When one door closes,
Another opens,

Only this door is a little smaller,
Well, maybe more than a little,
It’s more of a hatch really,
Almost a dog flap if we’re being honest —
Something one would have to crawl through,
And it seems to be leading below ground,
I guess it could be described as a sort of entrance to a pit,
And the sign above it reads, “Waste Disposal”,
In fact, upon closer inspection, that’s what it is:
A trash pit.
It’s a trash pit.

The trash pit is now open,
Hop in.

Johnson & Co.
Official Synergy Lubrication Manual
100% Productivity Increase Guaranteed


So you’ve finally climbed the ladder, welcome to the top floor! From up here everyone looks like ants, right? Past colleagues, old friends and family mom, dad, son, wife all just tiny ants now… Anyway, please take a moment to read this brief guide of the DOs and DON’Ts of corporate management, then complete the reading comprehension after.


– Communicate effectively
– Delegate tasks
– Learn employee names
– Engage in small-talk with employees
– Maintain eye-contact with employees.
– Avoid all physical contact with employees
– Use buzzwords

– Sit down first in a meeting
– Show any signs of weakness
– Become overly personal with employees
– Touch employees


Please read the following text and answer the questions below:

The corporate office looked like every other corporate office ever, except maybe more depressing. A sea of symmetrical cubicles stretching endlessly outwards, fluorescent lights casting sickly shades on white shirts and pale skin, a water cooler gurgling a last drowning gasp, and to top it off, a motivational graphic of a snow-capped mountain, reminding the employees of all the places they’d never go. It even sounded like every other office — papers riffling, phones ringing, copiers copying; the mundane orchestra droning a monotonous symphony, drowning out any internal dialogue the workers might entertain, allowing them to fully focus on the tasks at hand. Important tasks like mailing, filing, stapling, stamping, typing, shredding, staring idly into the abyss, printing…

The sedate ambience was interrupted when the boss’ door slammed behind her, “Office-wide announcement” she growled, clutching a fistful of documents, “I’m going to fire every last one of you if I don’t see these numbers improve. Drastically. You’ve got a week!” With that she recoiled back into the shadow of her managerial lair, leaving a sea of blank faces in her wake.

Fred glanced over to Greg who looked at Mary who offered a mystified shrug. Like clock-work, the boss had done this every Tuesday since they’d been at Johnson & Co, like an angry cuckoo bouncing dutifully out of its hutch. It wasn’t always about improving the numbers mind you. Sometimes it was about increasing productivity, or lubricating synergy, or some other indeterminable endeavour. So after a brief pause they got back into the rhythm of their work as if there was no interruption at all; mailing, filing, stapling, willing the day to end, faxing… It was business as usual.

*    *    *

The boss leaned back in her chair, that would keep them on their toes for a while. She balled up the “documents” and threw them into the waste basket — *swish*. Of course there wasn’t anything pertinent on them — she’d made up that stuff about the numbers needing improving. Not to say the numbers didn’t need improving — there were always numbers that needed improving, or productivity that needed increasing, or synergy that needed lubricating; it didn’t matter that she’d been a little vague — in fact, it was probably better that way; it would make them work that much harder. She leaned over her desk and took a took a deep gulp from her “#1 Boss” mug. She’d earned it.



1) Would you like to work in this office? Give reasons for your answer.

2) How would you describe the managerial style exhibited in the text in three words?

3) What was the geographical feature presented on the motivational graphic in the text?

4) Using the space provided create your own motivational graphic and write a brief sentence about why you chose it.

5) Circle the odd word out:
[Synergy]      [Strategy]      [Streamline]      [Cat]

6) Which of these assets is most important to you? Give reasons for your answer.
a) Improving the numbers
b) Increasing productivity
c) Lubricating synergy
d) All of the above

7) If an employee initiates a handshake do you:
a) Shake it firmly for a suitable length of time
b) Pretend you don’t see it
c) Make an excuse about your hands being dirty and avoid all physical contact
d) All of the above

8) Create a sentence using the provided buzzwords:
[Ballpark Figure]      [Mindshare]      [Generation Y]      [Hyperlocal]

9) Circle the topic which is not suitable for office small-talk:
[Weather]      [Traffic]      [Sport]      [Deep Inner Turmoil]

10) Fill in the blanks:
a) Cats are to dogs as innovation is to _________
b) Enterprise is important when synergy is _________
c) Handshakes are only necessary when an employee is _________


Buzzword Alphabet

Blue Sky Thinking
Cloud Sharing
Frenchify/Fax Machine
Generation X
I Need Those Numbers On My Desk By Yesterday
Knowledge = Power = Possibly More knowledge?
Profits/Prophets (Get It?)/Photocopier
Queue For The Watercooler 
Return on Investment
Titans Of Investment
Virtual Reality, Bro