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Boss: Did you finish the slide deck? Alice: I tried, but it was impossible. Some idiot in a nearby cubicle was clipping his nails. It was like torture. Clip, clip, clip, clip, clip. I couldn't think with that noise polluting the office air. I thought it ended, but then I heard some shoes and socks come off. It was my worst nightmare. Boss: Okay, whatever. Wally, did you finish your tasks? Wally: I tried, but then I notice that my nails were uneven.
Boss: Schedule your training during your lunch hours so it doesn't impact your projects. Dilbert: But... my lunch hour is the only freedom I experience in a typical day. The rest of my time is either scheduled to the minute or driven by whatever crisis is happening. Please don't take my lunch hour and reduce me to nothing but a prisoner in a digital chain gang. I'm barely clinging to my illusion of free will as it is. This could push me over the edge. If you take away my one hour of freedom in the day, I might as well be a robot. Boss: Relax. This is temporary. Dilbert: For how long? Boss: Until I can replace you with a robot.
Dogbert: Welcome to Dogbert's one-week training class for negotiators. I believe in leading by example, so this entire course will involve me trying to persuade you to buy my book. If everyone in the class buys my book, you can all have the rest of the week off. Voice: Done.
CEO: I approve this project based on your boss' spreadsheet calculations. His calculations must be accurate because an engineer handed them to me. Is that all you need? Dilbert: I need a hug, but I don't want to catch whatever caused all of this.
Dilbert: Looks like another day of flailing toward arbitrary goals. I will battle my way through a sea of idiots, much like the zombie apocalypse. My ego will be tested and my nervous system will be degraded. And all of this is to earn money so I can... buy items that scientists and product designers have brainwashed me to crave. But I get back at them by writing software they think they can't live without. My life is like two piles of meat trying to play ping pong. Alice: Stop mumbling and take care of this. Dilbert: You take care of it.
CEO: Revenue is dropping, but don't panic. We have a new strategy that will fix everything. Dilbert: How do you know it's a good strategy. CEO: I can tell by looking at it. Dilbert: Why don't all failing companies create great new strategies and become profitable? CEO: Hmmm. Good question. Dilbert: Maybe it's because no one can tell a good strategy from a bad one, but acting like you know the difference gets you a bigger paycheck. CEO: I just need buy-in for the strategy. Wally: If you give me a raise, I can pretend to know it's good.
Alice: I hear you're a slave owner now. CEO: That is unfair. I buy a few Elbonians on the Internet and suddenly I'm the "slave owner" guy. Alice: You are literally an owner of slaves. CEO: I prefer to think of them as bad negotiators.
Wally: I hear you're a slave owner now. CEO: No, nothing like that. All I did was buy some Elbonians on the Internet. Wally: Do they clean your house without pay? CEO: I assume they're a tidy people.
Boss: In a perfect world, how would you fix the problem? Dilbert: In a perfect world you would not exist, so I would do smart things instead of whatever you tell me to do next. So... what should I do next? Boss: Let's pie-chart this thing.