While waiting tables yesterday—a job I’m quitting as soon as I get my first fellowship check on October 1st —I was struck by how many of my co-workers ordered me around, demanding that I immediately complete non-urgent tasks like sweeping under a table. At one point, in a five-minute stretch, the manager, a fellow waitress, and the dishwasher all insisted that I complete different tasks in different locations of the restaurant, and when I failed to finish their orders in a few minutes, each summarily chastised me, with the manager patronizingly explaining to me how to properly pre-bus my tables.
I could tell that they took pleasure in making these demands, as if there were finally an area of their life that they were able to fully control, a person for them to lord their power over. There was no other reason for their behavior. The restaurant wasn’t busy; I had been diligently cleaning my tables. I wondered if a solution existed to this problem. Was there a way to rid employees of this unnecessary aggression? Corporations already waste money on pointless retreats where employees scramble up and down ropes courses in dangerous trust games, in the hope that these exercises will create a sense of community that employees can then take back to the workplace. I worked for an organization in Colorado that orchestrated these team-building activities. Once during an orienteering session, where groups of co-workers navigate through the brush with a staff guide and a shoddy compass, they encountered a mountain lion, which was crouching 100 feet from them, and everybody began screaming and crying. What did coming face-to-face with a violent, man-eating beast teach them about thriving in a regimented office workplace? I have no idea, except that they clearly failed this leadership challenge.
Rather than throwing away money on ineffective team-building events, corporations should build fully staffed S & M dungeons, where co-workers can take out their aggression on each other in a controlled environment. If things get too out of hand, employees can simply shout out the safe word, and the role-play ends. When co-workers have an urge to gleefully berate their fellow office mates in front of the entire staff in order to obtain a thrilling sense of power, they can take out this impulse in the dungeon, where they can truly get off on this false sense of power by reprimanding them in a fully stocked BDSM environment, where he or she can retaliate in turn. This office power play which usually goes on for at least four to six hours a day, creating a loss in productivity, would now be reduced to a twenty to sixty minute role play in the corporate dungeon. Blindfolds, whips, riding crops, and dog collars would be provided, all branded with the company logo, so when you’re ordering your co-worker around like the submissive cur that you truly believe them to be, you can be thanking your employer for their generosity for building this beautiful dungeon.