon
Sep. 4th, 2003 09:47 am (UTC)
That's good! I especially liked the pre-opened versus sealed mail distinction.

We may need to add a correction factor for the size of business (e.g., small <20 employees, medium 20-100, large 100-500, huge >500) in the formulation of the Official Index of Workplace Importance (OIWI).

At my old job (at a small business) I was hired at level 1, but within 6 months was hovering around level 4. Not necessarily because I was that good, but there just weren't that many other folks around. I might even postulate that levels 2 & 3 don't exist in small businesses, and that levels are added commensurate with the size of the business.

And I'll imagine that for huge businesses, there are even more levels in the OIWI. Perhaps something like -

Level 6: Uber Suit
If you are in levels 1-3, you are significantly more likely to see L6 personages on the cover of a magazine than in the office. The office of L6 is a multi-room affair with its own support staff. An L2 in the staff of an L6 outranks an L2 in the general office. L6 does not use phone, email, or regular mail for legal reasons. L6 persons only meet with other L6 persons, generally on golf courses or on sail boats.

Okay, fine; it's time for me to find a job-should I use the OIWI in the interview, "Do you see this position as Level 2 or 3?"