Historically, the office toilets have been the most important tool for career progression. In our democratic world, these toilets are the often the only way for faceless juniors to access their unelected super-bosses whose decisions most affect their lives. It is quite a common practice for subordinates well down the corporate ladder to practice the elevator speeches that would enhance their chances of rapid-fire promotions. Such speeches don’t need to have material that would make a Peter Drucker think twice. A mere interest in the company’s recent performance, a few mundane suggestions about potential opportunities, followed by a griot-style glowing praise of the super-boss’s recent speech or initiative, can be enough. Of course all these have to be accomplished within the common time window when both the super-boss and the corporate minnow are urinating at the same time. And the corporate minnow has to consciously avoid the natural human tendency to look at the person he is addressing while talking to. After all, it’s safer not being perceived to be checking out the super-boss’s masculinity.And of course, the minnows would have to tune their circadian rhythm in line with that of their super-bosses.
However, the relevance of office toilets in our corporate culture results in a vicious circle for female corporate workers. After all since the super-bosses are usually males in most economies, the female minnows have no access to them through the toilet channel. Also even if there are sufficient females among the super-bosses, the cubicle structure of ladies’ urinals make them rather unsuitable for the minnow’s elegant impressionist speech. Is it the men who designed them?In any case, someone other than Gorbachev needs to bring down those walls.