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The Boss says, "As lead software engineer, I give you the first unit of our ten thousand copy production run." Dilbert says, "Wow! I wish we'd designed it with the features listed on the box. That would have been awesome." The Boss says, "What?" Dilbert says, "I'll put this with the other reminders of how my life could have been excellent."
Catbert says, "We can keep our payroll expenses low by giving employees bad reviews." Catbert says, "Use this list of employee defects so you don't repeat yourself. It's less obvious this way." The Boss says, "Awkward, bumbling, cowardly, dumb?" Dilbert says, "My faults are suspiciously alphabetical."
Woman says, "Dilbert, your boss asked me to get your input on this." Dilbert says, "Absolutely, Ruth." Dilbert says, "We have two options for wasting our time here." Dilbert says, "Option one: I could tell you all of the things you should change, and you could ignore me as usual." Dilbert says, "Option two: I could lie, and tell you that everything is perfect." Woman says, "I prefer the lie. That way I can pin some blame on you if things go bad." Dilbert says, "Excellent choice. It's faster, and I can later say I was misinterpreted." Dilbert says, "Okay then, I declare that your document is perfect, under a certain set of assumptions that I won't list." The Boss says, "Did you help Ruth?" Dilbert says, "I'll say yes, but it's sort of a gray area."
The Boss says, "We can learn from our mistakes. Let's make a list of the things that each of you did wrong this year." Dilbert says, "It is just a coincidence that our annual performance reviews are due next week?" The Boss says, "It would have been the stuff of management legends." Catbert says, "Very nice try."
Boss: We're replacing our outdated system of annual performance reviews. The new system is called Gramification. It's a hot new trend. Employees can win badges, ribbons, and awards for completing tasks. Dilbert: Can we opt for the cash value of those badges, ribbons, and awards? Boss: They don't have any cash value. Dilbert: Oh. Like garbage? Boss: No, not like garbage! Except in the narrow sense of having no functional, economic, or emotional value. Garbage is something you throw away. Dilbert: Hand me an award and watch carefully.
Dilbert: Hi. I'm an engineer. That means I have excellent employment potential and I can fix things around the house. Woman: How are your social skills? Dilbert: Wow. Look who wants the moon.
CEO: Studies show that tall people earn more than shorter people. So instead of doing performance reviews this year, we'll just measure your height and pay accordingly. And, of course, Alice will earn ten percent less than the men. I think that's a law.
Boss: You're a perfect employee in many ways. Dilbert: I am? Boss: For example, you have excellent technical skills. Dilbert: That's true. Boss: And your attendance is perfect. Dilbert: Yes, it is. Boss: And you are too risk-averse to quit and start your own company. Dilbert: What? Boss: Plus, you have no social life to interfere with work.Dilbert: Are these still compliments? Boss: Combine all of that with your irrational need for approval, and it makes you a code-writing puppet. Did I already say you're underpaid? Dilbert: Stop complimenting me!
Catbert: The one called Dilbert is showing signs of happiness at work. Boss: That means we can give him more work and he won't quit. Excellent. Is anyone else exhibiting signs of unauthorized happiness? Catbert: No. Everyone else is in the narrow band of misery you want them to be in. If they were any happier, it would mean you're overpaying them. If they were any less happy, the would take their own lives. If you don't hear any laughing or screaming, it means you're doing something right. Boss: What about moans? Catbert: Moans are ideal. That's the sweet spot.
Boss: I don't like the optics of your plan. Dilbert: It's the only plan that can work. Should I change it to something that looks good but won't work? Boss: Excellent idea. You might have more management potential than I though.