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The writing’s on the wall.  It’s plain to see. The company you work for, the project you’re on- it’s doomed to fail.  No matter how hard you try, how many hours you put in, it’s just not gonna happen.  What to do?  Scapegoat dot com to the rescue!

Scapegoat, Inc. will send in their finest team member with the perfect resume to join your group, make a valiant effort, but be just incompetent enough to take the fall.  Every failure needs a fall guy, and it shouldn’t be you.

Okay, it doesn’t really exist (as far as we know), but perhaps it should.  WORK’s unofficial mayor, Barry Stump, pitched us the idea and the crowd went wild for it.  coWORKer Vanessa even thought perhaps she had unwittingly been hired for just such a position in the past.  And when assessing the fee for a particular job, she’ll charge more if she thinks the project is unlikely to succeed.

So what to do, in the real world, when failure is imminent? At one company I worked for we had a running joke- the last one to leave (for whatever reason) got the blame.  Say Mark quit last month to take a new job.  Great!  Now we know why that important file can’t be found or that critical detail was missed.  It’s all Mark’s fault!

A few months back we had a related discussion about navigating that difficult territory between speaking up and keeping your mouth shut. Being the bearer of bad news can be dangerous in the business world- saying the truth can be difficult, unpopular, and even threaten your job.  But there are times when our moral compass, ethical radar, and professional intuition are screaming at us to take a stand.  This timeline is truly impossible, that policy is outrageous, this product just plain sucks!

Perhaps Scapegoat dot com should provide both services- fall guy and/or bearer of bad news. Look for it soon… and be prepared to fork over the cash!

Written and photographed by Natasha Juliana. Edited by Linda Jay.
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