How to Figure Out "What They Meant By That"

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Reader Comments (20)

ha ha... best one in a while IMHO

February 11, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterben

"I want you to work harder."
"I'm sure you do. The question is, do you think I will work harder because of that?"
"... Shoot."

February 11, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSpatulaoDoom

Watch how I spring into action.
I don't see you doing anything.
Noooo, you doOHHn't...

February 11, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMatt

The worst part is when you realize that the other person does not care about what you say, do, or think at all because all they want is an audience to listen to a bitter, vindictive rant transparently formulated to make the speaker feel better about something that has nothing to do with the listener, or anyone else besides the speaker.

February 11, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterGregory Bogosian

"I want you to work harder."

"I want you to pay me more, but that ain't happenin' either."

February 11, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJames D. Gray

Finally, a political cartoon.

February 11, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterEric RoM

Is the boss aware of countless studies showing that while employees can increase productivity over brief periods, they invariably burn out and end up following up these bursts with lower productivity due to fatigue, illness, etc.?

People can find more efficient methods or tools, but trying to make them "work harder" is demonstrably ineffective in the long run.

February 12, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSteve

"Watch how I spring into action." totally should have had an exclamation point at the end. Observe:

"Watch how I spring into action!"

The sarcasm is now palpable. But either way, that's probably the best response to Mullet Boss yet.

February 12, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterBAH!

Awesomeness. I still remember when a manager sprung the "Work smarter, not harder" on me. When I explained that my call times were long because I kept getting stuck on OS reinstall calls on high end workstations. Company policy *required* that I stay on the phone for the entire reinstall. She had no answer when I asked how to get Windows XP and all the drivers and updates to install in less than two hours.

February 12, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterLEH

All employees already believe that they are working harder than they should, and that their supervisors and subordinates are working about half as much as they should. You might nudge their behavior, briefly, with a rebound of lessened activity, but you won't budge that belief, from which all action springs.

February 12, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterkhereva


According to your post it would almost seem like a Boss would actually care about the health of their employees. They don't. If one worker breaks down, he will simply be swapped with a newer one and by "swapping" I really meant "kicking the old one out" because he doesn't meet the productivity requirements anymore.

February 12, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterGin

Oh, the third panel.

February 12, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterPrattle Assassin

@Gin: While the history of industrialism and capitalism does make that a valid concern, there are ultimately a finite number of people available to hire in the world and an even smaller number of people who are qualified.

February 12, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterArekExcelsior

the "shoot" double meaning at the beginning redefines the whole comic, and I'm gonna use it all the time, now.

February 12, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterducken

I noticed that mullet boss transformed from low res to HD in the final panel. Any particular reason for that that I'm missing?

Note from Scott: One drawing is meant to look good when taking up most of the frame while the other's designed to look good when tiny. I didn't do a very good job of diferentiating the two in this case.

February 12, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJohn

So to interpret panel 1:

"I want your obedience on something."


"I think you should all work harder"

"I'm not listening"

"I'm glad we understand each other."

February 12, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterK. L.

@Gin You have it backwards. Firing people then giving their replacements the necessary training is expensive. So firms have a documented tendency to hold onto more employees than the classical theory of the firm says that they should during recessions to defer those costs to boom periods and either give those extra employees less work, or give them less important work. Its called "labor hoarding"(Abel, Bernanke,Croushore, 377). Of course during booms and periods of normal economic growth firms will not do this and will fire anyone whom they judge to be worth less than the current wage rate. However, during booms and periods of normal economic growth,the economy is by definition operating at full-employment output or more, which means that everyone who wants a job can get one except for the structurally unemployed. But structural unemployment is a completely different kettle of fish.

Sources: Macroeconomics 8th edition by Andrew B. Abel, Ben S. Bernanke, and Dean Croushore, published by Pearson, Page 377.

February 12, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterGregory Bogosian

Uh oh...

It looks like Scott is "making quote marks" in the "air" with his "fingers".

February 13, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMatt

I have learned way to much about the economics of employment in the comments. I need to go take a nap now.

February 13, 2014 | Unregistered CommenteraSimplerSimon

James D. Gray...yours wins!

Mr. Ford tried this amazing expiriement; he cut his employees hours in half, and doubled their wages, so they could earn a living in 8 hours.
Their productivity actually improved so much it was a net gain for Ford, who had only been trying to break even on the exchange.
Other companies try this occasionally, with predictably good results.
Then they get new hotshot (meaning cocaine addicted) leaders, who decide they can make more by lowering wages and increasing hours.
That never works long-term, but they don't go back to what does work.

February 13, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterDee
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