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Sunday, April 13, 2008

RIP Teamakers

Ouimet, anonymous CBC blogger, is quitting Teamakers. Really.

Teamakers was one of the best Canadian blogs written under a pseudonym, but it's had trouble establishing its identity over the past few years. It started as one of many "lockout blogs" during the CBC's labour dispute in 2005 -- with one important distinction. Instead of blogging about what it was like to be an employee who was locked out, Ouimet wrote about what it was like to be a member of the management team that was responsible for locking people out. One of the most memorable lines from those early weeks was "You guys may be locked out, but I'm locked in."

There were a lot of critics at first, including people who suspected that Ouimet was a management plant who was just trying to draw people out so they could be fired. I still believe that he was just lonely and frustrated and wanted to write about the way he was feeling. It created an online community of people who hated Big Management but felt great solidarity with this one anonymous person.

Many of the lockout blogs were shut down after the lockout ended: they were created for a certain time and place and didn't have staying power. But Teamakers kept going. I get the feeling that it was more and more stressful for him to stay anonymous. Every once in a while he would talk about the lockout, as if to try to take back that feeling of connectedness with his readers. It never really came. Teamakers became a place to complain about the CBC and make rude anonymous comments about management.

I'm not against complaints, but I don't like rude anonymous comments. The readers who stayed with Ouimet tended to be on the far side of weird. He linked to me once, and I got a crush of visitors from the Toronto Broadcasting Centre, including one who let loose on me with a stream of disjointed accusations against CBC management and finished with "People like you just don't like dissenting opinions, and that's too f@#%in' bad." (I still don't understand why people stay in jobs they hate, working for bosses they hate and dripping bile all over everyone who suggests they do something to make their situations more tolerable.)

I kept reading, though. Teamakers offered a perspective I couldn't get anywhere else: a manager who oozed with disdain for management, or at least worked pretty hard to seem that way. I think he was trapped in a no-win situation. He couldn't write about the things the CBC was doing well without seeming like a management shill to the few hard-core readers he had left. He can't really hate CBC management as much as he pretends to. He couldn't become just another CBC blogger like John Gushue or Paul Gorbould, because that would mean outing himself as Ouimet. Every blog eventually ends, and I think Teamakers has more than run its course.

Ouimet was a great writer, though, so I hope he starts a new blog. I really enjoy reading CBC blogs, and I think that, freed of the baggage that was "Ouimet", he'd be great.

RIP Teamakers. But here's to your continued presence in the blogosphere, anonymous management blogger.


Gifted Typist said...

CBC suffers from bureaucrat syndrome. To many managers with procedural manuals, mandate requirements and demographic segements to satisfy and too few leaders with vision and ideas.

Saskboy said...

Awe shoot.