The Damned Company

The Damned Companyby Elliott D. Rosewater and W.J. Galt

Turning the business fable on its head, the Damned Company is a farcical tour of Corporate Hell. Based loosely on Dante’s Inferno, the Damned Company is so wrong…but so right. Using sarcasm, humor and the ridiculous to highlight the most grievous of corporate sinners, this book is a refreshing view on business morality for anyone trying navigate the corporate world.

The Damned Company is organized in the following hierarchy:


The entrance to the Damned Company is where Colleague (our main charactor) meets Teamwork, who guides Colleague through the tour of Corporate Hell. Teamwork is only a ghost in Corporate Hell, but he is a knowledgeable guide.

First Floor: E-mail Hell

A variety of e-mail sins are punished on this floor, including failure to return e-mail as well as flooding others with unnecessary messages. We discover the fine fashion sense of the average demon here.

Second Floor: Meeting Hell

Colleague visits the Graveyard of buried ideas, witnesses long meetings, and sees liquid negativity. People who valued technology more than people are tortured by needy technological solutions who beg for more attention.

Third Floor: Sins of Organizational Structure and Silos

Teamwork guides Colleague through the labyrinth on the path of the Mission Statement. We also begin to discover horticulture in hell when we are introduced to the Production Plant.

Fourth Floor: Communication Hell

Corporate spin makes this floor very windy and Colleague must wear the Robe of Reality in order to prevent being blown away. We also experience the Ceremony of Acronyms and walk through the Web of Lies.

Fifth Floor: Sins of Policy

The Policy Police carefully patrol this floor. The floor also houses the Damned Company Corporate Handbook, which is a very legalistic document that consists of over 1,200 volumes written in an ancient language so that no one understands it.

Sixth Floor: Sins of Organizational Propaganda and pressure

The Damned Company’s annual corporate event happens daily on this floor and prisoners are forced to attend. Corporate Whores sell official Damned Company Kitsch while the motivational guest speaker enforces the corporate values of fear and conflict.

Seventh Floor: Sins of Self Promotion and Politics

Colleague sees the results of a hellish corporate merger as two individuals are campaigning to be elected the most incompetent. Corporate vampires assist the candidates by sucking the talent out of everyone they meet.

The Depth of Disconnect

An abyss that separates organizational leadership from everyone else. At the bottom of the abyss runs the River of Institutional Knowledge.

Eighth Floor: Human Resource Hell

Human Resource professionals are blinded by synergy and fail to see reality as they cheer and encourage even the most destructive of behaviors.

The Chasm of Development

The chasm that separates management from the rest of us is a board game.

Ninth Floor: Management Hell

Colleague tours the BORED room on this floor and is allowed into the greenhouse to see how mismanagement material is cultivated. New managers are sent to the spa for corporate slime treatments.

Tenth Floor: The Executive Suite

Teamwork is not allowed on the executive suite, so Colleague must travel there alone. While on this floor, Colleague sees what happens to bad executives in the afterlife and meets Teamwork’s evil twin, Groupthink. Groupthink introduces Colleague to Satan, and through conversation Colleague learns about Satan’s organizational theories.

Bonus material at the end of the book includes a test to discover if you’re really working in corporate hell. There are also job descriptions from the Damned Company and a larger version of the Chasm of Development.

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