1993 Pulitzer nominee Fables

Get Rich Quick: Enroll Sometime

Mirthology column, 1st run Thursday 9 April 1992 in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

By Ben S. Pollock
Copyright 1992 Ben S. Pollock

“Time Management 2001.” Students, if that is not what you signed up for, then you’re in the wrong room. Please take the door at the rear of the classroom so as not to distract those of us who are not lost. That way, both you and we will be using our time efficiently.

That can be our first lesson, and a free one for you people leaving now. This is The Golden Rule of Business Organization: “Do Unto Others … First.” Here is its Time Management Corollary: “Waste Not the Time of Others Who Would Waste You.”

That may sound harsh, but business people are tough guys because these are tough times, and nobody is in business for their health.

So why am I a teacher and not a zillionaire mogul? For my health, like I just said.

Most profitable business time management course will teach you future executives that delegating responsibilities is the way to success. That is not how the classes themselves are run, but that is what they profess.

That disparity is key to why you will find my class different from the others. This is THE diet plan that REALLY works.

Oops! Those are my notes from my Monday-Wednesday class. Actually, you’d be surprised how similar they are.

You may have taken one or more of those other courses, either through a college’s continuing education program or perhaps from a video-and-workbook system that you bought from a television program or magazine advertisement.

Those classes are so routine that all of them can be summarized in a single word — delegation — and its one-sentence definition: Delegation is the art of getting other people to spend their time so that you don’t have to waste yours.

My TM2001 is so sophisticated it cannot be reduced to a single sentence. It takes a whole paragraph to explain its key word.

My organization theory is based not on delegation but on procrastination. That’s right. Put off today what can just as well be done tomorrow — or next week. This includes encouraging your staff to procrastinate. Then they will like you.

On the other hand, I also will show you how to deny to your supervisors that you are procrastinating. It’s not that she or he will think you are lazy if you are caught but will believe you want their cushy job.

Your ambition is safe with me.

… What? You in the back row think that I’m a charlatan? And you’re reminding me that none of those new successful companies would hit the Fortune 500 list of top businesses if any division of their organizations procrastinated?

OK, young lady, you’ve got me there. But you must remember that such upstart companies soon learn that if they are to evolve into blue-chip corporations they will soon need a thick, insulating layer of bureaucracy by the time they “go public” and sell stock.

Thanks for that question. It brings me to the last point of this first session, alluded to earlier. Successful business efficiency courses do not practice those delegation skills that they teach, but procrastination.

You want an example? I’ll give you one next week.


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