An Inc Magazine article sends Cedric Bigglestone on an investigative journey. By Cedric Bigglestone.
When a mysterious article shows up in Inc Magazine, exposé writer Cedric Bigglestone is drawn into a world of madness, treachery, and deceit. Will he, and you, ever be the same?
PART ONE: I see the article.
If you know me, you know I read articles. Today is no different. I see a delightful piece on how Carebears from the 1980’s had symbols on their stomachs that represented their personalities. That’s like me, I think. I sift through my feed, mark a few things for my “reading list” and then stop dead in my tracks when I come across an Inc Magazine article titled: “Five brutal truths about leading other people no one is willing to admit.” What. The. Fuck. Inc is claiming that it’s compiled a list of things people won’t admit? How’s that possible? I must read on.
PART TWO: I read the article, but something’s wrong.
As I read through the article, it jumps almost straightaway to listing five “truths” about leadership. Things like “giving your employees purposeful work” and “reducing loneliness in the workplace.” My first question: If no one is willing to admit these things, then how did you get the story? I look to the word “willing.” Hmmmm, I think, a buzzing “hmmm” sound going through my head. Willing. No one would give up this information willingly. Did this motherfucker torture people for this information?
PART THREE: I dive deeper into madness.
If you write an article about something no one is “willing to admit” then it should end after the headline (because you have nothing) or you have to coerce the answers from “unwilling” subjects. I won't mention the author’s name for fear of ending up in a basement somewhere and being asked to tell my secret views about leadership, but I do find that one of his “tips” at the end of the article is to give employees freedom. “Love them by giving them their freedom,” he writes. He continues: “Autonomy, or the ability to control what you do, when you do it, and with whom, is one of the fundamental elements of what intrinsically motivates human beings, which leads to better performance.” He should have added, “especially when they’re chained to a chair in your basement and being asked about shit they won’t admit.”
PART FOUR: I consider maybe I’m misreading this.
Two CEO’s (or something like that) are interviewed in the article. Were they beaten into confessions? Is this why the truths are “brutal”? How is Inc Magazine getting away with this, I wonder. Unless…. That’s when it hits me. None of it is true. The author tells us this right from the start. He says he’s going to name five things no one will admit. He and the people he cites are admitting stuff. This means that whatever they’re saying is a lie and we should know that. And if that’s what this article is really trying to say (that everything in it is a lie because if it weren’t it wouldn’t be publishable because no one would admit it) then everything in it is really the opposite of the truth, which, of course, reveals the truth itself….
PART FIVE: I conclude the dude who wrote this is a genius.
Marcel Schwantes (whose last name I say kind of like “schwiiiing” in Wayne’s World) is a genius. This is clear. He couldn’t tell us the things no one (including himself) would admit. That would be impossible. But he could give us the opposite so that someone (like me?) would discover the truth. I reread the article noting my new knowledge and understanding.
PART SIX: I reread the article noting my new knowledge and understanding.
Want to know the real “5 brutal truths no one is willing to admit”? I’m going to tell you now by going through the fake truths and then revealing what I believe the opposites are:
FAKE TRUTH: “Putting your employees ahead of customers.”
REAL TRUTH: “Not putting your customers behind employees.”
MEANING: I’ll be honest here. I’m not sure if I’m supposed to do the opposite of the general idea or the opposite of every part of the phrase. Because this makes no fucking sense.
FAKE TRUTH: “Giving your employees purposeful work.”
REAL TRUTH: “Not giving your customers non-purposeful leisure time.”
MEANING: O.K. I tried it again and it works a lot better for this one. Don’t give customers free time that doesn’t have a purpose. Makes sense.
FAKE TRUTH: “Reducing loneliness in the workplace.”
REAL TRUTH: “Increasing human interaction at home.”
MEANING: Radical, and maybe intrusive. But it’s something no one would admit.
FAKE TRUTH: “Bringing more humanity to the workforce.”
REAL TRUTH: “Leaving behind less animal behavior away from unemployed people.”
MEANING: This could mean not having pets or something. I'm still working on it.
FAKE TRUTH: “Loving your employees.”
REAL TRUTH: “Hating my boss.”
Cedric Bigglestone is a self-taught journalist who exposes things through exposés. Contact him at email@example.com.
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