Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Who is "The Man"?

I was having a conversation with a coworker today about "The Man".  No not any man, "THE" man.  You know, the one we all work for and who is holding us all down.  We were discussing it, and both complaining about how hard we had to work today because of the man.  But then it got me thinking, would I be considered, "The Man".

I'm not sure.  I certainly don't feel like The Man.   I don't feel like I'm opressing anybody or keeping anybody down.  So I searched wikipedia for an answer and this was their definition of The Man.

"The Man" refers to the someone or some group that has higher authority, such as, but not limited to, the government, leaders of large corporations, and other authority figures in general, such as the police. The Man is colloquially defined as the figurative person who controls our world. The Man is also often used as a symbol of racial oppression, as well as the boss of a blue-collar worker, and the enemy of any counterculture.

Given this definition, I think I'm running dangerously close to the line.  I definitely don't feel in control of the world, but at work I'm definitely an authority figure.  And while my company isn't a large corporation yet, it certainly isn't small.  So I think for now, I'm probably safely out of The Man status.   While it is certainly hard to quantify, my whole life is trying to make sense out of the nonsensical so let me give it a try.  I am definitely not the man.  My company is a little small, slightly over 200 people, and I'm not quite important enough yet to be considered in this category.  I probably make enough to be close to Man status, and I wield influence over quite a few people, but I'm not quite there yet.

In my book, The Man is

  • VP level or higher of a Fortune 1000 company

  • Elected government official at the state or higher level

  • Anybody with a net worth greater than $5 million

Where do you think the line is?  Do you have to work for a certain size company and be in charge of a certain number of people?  Do you have to make a certain amount of money?   Will you all still be my friend even if I do become The Man?


  1. The Man is someone people can blame for all their problems.

  2. For me, "The Man" means someone you want to be but can't (for reasons you feel you can't control and therefore you deem is unfair). So you begrudged him.

  3. He's the one my girlfriend's sister blames for the inequality of women at the workplace.