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Hey all. Welcome to another edition of ...AndMarkingOut. Thanks to all who gave feedback on my last column. Claremont's new X-Men book, Xtreme X-Men, rocks, by the way. This week's-scratch that-this month's column (since I haven't been able to keep it weekly for some time now) comes a day late a couple dollars short of what I have been calling THE GREAT TRIPLE H DEBATE. I had been wrestling with whether or not weeks now, and I've finally given in a put it in print. Here goes nothing:

Business is Business: If Triple H has Tremendous Backstage Pull, Good For Him!

Let's pretend for a moment (or a column, if you will) that all the Internet rumblings are true and that Triple H does in fact have tremendous backstage pull and authority. Let's pretend that he has the power to not only determine his feuds, but to also determine the feuds and storylines of 60% of the other superstars in the WWF, including StoneCold and the Rock. Let's imagine that he is so powerful, that even when he does not have the WWF Championship, the entire show still revolves around him and his character, no matter what.

So, where's the problem? Isn't a man supposed to claw his way to the top of his profession and attempt to stay there? Bear with me for a minute, but isn't Professional Wrestling a business? Let's try to look at this strictly from a business standpoint.

An employee enters a company after a lengthy interview process. Let's call him, Matt. Now Matt is gifted and has lots of potential. He has drive and determination. He dreams of one day running this or some other company. But for the time being, Matt is just another clerk in the mailroom. Everyone agrees that he is currently raw material, but can potentially be molded into a future top-level executive. Over the course of the next year, Matt impresses a few key people throughout the company (starting with the guy who runs the mailroom) with the speed at which he takes on new, more challenging job responsibilities and the precision with which he completes tasks and assignments given. His manager takes notice and begins grooming Matt for success. He traines Matt in the mailroom operations and management.

When Matt's boss is promoted (or fired) Matt becomes the mailroom manager. From there, through tons of hard work and continual grooming, he is promoted over the course of the next ten years until he finally makes it to upper management. He is now a junior executive within a company where, just ten years earlier, he started as a clerk in the mailroom. This man who at first presented as just another clerk with unmet potential, now appears destined for great things.

Some employees at Matt's company are disturbed and angered by his rise to greatness. After all, it's hard seeing someone equal or mimic your success. They feel that he has been chosen while they-possessing equal skills and talent-have been overlooked. No one, however, can deny Matt's abilities. He is seen as a rising star and a benefit to the company.

In his new role, Matt does not have total authority by any means, but his position as Junior Executive does allow him to have a significant degree of influence over policy decisions. Overall, his decisions seem to benefit the company. Occasionally, it appears that bias can be seen as other employees who are seen are close to Matt are occasionally rewarded when some other, equally hard-working employees go either unnoticed or inequitably rewarded. Rumors and gossip abound. Matt simply works harder and harder to prove that he is indeed deserving of his position. And he rarely fails. The company's growth and numbers tell the story. Matt is a successful employee and very valuable to the company.

Is there a problem with this anecdote? I think not. This is how the business world works. No one out there working for some corporate machine, trying to get ahead gives a rat's ass about the guy or girl in the next cubicle. Why? You can't afford to. You simply ca not sit at your cubicle and wonder how both you and Stan are going to one day run the company. If you are thinking that way, I can almost 100% guarantee that Stan isn't, no matter how close you are at work.

The business world is all dog-eat-dog. Your success means someone else's failure. What was that old No Fear T-shirt? "Second Place is the First Loser." In a competitive business market, your winning and getting ahead means someone else has to lose. The nature of competition in the workplace demands it. There is no way around it. Successfully getting ahead in a company usually means doing a few things well:

1. Getting people above you with influence to notice and value you through hard work and dedication.

2. Proving both your value to the company and your employer's faith in you by producing when asked.

3. Working hard to either maintain your desired position or achieve a higher one.

If this is the perspective Triple H has used over the past few years to achieve and maintain his top spot, then kudos to him for playing the game better than everyone else including Rocky and Austin. I'll ask again: Professional Wrestling is a business isn't it? Now, I'm not saying that Triple H staying on top makes for constant quality programming, high ratings, consistently intriguing storylines, or that its good for the company in the long run, because it isn't.

It's only good for Triple H.

But, isn't that the point? If Matt's fellow employees are mad because he has been promoted over the past ten years and now he uses his influence to--either in their minds or in reality--unjustly influence the direction of the company and protect his friends, then their anger is directed at the wrong individual. Matt's just another rat trying to win the rat race. He can't afford to step down and let some else do his job and take his spot for four or six months, because he's worked too hard for it and the risk would be too great. No, the guys shouldn't be angry with Matt at all. They should direct their anger at Matt's boss. You know, the person who promoted Matt to a position of relative power, which in turn caused all of the "problems," both real and perceived. The person who, if he wanted, could rearrange the management structure and create more room at the top so as to include other, equally talented employees who are in no way connected to Matt. That's who's really to blame. The Boss.

Vince, that means you.

I'm out.


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