I’ve managed teams of people most of my working life. It’s mostly been a glorious thing to do. I love working with others to pursue goals, to try to achieve great things. I think I’m pretty good at cajoling and encouraging to foster collective spirit. I like to coach, to support others to reach targets. It wasn’t always thus.
I think back to one of my early jobs in line management. I was young and naive and others would take advantage of my inexperience. I’d make ill-informed decisions and depend upon the wrong people to get answers to questions that didn’t need asking. It wasn’t through lack of effort but I wasn’t very good at my job.
And one person loved to expose these inadequacies. Let’s call her Mary for ease though that’s not her name. Mary wasn’t much cop at her own job but had built up her profile with the senior managers who thought she could do no wrong. We’d go into meetings and I’d lose count of the times that Mary would tell all about the great things she had done. Sometimes I’d know that Mary hadn’t done those things because I had. But I was too meek to speak up and my stock wasn’t at the height where I could knock Mary from her pedestal. She’d seem to take joy out of my mistakes telling all and sundry how she would have done it differently. I never openly challenged Mary and we never argued. I let her get away with being the chosen one in the office. I think Mary knew that her status was secure. My life was pretty miserable in truth.
If Katie Frank’s ‘Politician’ had been available back then, I would have probably played it on repeat on my Sony Walkman cassette player. It’s a song written about Mary and all of her ilk. Katie explains more. “I actually wrote it about one of my least favorite coworkers while working in memory care in a nursing home.“, she says. “This coworker was not a team player. Much like a politician, she only cared about promoting herself and making herself look like the hero while we did all the dirty work.”
Katie, originally from Philadelphia but living in Nashville since 2019, peddles an upbeat, country-rock sound that’ll clearly sound grand on the radio in those parts. On the evidence of the video to ‘Politician’ she also wears nightshirts with cool logos and has a backing band that sport fine facial hair. It’s music that’ll never win awards for originality but sometimes we just want a solid stomp and ‘Politician’ has that by the bucketload. Think Shania Twain and you’ll be on track to not be disappointed.
Katie’s colleague gets her comeuppance in this fun video. I like to think that one day Mary was also found out. Unsurprisingly, I’m no longer in touch.