An Alternative Career (5)
Updated: Feb 2
(dificuldade 5 – pode encontrar uma lista de vocabulário no final)
Let’s face it – you know your current job backwards. It’s time for change. If you don’t move soon, when will you? So, you have re-thought the possibilities and had another career counselling session and mapped your strengths, weaknesses and aspirations using the latest industry profiling tools, and your most obvious career choice now sits plainly before you – ‘dictator of a small to medium-sized country with potential to expand’.
Sounds daunting, doesn’t it? But fear not. With a little spirit, some staying power and a few simple tips, you’ll be amazed at what you can achieve…
Phase I – Making A Play
The first and most important step is clearly to grab power. If you are fortunate enough to be born into power you can skip some of the steps below but if, like most of us, you still need to seize power by some other means, the following tips are for you.
i) Welcome the Good Guys
Clearly establish who you represent and will receive your favor, and who will be considered enemies of the state or, better still, enemies of the people. To do this, it is necessary to be able to easily distinguish between ‘the good guys’ (i.e. you and your cronies), and ‘the bad guys’ (everybody else). Obviously if everyone were to wear uniforms this would make life easier, but in the absence of this solution, it is often easiest to split the groups on a color or, perhaps, religious basis. A wealth-based split can also be successful, but if you go down this route, you will need to be careful to ensure that you don’t find yourself on the wrong side of the great ideological divide once wealth is gradually transferred in your direction (see ‘desired outcome 1’ below).
ii) Lock in the Military
This is a key early step, the failure of which can have disastrous consequences. A military background as a precursor to a dictatorial career is highly desirable, as it brings connections and influence in the right places. For full power and control, all elements of the armed forces need to be fully aligned to ‘the good guys’. This can be achieved either through a successful election to become country leader (see ‘election strategies’ below), or through a military intervention, sometimes known by the tasteless and unacceptable term of ‘coup’. If the interventionist strategy is to be followed, then it is essential to ensure that any references to ‘coup’ are rebutted and thoroughly quashed in the Media (see ‘language and communication’ section below).
Note: before engaging in military intervention, check the international political climate for factions and parties with interests in your country who may try to undermine the success of your intervention through political, economic or even military means. Make sure you – the good guys - have got the numbers. Ideally your intervention should come at a time of significant political unrest and turmoil in other parts of the world, so as to attract less attention.
iii) Win that Election
The key strategy here is to identify your base. So let’s do that now: it is the poor majority of your population. Forget trying to appeal to a ‘broad church’, as some pseudo-intellectuals ridiculously like to call it. You need a majority. 50.0000001%. Or if you are really lucky, you might need less than a majority. And the good news is, because your base is the poor majority, you don’t need to waste hours creating convoluted intellectual arguments about how you are going to solve the world’s problems, stimulate the economy, and inspire a new generation. Your base likes simple messages, phrased in simple terms. Catch-phrases like: ‘send the bad guys home’ or ‘let’s look after number 1 – the good guys!’ are easy to understand, and make your base feel good. It’s good to be one of the good guys.
iv) Phone A Friend
Identify who your key allies are going to be on the international stage and immediately establish warm and friendly relations with them. Try to identify areas of common interest, or areas where you can be of help to them with their own political and economic goals. Perhaps they can help you win your election? Often, it is enough simply to identify who they consider to be the bad guys, and publicly declare them to be bad guys too. This strategy is also key to identifying possible havens, should events not turn out as planned.
So, by this point, you should have successfully gained power and control of your small-medium sized country, clearly identified and labeled both the good guys and bad guys, and established warm relations with your external allies for the significant challenges ahead. If you are having difficulty with any of these steps, go back and review which elements of your strategy are under-performing, and which resources you need to overcome the obstacles you are facing.
Phase II – In It For The Long Term
Having established yourself and the good guys in power, we now need to look at the strategies and mechanisms necessary for keeping you in power. After all, you didn’t go to all this effort just to let someone else reap the rewards!
v) Shore up your Immediate Support
Your first goal, Monday Morning, is to flush out the vestiges of the previous regime and ensure that all key posts are filled with ‘good guys’. Make it clear that personal loyalty to the commander in chief (i.e. you) is the over-riding requirement of these positions and that any failure in this regard will be met with swift and decisive consequences. The extent of these consequences will be explored in greater detail under the ‘brand management’ section below – as will the extent to which this loyalty needs to be two-way – but rest assured there are a number of options available to you, depending on what level of autocracy you have managed to achieve.
vi) Manage the Media
Don’t make the mistake of your predecessors who were always seeking to be ‘on the side of right’. You are one of the good guys, remember? You are always on the side of right! Your opponents will come at you with ‘the truth’? Let me let you into a secret here – we live in a virtual world these days...where the truth is not worth half a coin of even the newest virtual currency. It doesn’t matter, especially to your base. Repeat this phrase until you truly understand its implications and the world of possibilities this opens up. ‘Truth’ is a flawed, 20th century, conceit designed to placate those who wouldn’t understand how the system works even if a handbook like this one fell into their laps! Who knows what’s true and what isn’t? How do you even define the word?
