Wednesday, May 09, 2007


Scott Adams, Creator of Dilbert

Scott Adams has been bringing us Dilbert since 1989 and is a major luminary of the cubicle world. The article at the link below caught up with Mr. Adams a month before turning the preeminently downsizable age of 50. At the time, he was in Orlando to address a human resources convention. When asked how he thought cubicle dwellers were feeling 15 years after the first corporate decimations of the early nineties, he said he thought "workers are happier than they were in the early '90s, but less happy than they were in their cubicles during the dot-com heyday." Then he added, "There's a limit to how happy you can be when you're working in a fabric-covered box."

Adams has suffered lately from an obscure condition called spasmodic dysphonia, which made him literally mute during much of 2005 and 2006. The condition has not prevented him from listening to others, and especially to the inanities of business people. He remarked on "the conversations he overhears between strangers trying to impress each other at business conventions and the like." "'Everywhere you go," he said, "somebody's trying to be official." Although Dilbert has freed him from office toil, Adams - who holds an M.B.A. from Berkeley - still endeavors to enlighten managers on the ways of cubicle dwellers, maintaining a busy schedule on the lecture circuit.

Adams revealed that Dilbert has a real life model who, he believes, remains unaware of his role as a source of inspiration. He also cited the worst management idea he ever encountered - a proposal to offer hefty severance pay, "a pile of cash" as it were, to the worst 10 percent in the company's workforce, thus giving everyone the incentive to underperform enough to make, ahem, the "cut"...

"The Force of Dilbert" from St. Petersburg Times

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