Corporate Cinderella

“There are two kinds of people, those who do the work and those who take the credit. Try to be in the first group; there is less competition there.”

Indira Gandhi

Once upon a time in a nearby realm there was an employee (let’s call her Cinderella) whose job description (let’s assume) included a marketing campaign.

Well … in that realm there were many, many – too many kings and queens (a.k.a. board managers), princes and princesses (let’s call them managers) – all striving all day long to look smart in front of their peers and superiors.  Splendid banquets and dancing balls were frequently organized at the castle and every single time this numerous aristocracy struggled to get a better and better place at the table.  Every hour of their pompous life at the castle was filled with merciless boxing matches for power – all carried out with immaculate gloves of silk under the lenient eyes of the kings and queens.

Meanwhile down in the kitchen, way below the executive floor, Cinderella was buried underneath a merciless workload of astronomic proportions – way beyond the pay rate or the legal number of working hours.  And so Cinderella was in fact treated as a servant – even if thick employee books and glossy mission statements claimed her to be the most valuable asset of the kingdom, which obviously promised the strictest fairness to its inhabitants.  Obviously she was not alone – many, many other servants were stuck in the open working space too busy to fill in reports, memos, and spreadsheets to spare the time to look at the decorated framed corporate values hanging on the walls or to enjoy whatever private life they could still afford.

Quietly and diligently Cinderella scrubbed the floors which were messed up by her predecessors and left in disarray by managers too wound up in looking good to be interested in making good.  She swept spider webs, she opened the windows to let fresh air in, and she was finally ready to do the actual job she was recruited for.

Her many managers looked the other way when she asked for the decisions, guidance, and support she needed to navigate in the devious corridors of the castle.  They were always busy preparing for a party, attending a party, or debriefing about a party.  Briefly and not often enough they can still remember the times when they were young and had to actually work.  Not anymore!

Finally Cinderella, against all odds and all managers, struck gold!  Her marketing campaign was so new, and fresh, and effective that the entire kingdom could not believe their success.  Indeed NOW it was THEIR success, not Cinderella’s.  She was after all just an employee …

It so happens that presently there is a competition between kingdoms to see whose marketing campaign was the best.  You guessed it: Cinderella was not invited to the awarding ceremony.  Her clothes may not comply with the standards, and her message may (God forbid!) ruffle some egos.  Now it’s a glorious time for her properly groomed managers to gloat about their remarkable effort and proudly take all credit for the accomplishment.


In the meantime, out of disgust for this ungrateful kingdom, Cinderella used her resignation passport to travel to a new kingdom searching for a better kitchen, better managers, and more recognition of her individual merits.

I am positive you all know the story – it happens everywhere and it is always demotivating.  The only difference resides in the heraldic logo.