The Non-Existent Employee Manual

This is the Employee Manual that I would have written IF the Company actually had a Manual.


I am sure that you are excited about this new opportunity. You may have just left a really crappy job to start a new chapter in your career and Kudos to You for taking that step!

This manual is to guide you through some of the challenges that will be thrown at you by a company that meets every definition of a dysfunctional workplace including not giving employees an Employee Handbook.

Now don’t think that since you are not given an Employee Handbook that you do not have any rights or that you can’t be successful here. You do have rights, and you can be successful. Both will depend on how well you manage the insanity and how insane you are.


So, why is there no handbook given to employees?

There is actually a handbook that management created in 1992, and in their defense, senior management has periodically tried to update the handbook over the years. The issue is that senior management cannot agree on anything. So, the updated handbook never gets past the draft phase. The last attempt failed because they could not agree on what type of font to use in the new handbook. The time before that failed because they couldn’t agree on who should be on the handbook review committee, and so on, and so on.


The original handbook is kept in a locked cabinet somewhere in the office. If you ask to see the handbook, you will be told that the handbook is currently being updated and that you will be provided the updated copy as soon as it is approved by the company’s legal counsel. This sounds legitimate on the surface, but keep in mind that this is the same story that they told me over fifteen years ago. Senior management also has the tendency to use free online legal apps as their “legal counsel”. So, buck up! there is probably some guy overseas living above a crack house reviewing the handbook as we speak.

How do I know that they will give me what they said they would in my interview?

You will get everything that is in your offer letter, but do not expect anything else. Most employees expect to show up for their first day of work with a work area set aside for them and a boss that is at least physically present to show you where the restrooms are. That is not the case here. The degree to which you are welcomed will depend on the circumstances under which you were hired. These circumstances are contingent upon which of the four senior managers were in favor of hiring you.

For example, if the manager that is referred to as a Sociopath hires you as her file clerk, your office will look like this…….

home office with a view

If the manager that is referred to as the Dragonfly were to hire you as a Senior Development Engineer, the best that you can hope for is this…….

opened and empty drawers of an old furniture

(By the way the Dragonfly outranks the Sociopath in the organization.)

Do not take it personal. These are things that are out of your control.

Okay, is there any other reason that a handbook is not given to employees?

Good question.

If three out of the four senior managers were capable of agreeing on anything, they would still need to wait until the primary shareholder in the company sold his shares or willed them to his next of kin because the primary shareholder holds 50% of the vote. The primary shareholder has publicly expressed his opinion on numerous occasions that if employees are provided a handbook, they will spend their days at work trying to exploit loopholes in the handbook, OR they will find something in the handbook that will let him/her sue the company.

Now at this point, you are probably thinking that you have made a huge mistake by accepting this job, but don’t despair, all companies are dysfunctional at some level, it is how you handle it that matters. You can make an obscene amount of money at this company, and this can be done by working as little as possible or as hard as possible. It is really up to you. The flip side of the coin at a dysfunctional workplace is that you can also lose money by working as little as possible or by working as hard as possible.

Now, that doesn’t make any sense?

Exactly. Welcome to a dysfunctional workplace. Traditional management techniques do not work here. You have to throw all of that out the window, or you will end up crying in the corner of the bathroom or develop a disorder that  will require medication. Already medicated? TablettenThen you will be fine here with the occasional increases in dosages. You may want to put that doctor of yours on speed dial.

I am doing this to prove that the power to excel in a workplace is yours if you are willing to embrace the environment that you are in. Managers come and go. New management techniques come and go. Sometimes logic works. Sometimes it doesn’t. You can stay too long, and you can run so fast that you catch the front door and the receptionist on fire when you finally decide to quit.

To allow your success and happiness to depend on a handful of people that would rather discuss font type than why their latest idea has put the company in the red is ridiculous. This is your career not theirs. So, it is time to embrace the reality of the situation and make a buttload of money off of these assholes! Remember that you wouldn’t have this job if the senior managers knew how to do the job.

Now even though there will be times, many, many times that you will just want to throw your hands up and walk out, you are not alone. For people who think that this manual makes sense, you have to understand that there are people like us out there. It is just that people have to keep us separated because if we found one another and started a company, it would put everyone else out of business.

You are going to be just fine.

Wait! You said that being insane has something to do with working here. Are there really insane people that work here?

One person No one that works here currently has papers provided by a medical doctor that say they are insane.

I know that all of this sounds ridiculous, but you will learn that in order to be successful in this workplace that you not only have to manage the employees that will be assigned to you, but you will also have to learn to manage the people that have the power in this company. Power in this company has absolutely nothing to do with the job title or where you fall in the organizational chart which by the way, has been in draft form as long as the Employee Handbook.

If this still scares you, don’t worry. No one is ever fired here. It is easier to fire a tenured teacher or impeach a President than it is to fire someone at this company. This is a company that fires you by making you quit.

Now let me introduce you to your senior management team… order of the most powerful to the least powerful.