A New Job Opportunity
HR Lady stared at me across the desk. She was trying to size me up, to understand what makes me tick. I had explained that I wanted to work for MegaCorp, and that I was the perfect person to fill a position that had not even been advertised.
"Tell me again why you want to be the official MegaCorp scapegoat," she demanded.
I thought I had explained it well enough. Every company needs a scapegoat, someone that others can bring forward when the heat gets hot.
When the Board of Directors grumbles because all the graphs look upside down, the President can call ScapeGoat into the room. Gentlemen, I have identified our problem. It is all ScapeGoat's fault. He reversed the gravitational equilibrium, and the graphs are no longer able to forge their customary ant-gravitational upward paths.
The Board of Directors gets a lot less grouchy and they are able to enjoy their six course luncheon. That solves the problem of the upside down graphs. At least for another month.
When angry shareholders notice that their graphs are also upside down, the President can call ScapeGoat into the room once more. It is all ScapeGoat's fault. It is all ScapeGoat's fault. He reversed the gravitational equilibrium again, and nobody's graph can forge its customary ant-gravitational upward path.
That solves the problem of the upside down graphs for everyone except ScapeGoat's disability insurance provider.
When employees want to know why there is no bonus in their envelopes, the President can launch a full investigation. "We will find where ScapeGoat hid your bonus checks, if it's the last thing we ever do!" And the investigation will last long enough that it WILL be the last thing he ever does.
When creditors come calling... It's ScapeGoat's fault.
When the media wants to know why there are no women on the Board ... It's ScapeGoat's fault.
When the fish in the creek all float like the graphs (upside down)... It's ScapeGoat's fault.
When the wind blows too strong on company property and knocks over a soda can, spilling an employee's drink and making him very thirsty... It's ScapeGoat's fault.
MegaCorp needs a scapegoat.
HR Lady asked another question. "What have you been doing these past thirty years."
The fact is that I had been freelancing. There are lots of people who need scapegoats. Drivers, for instance:
"What?!? My brand new car!"
"ScapeGoat crashed it."
"But...but, there's hardly anything left of it!"
"ScapeGoat is very thorough."
Parents need scapegoats, too.
"Where's little Cindy? Didn't you pick her up from the babysitter again?"
"Oops. Uh, I forgot. ScapeGoat distracted me."
"I hope you don't plan to get distracted tomorrow. If this keeps up, I'll forget what she looks like."
HR Lady seemed amused. "If you were doing so well as a freelancer, why are you applying for a job here?"
I had to admit that freelancing was getting tough. Too many people were losing faith.
"ScapeGoat distracted you again?!? That makes, uh...let me see, 6,342 days in a row. Little Cindy isn't that little anymore. Just who is this ScapeGoat person anyway, the Tooth Fairy?"
HR Lady laid her hands on her desk. "MegaCorp has always done quite well without a professional scapegoat. When we need somebody to blame, we can always find someone to play the role."
She was not cluing in. I was offering MegaCorp the chance to use a professional scapegoat, instead of constantly relying on amateurs, some of whom were not even willing players.
I looked HR Lady straight in the eye. "What will you tell your boss when he finds out that HumongaCorp has a professional scapegoat, and you passed up the chance to hire one, too? Who will you point the finger at then, an amateur?"
David Leonhardt writes the Happy Guy humor column:
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He also wrote Inspiration & Motivation To Go
and Climb Your Stairway to Heaven: the 9 habits of maximum happiness: