Remember them? From Highlights Magazine at the pediatrician's office? For the uninitiated, they were a pair of cartoon boys who would teach morality. Goofus would forever be doing something wrong, and Gallant would continually be a paragon of model behavior. Of course, being a morality play aimed at kids, it tended to leave the subtlety at the office door:
"Goofus drinks the blood of babies.
"Gallant donates half of all his internal organs to needy children."
I had one particular boss who was so unashamedly corrupt that a co-worker and I used to make up Goofus and Gallant-style morality lessons about him:
"Goofus sneaks inside information out to major shareholders in exchange for lucrative kickbacks.
"Gallant always shreds confidential information to prevent insider trading."
I thought that, when I left behind that executive, and that co-worker, I'd have to leave behind that particular joke, too. But then I found a new manager who seemed to have a knack for choosing the "Goofus" route when it came to motivational techniques. So, I'm pleased to present a few examples that I've observed in my time with said managers:
On the manager's first arriving at the office in the morning
Goofus answers the employee's "Good morning" with "Yeah, yeah. I'm parked down on P2. Can you go move your car next to mine so nobody scratches it?"
Gallant brings Dunkin Donuts for the employees without even worrying about spilling coffee on the vinyl seats of his '87 Taurus.
On creating an annual budget for the first time in both the company's and the employee's history
Goofus says, "I can easily divide our income and expenses by twelve in my head to come up with the information these spreadsheets show. You haven't done anything here."
Gallant says, "This is a good start, but we should redistribute income and expenses to more closely reflect when we think they'll occur. Also, we should include more gifts for the downtrodden under 'expenses'."
On meeting with an employee to ask him to take a temporary pay cut in order to help offset the company's lack of fiscal responsibility
Goofus says, "Normally, we'd just fire you and figure out how to do your job ourselves, but we don't think we need to do that yet."
Gallant says, "You are a valuable employee, and not only will all the executives reduce their own salaries by an amount proportionally greater than yours, but we will give you a promissory note for the salary you are deferring. The executives will also begin selling blood as often as the Red Cross will take us, even forging fake IDs if necessary to donate more often."
Isn't it fun, kids? Try a few of your own!