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How (not) to Be a Boss

Harvard Business School has nothing on Timmy Mowafi's style of management.

I find myself in the precarious position of being a 23 year old boss at MO4 to a staff of 30 or so highly intelligible humans, all of which are older than me, probably have a higher education level than me, none of which know that I know almost nothing of management and work ethics. Or actually, they probably know very well but no one says shit because I make their life easier. My excuse has always involved many buzz words like ‘Web 2.0’, ‘New Age’, ‘Hip’ ‘Youth Knowledge’ ‘Creative Environment’ and ‘Zuckerburg wears a hoodie!’ but in actuality I can’t even manage my own life and vices let alone those of eager-to-impress employees of a fast growing business. I don’t even know what to think when a new employee introduces her boyfriend to a kid doing interpretive dance on the dance floor of Tamarai, wearing an animal costume followed by the statement “Meet my boss…”

I sometimes think I’m going to wake up one morning, shower, gel my hair back, put on a suit and tie, march into the office and bellow out orders with charisma and purpose until I realise it’s going to be more Ricky Gervais than Ari Gold. So I just whip on a T-shirt scattered with cigarette holes, a hoodie stinking of last night’s booze and trudge into the office, sullen and unshaven, hide in a corner pretending to do busy ‘manager’ work whilst I’m actually watching football highlights or producing tunes, hoping no one will ask me for anything. I mean, I pay them to do stuff. I’m not exactly sure what, but I’m pretty sure they should be doing it without my help.

Illustrations by Bouklao Illustrations.

As well as my youngest child complexes that don’t particularly help with being in a position of authority, by nature I’ve always had an anti-establishment mind-set, and gag at anything to do with corporate gain. To find myself at the head of a money hungry establishment where we have to use words like ‘client’ and ‘analytics’ leaves me feeling somewhat bi-polar on a day-to-day basis. I do my best to keep to the creative work, interviews and idea development, but when short-staffed and asked to handle issues with corporate accounts, it usually ends up in an argument with my sister firing me in front of the whole staff of a company I own. I’ve been fired 46 times and counting. I’m not sure what dents my image as an authority figure more in this office: being fired by my sister or having full-blown screaming sessions across the room with my brother because he’s wearing my underwear.

Our staff has frankly seen things from me that no one should ever see from any boss, or human, for that matter. Our office boy walked in at 8am the other day to find me passed out half naked on the MO4 beanbag with a bottle of Belvedere in my hand. Our senior programmer, staying late one night, caught me indulging in a bit of nonsense with a girl on the same MO4 beanbag. A member of the call centre was perplexed one night to find me setting up an office obstacle course which ended up in me doing forward flips onto the infamous MO4 beanbag. The misuse of this office at times is almost unnerving if you knew what really went down. That beanbag holds a lot of secrets and I have threatened it on more than one occasion with disembowelment if any are revealed.

I have thus developed my own form of management: spinning work-related excuses so I can indulge in my usual debauchery whilst keeping a sense of authority…

As I write this now, I am currently smoking a cigarette at my desk after two days earlier implementing a rule that no one, including me, is allowed to smoke inside the office. I call this Opposite Affirmation Motivation (OAM). People say you are supposed to lead by example, well no; you are supposed to show exactly how (not) to act in any given situation so they know what to avoid. It is also the umpteenth cigarette taken from one of the staff after implementing the MCT (Managerial Cigarette Tax) last week.

If this wasn’t Egypt, I’m pretty sure there would be multiple sexual harassment suits against my brother and I, but I like to call it Emotional Confidence Management (ECM), and I make sure to not single any one female employee out as to not cause jealousy or tension in the office. I make sure to flirt with them all equally. I don’t remember the last CV I read without checking them out on Facebook first to see if they’re hot.

One of my admin staff happens to be a former Rastafarian, and thus almost always has great shit on him. Every Friday morning we sit down and discuss creative ways in which we can excel in the world of admin over a fat joint. This is called Creative Operations Reviewing (COR).

I don’t know whether my staff really respect me or not by this point, I don’t think I really care, but I had some research done anyways…