So, if some young media gun starts hitting you with words like ‘the fact of the matter is...’ you should question why he is even asking the question! Because the answer is obvious – it’s because he’s one of the bad guys! So, if he’s one of the bad guys, his question is ‘politically motivated’ (keep that phrase to hand, as you never know when you’ll need to pull it out). He has an agenda. And as one of the bad guys, he has no right to question you about what you’ve been doing, or what is fact and what is fiction. He represents the ‘Fake News Media’ (keep that phrase handy too) – who just peddle lies about you because they are part of the conspiracy of bad guys trying to stop a good guy like you from getting on and fulfilling his natural, honest-to-goodness destiny.
And never apologize! Be true to your class and double down, as they like to say these days. You lose infallibility, you fall. Can’t say it simpler than that.
vii) Set the Bar a little Higher
While the system that saw you elected clearly has its merits, there is always room for improvement. I mean, why push your luck, right? What you now need is a way to reward the system for sensibly choosing the good guys by recalibrating the odds in the machine to avoid any risk of it electing alternatives, who would clearly only be a backward step and undo all the good that you have managed to achieve.
The easiest way to achieve this is clearly to remove those absurdly illogical term limits. Once these are consigned to history you will be able to breathe more easily, so it is worth the considerable effort needed to have them exorcised. But this measure alone is insufficient, alas. An effective election machine is also needed to fairly verify that your vote is accurately counted as the greatest. This is where investment in technology will reap dividends (more on this below). During this process, a good communication department is also invaluable in suppressing the D-word, another tired relic of the 20th century bourgeoisie, who need to be ridiculed for being the enemy of the people that they are.
Phase III – Taking It To The Next Level
So, you’ve shored up your base, reinforced the loyalty of those under your immediate command and started to sow the seeds for your comfortable working retirement where you can fully reap the hard-earned rewards of your position.
viii) Build that Monument You’ve Always Wanted
By now, you should have been taken care of, financially speaking, but there are still ways of taking your personal wealth to elite level. And here a good adviser can help you bury your tax returns and build multiple nest-eggs in a truly diversified portfolio that the bad guys won’t be able to trace in three lifetimes. This frees you up to work on fulfilling your political fantasies and settling a few, long overdue, old scores.
ix) Invest and Educate
Some find the use of ‘educational camps’ helpful in this regard. They can be used for repurposing bad guy citizens as good guys, or simply to make your obstacles disappear. Camps and walls are always a solid investment, as are good intelligence services. 21st century technology has opened the door to all manner of useful tools for not only monitoring but controlling your devoted citizens, who may otherwise fall victim to the bad guys’ propaganda at a moment’s notice. Technology can also prove useful in disseminating destabilizing information about the bad guys and their leaders, so invest wisely – you won’t regret it. There is also the question of protection, and again technology can play a prominent role in letting the bad guys know you are not someone to be trifled with – or blancmanged for that matter.
So, having tooled up with the latest guns and gizmos and secured your long-term tenure, you are now free to consort with your fellow goodfellas and decide exactly which direction you wish to take the fight to those who would oppose you. This is the fun part. The options are pretty endless, but with a little experimentation and the right connections, you can establish a lasting legacy that your grandkids will re-write in your honor.
Congratulations! It’s time to take a good look around at all you have achieved and give yourself a well-earned pat on the back. Those bad guys will know better than to mess with you next lifetime!
to know something backwards – ficar uma moleza
daunting – assustador
to be amazed – estar maravilhado
to grab – pegar com força
to skip – pular
to seize – pegar com força (igual ‘to grab’)
cronies – comparsas
to split – dividir
to lock in - segurar
tasteless – de mau gosto
coup – golpe militar
to rebut – refutar
to quash – extinguir
to undermine – enfraquecer
turmoil – caos
broad – largo (igual ‘wide’)
convoluted – complicado
catch-phrase – frase de efeito
haven – refúgio
to turn out – a revelar-se
to overcome – supercar
to reap the rewards – colher as recompensas
to shore up – reforçar
to flush out – revelar / expor
to ensure – assegurar
over-riding – predominante
swift – rápido
flawed – com defeito
handbook – guia (livro)
lap – colo
young gun – jovem ambicioso
handy – conveniente (a mão)
to peddle – vender
to set the bar – estabelecer a meta
to push your luck – correr mais risco do que aconselhável
alas – infelizmente
relic – relíquia
to sow – plantar
portfolio – carteira (de ações tipicamente)
to fulfil – cumprir
to settle – pagar dívida
overdue – vencido
old scores – disputas antigas
to repurpose – redirecionar
wisely – sabiamente
someone to be trifled with – alguem para brincar
to tool up – to ficar bem armado
gizmos – aparelho
to consort with – se associar com
goodfellas – os bons companheiros (o filme – tipo gangster)
to give a pat on the back – parabenizar