As a woman, you don’t want to embrace this concept for yourself but it is important to understand it because it is still relevant. In a humorous way it explains what your male peers may be aspiring to.
As I often talk about, the male workplace produces a slew of problems and crises it must deal with and make go away. If we go back to the old analogy and equate problems to alligators, a company that is plagued with problems is “up to its waist in alligators.” So what do they do?
They hire – The Great American Alligator Slayer!
The Great American Alligator Slayer is a combination of Teddy Roosevelt and John Wayne. He will kill the alligators and solve problems with his big guns and larger than life personality! He’s a man’s man, hard-charging, he calls it as he sees it and runs over anyone that gets in his way. He is both feared and respected. On his office wall hangs dozens of alligator hides – his trophies – for all to admire and be in awe of.
When there are problems – don’t worry – The Great American Alligator Slayer will save us!
He will be Our Hero!
This philosophy of how to solve problems is deeply imbedded in company culture. Promotion systems are based upon who can kill the most alligators. We look for that person who is aggressive, takes charge and dominates in a crisis. He works long hours slaying alligators, sacrificing his family and his health, displaying his loyalty to the company in its time of crisis. It is all very American macho. By slaying the alligators, the conquering hero distinguishes himself and establishes his superiority above the timid…the weak….and the mere average.
Once hero status is earned, the Great American Alligator Slayer no longer needs to continue to slay alligators. That is left to up-and-coming. The young must venture into the swamps and prove themselves. Senior management makes assignments and counts alligator hides captured by the next generation of potential Great American Alligator Slayers.
For the next generation it is critical that the alligators keep coming. The brave hope for the “Jaws” of all alligators, one larger than has ever been slain before. By slaying an alligator larger than ANY in corporate history not only does he forever secure his place in the elite fraternity of Great American Alligator Slayers but he immediately earns the respect and admiration of those who have come before him.
God Bless the Great American Alligator Slayer!!
This system of slaying alligators seems to work as long as there is a balance between Alligator Slayers and alligators. But what happens when the alligators outnumber the abilities of the Alligator Slayers?
First the Alligator Slayers will NEVER admit that they cannot handle the alligators. As the young up-and-comers get overwhelmed, the older Alligator Slayers will need to protect the fraternity so they will step in and offer their wisdom, slay a few alligators, all the while shaking their heads about how soft the younger generations have become.
As the alligators continue to multiply, some fearful office employee may offer a different approach – Drain the swamp! What?!! What a wimp!! If that Swamp Drainer left the comforts of the office for the swamp, he would be an alligator snack in 5 minutes flat! And we know draining the swamp won’t make ALL the alligators go away – just the larger alligators will leave to find better hunting grounds and only the small ones will be left. Who wants to hunt small alligators?!? What kind of company will we be…how will be compared to our competitors if there are only small alligator hides hanging on our walls?
No, the swamp can’t be drained. Senior management earned their status because they are Great American Alligator Slayers. Changing the promotion criteria may question their abilities and status. If the swamp could be drained, and all the alligators really went away leaving peace and harmony like some Coke commercial, then the inevitable question will be raised – Why didn’t the Alligator Slayers drain the swamp years ago? And if draining the swamp is the ultimate solution, then why aren’t the Swamp Drainers running the company instead of the Alligator Slayers?
No, no, no! This can’t be!
Hey – has anyone seen that Sierra Club petition to save the swamp?
Who cares if the Sierra Club doesn’t want us to kill alligators– that’s OK for now –
It’s time to hunt Swamp Drainers!
Empowered Women Understand the Swamp They Work In!
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