Crowdsourcing The Devil’s Dictionary of Work Life

Images of three Devil's Dictionary books, and how to submit an entry for Dan Hill's crowdsourcing book

What an exposé is to journalism, satire is to literature: the use of humor to address and (possibly) right a wrong. One of my favorite examples is The Devil’s Dictionary by Ambrose Bierce, a contemporary of Mark Twain. For example, BORE, n. A person who talks when you wish him to listen. A few years back, Jason Zweig, a personal-investing columnist for the Wall Street Journal, tried his hand at this approach, too, with The Devil’s Financial Dictionary, including for example: IRRATIONAL, adj. A word used to describe any investor other than yourself.

Now here’s your opportunity to join the fun! I’m crowdsourcing The Devil’s Dictionary of Work Life. To submit entries for any of the terms listed on my web site – or terms you want to suggest – go to my web site and add your contribution. Illustrations are welcome, too! 

This is my first entry: DIVERSITY, n. In senior management, a short white guy. And the guest on this week’s episode of my podcast, Cary Cooper, wrote this entry: APOLOGY LAUNDERING, v. The laundering of bland corporate boilerplate faux apologies like “It’s never our intention to cause offence” so that it comes out smelling like ‘sorry’, thereby allowing the media to assume the role of judge as well as jury.

What Inspired Me to Create The Devil’s Dictionary of Work Life?

From discovering Bierce’s classic to my first forays into the business world, here’s my journey and the opportunity to reflect on your own. As to other instances of corporate b.s. and the very real and often highly emotional stakes of work life, Cary Cooper offer plenty of insights.

Why Managers Should Say: “Sorry, I Wasn’t Feeling”

Released today: episode 13 of “Dan Hill’s EQ Spotlight,” featuring Cary Cooper, the author of most recently The Apology Impulse and Wellbeing at Work. Listen to the clip below and click on the image to get to the new episode.

Image of the book "The Apology Impulse" by knighted author, Cary Cooper, This book explains why companies are apologizing like crazy

What are best-practices for alleviating stress in the workplace?

Cooper is the author/editor of over 250 books, and the president of the British Academy of Management. An advisor to the World Health Organization and the EU, he’s received both a knighthood and the CBE award from the Queen of England for “extraordinary contributions” to society.

Topics covered in this episode include:

  • The difference between operational and cultural failures, and why CEOs find it easier to apologize for the latter by pretending the problem has to do with the former.
  • The percentage of workers who feel bullied by a boss at work on a constant basis, and Cooper’s estimation of the percentage of bosses who won’t be able to benefit from EQ-training and, therefore, should be given roles that don’t involve managing people.
  • What the implications and solutions for huge CEO pay amid what could now prove to be the single most significant economic downturn in our lives (due to Covid-19).

Dan Hill, PhD, is the President of Sensory Logic, Inc.