Tuesday, August 12, 2014

The Time I Learned About "Business" and "Bureacracy"

I was raised blue collar/working class. My father was a general contractor, and I started building houses when I was 12. There was good and bad to how I was raised but it's was not in my nature to follow my father in his job, so I went to college.

I ended up being a newspaper reporter, followed by being an editor. When I became an editor I learned things I did not know existed. One: there really is An Old Boy's Network, reserved for the graduates of the "top" (sic) schools and maintaining the bureaucracy is top priority for these buffoons.

I was editor of a weekly paper, which was owned by medium-sized daily about 10 miles away. The owner of the paper at that time was Capital Cites/ABC, which has since been bought out by Disney.

The "publisher" (sic) of the daily was one Gary Berkeley, and he was a fool. I have forgotten where he graduated from, but it was a Top Five school (by the way, I have no respect whatsoever for Harvard or Yale or Princeton or any of those schools, and, of course, their graduates).

Berkeley was a second-rater, of course. The only reason such people survive is because the workers do all the work, while people like Berkeley interfere by hiring third-raters.

One third-rater he hired was Dan Vavrinek, whom I have mentioned before. Vavrinek was an evil man, and everyone knew it but Berkeley.

Vavrinek was caught cheating on his life when a female employee caught him and a woman he had hired having sex on company property. Vavrinek was not fired becuse Berkeley talked the top executives at Cap Cities into giving Vavrinek another chance.

Vavrinek opened up a weekly paper, which didn't last six months. The market was already saturated. He did many other things, and I have never seen such a catastrophe in my life. One thing he did was hire a young women to be the general manager at the paper at which I was editor, and she was removed after six months. She was one of those fourth-raters hired by a third-rate Vavrinek.

The next general manager was Tom, who was a first-rater who somehow slipped by. Within a year he got hired at the paper across the street and took the office manager with him - and most of the ads.

That put a big hurt on the paper. Vavrinek didn't have a clue and neither did Berkeley. So what happened next? Vavrinek hired a fifth-rater, an ugly, boney, 50ish woman named Peggy. Peggy was downright stupid, and utterly incompetent.

Finally, Vavrinek had fucked up so much he was lateralled out of state, and Peggy was removed from her position.

Everything I had predicted came true - the removal of Vavrinek, the removal of Peggy, the removal of the first general manager, the paper finally going under. And Berkeley never listened, and he never saw any of it coming.

Years later the daily paper was sold to Gannett, and Berkeley "decided" to retire. Sure he did. He was replaced by a man who worked his way up from being a truck driver, and I'm sure he's a better businessman - and a better man - than Berkeley ever was.

What I learned: first-raters hire first-raters; second-raters hired third-raters, and third-raters hire fourth- and fifth-raters. And when businesses get too big, maintaining the hierarchy and bureaucracy trumps all.

This is why competition is so important. In the long run, it cleans the incompetents out.

No comments: