Sour Grapefruit League

springtrainingFor many years I’ve been terribly jealous of Major League Baseball players. Not because they get paid a jillion dollars to play a game, or that many of them have great hair or gorgeous girlfriends or wives. No, what I covet is a job that includes “spring training.”

It’s a great concept. Players spend six weeks or so in warm weather, practice a couple of hours a day, sit by the pool, play golf, and a bunch of games that don’t even count, before they even begin to get down to work for real.

Say, for instance, teams of white collar corporate drones need to get in ship shape for the brutal fall budget planning season for the year ahead. To do so, they spend six weeks in DC during cherry blossom season which lulls them into believing the world is fair. Then training cranks up with a full schedule of mock meetings with another companys’ controllers who are there to beef up their resolve to break the hearts of aspiring Directors by insisting on across the board 20 percent cuts…just for the sport of it. By the second week, cocky Millennials who showed up expecting to make the team even though they have no discernable skills or practical experience, will wash out once they find out that once you get hired, you have to actually do work.

C-Suite executives generally show up during the third week sporting artificial tans and obnoxious anecdotes about the Disney cruises they took in the off-season. But they’ll need to catch up quickly with two-a-day harassment workouts. You can’t just walk in the office after a two-month off-season and expect to effectively harass your staff.

Last to show up are members of the Board of Directors. Their regimen includes “backroom deal boot camp” and “boardroom coup playacting.” Despite it being the pre-season, there’s immense pressure to get in shape before the annual shareholders meeting where they must show how well they practiced their “I give a shit” looks when a shareholder offers a proposal.

Personally, I feel I could benefit from a reasonable off-season of, say 3 months while I lick my wounds from the last corporate bloodletting season, and a productive pre-season where I can effectively sharpen my political knives.

I’d be ready to roll with any idiot who blathers on about their latest pet project, and would even suggest negating a moronic policy decision…by way of the “midlevel-manager’s challenge.”

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