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October 8, 2007

It’s Time for CEO Fantasy Camp


A baseball fantasy camp is aptly named. This is where old, fat men with no baseball skills whatsoever pay thousands of dollars to put on major league uniforms and actually play ball with ex-big leaguers.


I love baseball. But why would I want to attend a fantasy camp?


Does it do your ego a lot of good to spend a day doing something for which you are completely incompetent – alongside those who are the best in the world at this very avocation?


When I go to a ballpark, I know my place. In the stands. I know the players’ place. On the field. They play. I watch. Everyone is doing what they do well. No one needs to indulge any fantasies this way.


See, if I’m going to be involved in a fantasy camp, I want it to be one in which I am in my element, and the poor dumb bastards paying the money have to fantasize to convince themselves they can keep up with me.


We’re going to have CEO fantasy camp.


It will cost you $2,000 for three days. You get to wear a double-breasted suit, cufflinks, a buttoned-down shirt and a red power tie. You get to carry around a briefcase. I don’t care what’s in it. Actually some chicken for me would be a good idea. But whatever.


Who comes to this thing? Hell if I know. Blue collar workers. Professional athletes. Teachers. Doctors. Some of them might have a hard time scraping together $2,000, but what do you think those credit card offers in the mail are for?


The first day, I’ll bring together a bunch of famous retired CEOs to go through business drills with you. Lee Iacocca will teach you how to whine about unfair competition from the Japanese. Jack Welch will show you how to motivate some of the employees, fire others and get dates with the really pretty ones. Roger Smith will show you how to run from a fat guy chasing you with a movie camera. One of our campers can play the fat guy.


Then we’ll go over lingo. Do you know that “ballpark” is a verb? So is “dovetail.” You didn’t know that? Would you know enough to emit an amused chuckle when someone compares a task to “herding cats”? How are you going to understand anything that’s going on around here?


Once you know the lingo, we’ll spend some time on corporate politics. See that guy over there? He’s mastering the art of getting placed on every high-priority project team without ever getting assigned any tasks. It’s not easy. His ultimate goal is to be at least CC’d on every e-mail in the company. A BCC is worth triple points.


What does he actually do? What makes you think he does anything? Corporate politics is a full-time avocation if you’re really taking it seriously.


On the last day, you get to run your own corporate board meeting. You get to make an agenda, approve minutes, gather input and even allocate money. That’s right! I’ll give you a budget! You can approve the spending of up to $500,000 on corporate initiatives. It doesn’t get any more real than that.


Of course, since I’m the real CEO, I’ll nod condescendingly and never spend the money, but that’s why I call it a fantasy camp.


What have you learned since you’ve been here? That you’re hopelessly out of your element, completely incompetent and at risk of everyone here making fun of you behind your back.


Well, before you become hopelessly disillusioned, understand that this is actually about as close to the real CEO experience as you’re going to get. Everyone is saying all the same stuff about me every day. Of course, I could squash their nuts into oblivion. You just have to sit there and take it.


Thanks for attending the camp! It’s been a pleasure taking your money.


© 2007 North Star Writers Group. May not be republished without permission.


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