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Monday, September 7, 2015

Corporate America: A Minion's Training Ground

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - Corporate America is any minion-to-be's best place to learn the ropes.

Ever wanted to be a minion in an less-than-moral organisation? Last week we looked at the issue of how Big Bads (and good guys, too) should compose their minion forces. However, that discussion may have gone over your head if you're the ordinary reader that's not in the Top 1% of the hierarchy, and you're closer to the bottom of the ladder. That's why we're going to visit the issue of how to be the best minion for your Big Bad boss so you can rise up the ranks. It just so happens that upward mobility is a thing in the working world of villains.

Fire Emblem Path of Radiance Sothe King Ashnard Daein rise up escape the slums base conversation
Daein slum-lord Sothe talking about Mad King Ashnard's policy on upward mobility.
Now, I may not be the best person to talk about this. After all, I'm not a villain! I've never done anything bad in my whole life. I'm the prince of a very noble kingdom, Koopa Kingdom, working hard to ensure the best life for its citizens. I also run this positive propaganda organisation, KoopaTV, with the .org to show for it. That said, a little while ago I was forced by the Decepticon Vortex (also a KoopaTV staff member) to join Team Decepticons in the Splatoon Splatfest. Not wanting to lose (and we utterly destroyed them), I tried to get my friends to also join Team Decepticons in a non-forceful manner.

To my surprise, they were actually EAGER to become villainous foot-soldiers! It's as if they considered being a low-level minion to be really cool as a career decision.

Well, if that's what you really want to do, then I'll give some tips. Here are the top three traits that Big Bads look for in minions:

Top Three Traits:

  1. Competence
  2. Loyalty
  3. Motivation
If you possess all three of these, it forms a trinity that will make you the perfect minion that will be in-demand. It just so happens that you can learn all three of these by getting an actual job in the corporate world.

How to be a good evil minion traits Venn Diagram
This article summed up in a Venn Diagram.

Let's go over the traits in detail:


Well, we discussed this last week when we framed the debate in terms of Quality vs. Quantity. People don't like incompetent minions. Competence comes in several flavours, and big bads want them all. You have to be situationally aware of things. (Good way to practice: Look at your GamePad in Splatoon and try to figure out when an Inkling is coming up from behind. Hint: They will be covering up your ink in an effort to get to you.) That means you gotta be conscientous of how your work is affecting the greater scheme of things, so be sure you know what you're doing before you delete the entry off the database. (Try backing up the Excel sheet first.)

You also need to flat-out have the skills, or know how to get them, to do whatever job it is. If you have to lift up 30 pounds of swords and shields (or office equipment), you better be able to have the muscle for it. Or a cart. If you need to know how to navigate the security system of the museum without triggering anything or make a PivotTable by the big meeting after lunch, then you need to have that knowledge equipped.

"I am not a crook! I am an archaeologist!" - Jackie Chan, knocking over a vase to trigger the security system.

If you don't have the skills to do your job, you're nothing more than a background character who talks the talk and has a lot of enthusiasm, but you can't be relied on to actually do anything productive.


You need to be a true believer in the cause. Or, at least, you'll be willing to do anything your boss says. Your conscience needs to get the hell away. If you work in the corporate world long enough, your sense of ethics will erode and you'll do things just because, hey, that's what your boss told you to do. It doesn't matter if you think your boss is an idiot or a jerk — your boss is your boss. Don't worry about what's legal, worry about what will get the quarterly profits up!

Defending Talrega Fire Emblem Path of Radiance Daein soldier dialogue
This Daein soldier is then told to shut up and do his job or die. He does his job, but he's not getting a promotion.

Your commander or boss doesn't want a wise-ass who questions every decision. Most of all, they need someone they can trust.

You see, sometimes if a minion is rising above the chaff, they're actually working to take control of the unit themselves all mutiny-like. Bosses are very aware that bad people tend to do bad things not just to the good guys, but also their fellow villains. No honour among thieves, you see. So some bosses will even go as far as to send spies after their best minions because they don't trust them. This is a waste of resources, and if you get to this point then your boss will find reasons for he or she to become more paranoid.

So say "yessir" or "yes ma'am" and obey your boss and you'll have a positive performance review.

In the corporate world with large companies, incompetent people tend to become middle-managers thanks to factors like tenure and nepotism. So you'll always have that dumb or jerkass boss in your time, and you might be at that point in the job for a while. A lesser minion will quit their job — but if you're an ambitious minion, then you will continue through it and find out what will make your boss like you. Dumb people like having their ideas be affirmed as correct and smart. Make your boss's vision a reality and they'll think you're loyal and a valuable minion, and your conscience will be eroded as it must be to be a good minion.


Bosses want a motivated worker. A motivated minion will find ways to enrich their organisation even when they don't have assigned work. They're pro-active. They're eager to do what needs to be done and more. In effect, they put effort into what they do.

