Psychopaths, sycophants and other colleagues


There’s a fabulous job going at Marvel Studios for those wanting to break into movie making and you don’t have to be a superman or superwoman. You just have to play the game.

Marvel doesn’t want professional film-makers to apply, especially if they have an opinion. No, they are seeking “bootlickers, brownnosers, adulators, lackies, hangers-on, flatterers, doormats, puppets, minions, flunkies, and grovelers from all walks of life to compete in a new reality game show called, Who Wants to Be an Ant-Man Director?” in which regular people with no filmmaking experience will compete in a series of Dilbertesque labours to see who is corporate sycophant enough to make the movie.”

“Somewhere out there, somebody is willing to do whatever we say and put their name on it like it’s their own work,” Marvel Chief Creative Officer Joe Quesada, was reported as saying.  “We’ve just got to find the right automaton.”

Competition will be stiff. Contestants will compete in exciting games such as “Agree With Everything People in Suits Tell You” to earn Cross-branding Synergy Points™, or “Ass-kissing Limbo” which they can use to become immune to elimination, just like in real life!

“At the end of each episode, the contestants will be asked to betray their values in order to make a soulless shell of a movie that fits within Marvel’s 10-year business plan and scores well with focus groups,” reports. “Anyone who can put aside their dignity and agree to the demands of upper management will move on to the next round.” For more information check out: launching-new-reality-show-who-wants-to-be-an-ant-man-director.html)

corporate sycophant - dilbert

Thank you Dilbert

As we have all experienced, but of course never stooped to ourselves, sycophancy is a time-tested, if not honoured, shortcut to success and corporate survival, relying on ingratiation and flattery instead of talent and hard work to curry favour with authority in the workplace. Your seething fury is wasted. The brownnoser doesn’t see it that way – au contraire, he or she is a supplicant, devoted to a superior and knows that it is in their best interest to be whatever the object of their blind faith wants them to be.

Now, we are lucky people in the free world. We don’t have to watch Tony Blair suck up to George W and Condie to fight the ‘axis of evil’. We don’t have to obey our Dear Leader like North Koreans have to obey their Dear Leader, right down to his drastic haircuts or eat grass, if there is any left. We just eat humble pie having knowingly – and yes, willingly, opted to play the game when we joined a firm where little green bears – the conformists and self-preservationists – have the floor and the corner office.


This is no picnic.

I’ve had my colours done. The last time using Hermann’s Whole Brain Model™.

Surprise, surprise I radiated red and yellow behavioural preferences and was given a little green Velcro bear as a pedagogic tool. It was to sit on my desk, along with the “better results through better thinking” flip chart to remind me to use more of those self preservation traits when dealing with my overwhelmingly green and blue rational and planning mad, t-crossing, i-dotting colleagues.

The trouble is that I don’t want to leave common sense, intelligence and creative thinking in the lobby.

four selvesI don’t want to willingly suspend my beliefs and values when I enter or leave the building, even when the company values are light years ahead of what the Bible ever preached and will deliver world peace.

No I rebel against group think and colour bars.

It’s corporate apartheid.

I want to say “yes we can” rather than finding the ways – and let’s count them – to say “no we can’t” and not do something and spend hours, days, years atrophying in meetings with no hope of a decision let alone a course of action.

But, at least following that path, you will keep your job for years as the araldite of the organisation and guardians of cultural progress.

dissent imagesOf course, I have had, and also used, Myers Brigg’s psychometric testing questionnaires. It’s used to measure psychological preferences in how people perceive the world and make decisions.

Potential employers use psychometric testing to assess your potential and personality, gauge your ability with words and numbers and potential abilities crucial to many roles.

It’s fast and cheap and has grown into a multi-billion dollar global industry. Never had one? Your time will come unless you are a nested feather, in a job for life. There are at least 216,000 bits of advice on Google on how to ace the testing.

At the end you can be slotted into a four-letter box and be a dichotomy!  Gee that’s something to aspire to! You can play anagrams too with your own wheel of fortune!


I am not a total cynic of them. They can be useful. They can also be abused as some managers build teams on the basis of finding complementary personality types as if they were a Mengele of the modern workplace.

Tests can also give a false reading, rather like  Braxton Hicks contractions, as was the case of the disgraced former head of the UK’s Co-op Bank, Paul Flowers. He came up smelling of roses from the results of his psychometric and cognitive testing indicating he was perfection personified. But he was an S.H.I.T and had to resign after he was charged with possessing cocaine and ‘crystal meth’ among other ‘irregularities’.

Acclaimed American novelist, Kurt Vonnegut, recognised the danger of typecasting and misreading “most frighteningly, psychopathic personalities, or PPs, the medical term for smart, personable people who have no consciences,” in his book “A Man Without A Country”.

I’d recommend reading it, but if you want to rise up the corporate ladder I’d keep quiet about reading for pleasure, edification or illumination. It doesn’t fit the type. Rather study fish. And remember who the big fish is in the little pond.



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