Shuffling The Deck Chairs On The Titanic

For reference to the allegory below, please click on The Bulldog posts Stephanson Juggles The Org Chart and City Undertakes Massive Organization Refit.

“Captain, the ship has struck an iceberg.”

“Well then we must redo the org chart immediately.”

“But captain, there’s water pouring into the hold.”

“Obviously, we need a new pump manager. Put the coal stoker down there and tell him to become a quick learn. And the lookout … oh dear the lookout. Yes, he can replace the coal stoker.”

“Yes sir.”

“But the ship is sinking, sir.”

“Well not if we don’t say so. Tell the passengers the repairs are “on-time and on-budget.”

“But they’re not, sir.’

“Still we can string them along for awhile. Divert their attention. Start a pick-up shuffle-board game. Get the entertainment director immediately.”

“Sir, the ship is listing so badly we can’t play shuffleboard. The entertainment director now has nothing to do.”

“We’ll have to shuffle the org chart again.”

“Get the band on deck and play something perky … you know … ‘Put On a Happy Face.'”

“Sir, the conductor has jumped overboard.”

“Well, the entertainment director has nothing to do. She can conduct the band.”

“The entertainment director knows nothing about music.”

“Perfect, then she’ll be like so many on the org chart. It’s not a matter of doing something. That would be work. No, it is appearing to the passengers that we’re doing something. Image is everything. Reality? Well that’s something else.”

“And give something to distract them from the real problem at hand. Namely, sinking. Get them some ‘I went down with the Titanic’ tattoos. Have the kids give cute names to the lifeboats. Or serve food. Try that trendy treat shawarma. You know the shawarma is “The Official Food of the Titanic.” Circus and games. Nothing of substance. And for god’s sake, don’t tell the passengers we’re sinking.”

“Sir, the kitchen is flooded and the passengers are looking for you. They know the ship is sinking. The new org chart isn’t enough.”

“Well that is serious. Get a lifeboat ready. Put some food, water, my pension and severance in it.”

“We don’t have enough lifeboats, sir.”

“Well then, I guess I’m going down with the ship. We’ll never be able to hire new executives for the Titanic if this sinking thing happens. But that’s not my problem. All ships are having trouble hiring new executives. OK, we’re sinking. But it’s not our fault that no one wants to work here now.”

“Just remember. It’s never our fault. It’s something or someone else. Blame it on the owner or circumstances beyond our control. Blame it on the government. That’s aways a good one.”

“People will remember me as a great leader.”

“Sorry, I’d like to say more but I have to hold my breath now. Tell me, can you swim?”

Ken Gray


Titanic - Stern Sinking Scene (HD)

Does this look familiar?


Put On A Happy Face- Dick Van Dyke & Janet Leigh

The official song of the City of … sorry … The Titanic.


Stephanson Juggles The Org Chart

City Undertakes Massive Organization Refit

CITY HALL: Refined Indifference: MULVIHILL

Come To Ottawa, Ruin Your Career: BENN

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4 Responses

  1. Ron Benn says:

    The metaphor of re-arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic came to mind as I read Stephanson’s memo. Is this a case of great minds think alike, or fools seldom differ?

  2. Bruce says:

    Ken You should be a playwright, specializing in satire. This is the best to date description of City Hall and how it operates!

  3. Ken Gray says:

    Bruce … thank you.

    I’ll check to see if there is a “playwright specializing in satire” opening on the city org chart. I’m a natch for that but you know I could be at a disadvantage for that post because I kinda know what I’m doing.

    That said, some people say I write fiction every day. So I’ve had practice.

    But that might not be enough. I’m on the outside so that could disturb the cozy set-up at city hall. I could disrupt the culture. That wouldn’t be good.

    So I think I’ll stay here at Bulldog World Headquarters. It’s a cozy set-up and I know the culture.

    And the org chart doesn’t take long to make.



  4. Ken Gray says:

    Beats me, Ron.

    I can barely find my way home at night so big-question answers are out of the question.



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