Blood Runs Red Fire Emblem Path of Radiance Jill Haar
Every boss would like a minion such as Jill, rather than Haar.

It's best to find a motivator stronger than material wealth. That works as a motivator to a certain point (enough to provide a comfortable living for you and your loved ones), but studies show that your intrinsic motivation actually goes down with higher rewards, and there really isn't correlation between performance on tasks that require thought and performance. Folks who are intrinsically motivated are more engaged, and perform better.

Your boss wants a better-performing minion, so find something you like. Whether you're a sadistic terrible person who enjoys hearing the screams of your victims, or you get off on hearing praise from your boss, there's something out there that'll make you want to go to work every day. You just gotta find it. Unfortunately, the majority of folks out there are disengaged from working, but there are ways that those workers could be better engaged. Obviously, most bosses in the corporate world don't do that. And you can be sure that most villainous bosses don't do it either.

What happens is that "Loyalty" and "Motivation" like to contradict one another, yet everyone expects both. If your conscience is tarnished and you're just an automaton doing whatever your boss expects, you're not gonna be very motivated. If you're motivated in a flaccid work environment, you might be doing something subversive because motivation is supposed to come from top-down.

So you have to be internally motivated. There's gotta be something in your organisation that aligns with what you value, or else you wouldn't join that organisation.

The Corporate World

You know, there are a lot of similarities you can draw from being a villainous minion and being an office worker bee. You're gonna have bad bosses. You're going to be assigned work you probably didn't intend on doing, since everyone in the world wants you to do "ad-hoc projects" that demand flexibility. Your boss can either like you or hate you, but there's no sense for your future to be on the latter end of that. Being a bad guy or bad girl isn't all glamour and sexy uniforms.

If you don't like the structure and stability of joining someone else, for both the business world and villainy you can eschew being anyone's minion and create your own independent practice. But that may be even harder: You'll have to get your own resources and make your own plans WITH back-up plans. You'll have to rent out or buy your own office space or your own lair. Excavating your own cave into the forgotten volcano can be tough work, so might as well have someone else do it.

Proto Man castle Megaman Mega 5 Dark fortress
Proto Man didn't build that; somebody else made that happen.
But he'd have to spend so much money on a lair that he wouldn't have enough money to build an army!

Might as well piggy-back off rich dudes. You gotta have the capital to do things on your own, and you get capital by getting it from other people first through (dis)honest labour.

So here's my suggestion to all aspiring evil minions: Work in the corporate world. The larger the company, the better the experience. Get paid a lot and try to stand out. If you stand out for the right reasons and please your boss, then after you accumulate a comfortable nest egg you can go to villainy.

Please, just get some experience before you be a minion, or you'll be one more "quantity" and add no "quality". Besides, elite evil enterprises don't need scrubs like you who don't even know how to follow orders.

By the way, it's always better to volunteer than be drafted. That goes into your loyalty, because of course you can be trusted you volunteered. It probably means you're motivated, because you joined for a reason. And you're probably competent, since people tend to self-select for things they can actually do.

Special Warning For Female Minions-to-be

I feel the need to give a shout-out to girls, because those were all the folks who were volunteering for Team Decepticon. (Most of the people Ludwig talks with on his Wii U are female, just for your information. Take that as you will.)

Evil organisations can be very harsh to women. Whatever you do, do your research before picking and joining an organisation. For example, don't join ISIS. They subjugate their women and enslave them, and make them wear gross burqas. There are organisations that follow Even Evil Has Standards and will treat their women just like their men. You don't want males feeling entitled to violate you just because you're female — you need to prove you're just as bad as they are. Don't take that from anyone. Except your boss. Always follow your boss's orders.

If your evil organisation of choice has a henchperson resources (HR) department, utilise them to try and find out the culture before you join. You can also figure that out in your job interview and observe how other people act.

Team Galactic admins Mars Jupiter double battle Pokémon Platinum Mt. Coronet
If an organisation puts women in high places, they're more likely to treat female minions better.

With all of this knowledge, KoopaTV hopes that you can make an educated decision as to whether or not you're fit to join criminal and diabolical organisations. Not every evil enterprise is the right fit for you, and you're not the right fit for every place. But if you work on these skills and more, you'll have bad guys battling one another to give you the opportunity to work for them. Be competitive!

If, after reading this, you're too afraid to take the steps needed to fulfill your dreams as a lawless lackey, KoopaTV is there for you. Or perhaps you think you're up to it, but the labour market is too hard. KoopaTV is, in fact, hiring. KoopaTV might be too benevolent for your liking, but give working for this organisation a try. KoopaTV will even give you a reference! If you're already making it as a baddie, then tell Ludwig your experiences in the comments! You may comment anonymously if your boss will wring your neck for talking about it, but then you won't have the opportunity to practise your loyalty trait by being entered in the KoopaTV Loyalty Rewards Program where you can win real value prizes!

Ludwig uses the three traits of being a good minion as a framework for how he is trying to help Koopas get better.

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