How to NOT mismanage your managers

This is a subject close to my heart and when I found this article in the newspaper in 1980 it immediately appealed to me. It comprehensively addresses many of the problems around Management and Leadership.

I intend coming back to it from time to time to expand on some of the points made and perhaps add the odd anecdote.

How not to mismanage your managers – (this is the original headline)(By Stephen Orpen in the Sunday Times, Business Times, September 14, 1980)


Good managers are hard to find, hard to develop and hard to keep. The modern manager sits at the centre of the maelstrom. His desk is the final destination of the briskly passing buck.
He has his job cut out just trying to keep track of what’s happening and trying to control it. Conditions that once could be relied on to remain substantially unchanged for ten years are now often transformed beyond recognition in ten months.
Every day, he is given the unwelcome opportunity of becoming an industrial hero by making decisions fraught with personal risk and responsibility.
To do all this, to enjoy doing it and to do it well requires special qualities such as courage, kindness, intelligence, judgement, nervous stability, optimism, patience, drive, perseverance, the constitution of an ox and a marked degree of masochism.
There have never been a great number of people with these qualities – and one can safely assume the shortage will continue. Consequently, it is useful to ask: “How do I make the most of what I’ve got?”
Managers have two functions: (a) to make decisions, and (b) to control people.
To make decisions, they need judgement and confidence.
The ability to make decisions is like a muscle. It develops best with regular exercise that is steadily increased. The earlier the exercise begins, the more impressive the results.
To control people, managers need both respect and self-respect. Self-respect develops from knowing what one has personally contributed to the job.
Respect is won when other people know it too. Responsibility and recognition are, therefore, the prime prerequisites of the effective manager.
You need good managers if you are going to run, not ruin, your business. Yet often the bosses who think they are most aware of this unconsciously do things that are certain to undermine their managers.
Here are some of the easiest ways to mismanage a manager:

(1)          Make him responsible for too little and force him to justify his existence at every turn.
(2)          Make him responsible for too much so he’s forever apologising for everything he’s left undone.
(3)          Never define his responsibilities. Then he can get all the blame when things go wrong and none of the praise when they turn out right.
(4)          Make him responsible without giving him authority. Put him in charge of operations over which he has no budgetary or disciplinary control. Don’t give him the power to hire staff to get the work done, nor to fire staff whose incompetence impedes progress.
(5)          Set unrealistic targets for his achievement. Now that you’ve cut the promotion budget and introduced a hefty price increase and your competitors have just launched a better product, tell your sales manager that you expect him to increase your market share by 10%/ this is guaranteed to improve his sales incentive – in selling his services elsewhere!
(6)          Assume that everything is always his fault. Call him in, look at him accusingly and treat his every remark as a damaging admission. He’ll soon be defending himself before he even discovers what he’s guilty of. Then point out, more in anger than in sorrow, that “who excuses himself accuses himself”.
(7)           Be intolerant when it really is his fault. Our own shortcomings are lovable idiosyncrasies. Those of others are intolerable incompetency. Forget that the more a manager does for you, the more he runs the risk of making a mistake.
(8)          Set out to KEEP HIM ON HIS TOES. The standard way to do this is to ask questions about trivial details at unexpected and inopportune moments. When management experts say that every manager has large areas of ignorance; that he can’t and shouldn’t know everything; that he must save time by knowing only what it is necessary for him to know so long as he knows where to find out the rest; in your mind they’re clearly talking about you, not the managers who report to you.
(9)          Give unsought assistance. Treat managers as if they were personal assistants. Mould them into extensions of yourself. Don’t stop at telling them what is to be done, give them a detailed description of how it is to be done. This destroys a manager’s capacity to think and act for himself, inhibits his learning processes and produces worse results than he could have achieved unaided.
(10)        When he does seek help, make sure he doesn’t like the help he gets. This discourages him from taking up your time – and from doing anything else. One way to close down communications is to SOLVE some problem that has worried him for weeks in five minutes OFF THE TOP OF YOUR HEAD and wave him out with a benign smile. He now has two worries instead of one – a problem he can’t solve and a solution he can’t use.
(11)        Start doing his job for him. Brief him on a task that will involve tricky conversations with difficult people. Ring them all up just to tell them:
                “I’ve asked Joe to talk to you about so and so”. Then, when he gets round to them, they can tell him, “It’s already taken care of with the boss”. This not only makes him feel useless but it makes him look useless to the people he’s supposed to manage.
(12)        Keep checking up on him. Once he learns that you never seriously expect him to get anything done on his own, he’ll give you exactly what you expect: nothing new and nothing original.
(13)        Have cosy chats with his staff about him. This will prove that it’s better to be popular than productive. Encourage him to forego all pretence of managing and spend his time in currying favour with his staff in the hope that a few of the kindly ones will put in a good word for him with you.
(14)        Let him tell the bad news – give the good news yourself. Let each manager handle matters of firing, retiring, lateral promotions, demotions, inquisitions and admonitions. You hand out raises, promotions, bonuses and general bonhomie. Tell the managers after you have told the recipients, so that the staff will do anything for you and nothing for your supposedly chosen representatives.
(15)        Criticise a manager in front of his staff. Or, better still, ridicule him. This will show everyone that you have a sense of humour, or alternatively that you don’t mind employing buffoons. It will also give you a chance later to complain with perfect truth that all your managers are pretty useless at getting things done and that all the drive has to come from you.
(16)        Have too many levels of sub-managers. That’s how to get an organisation where everybody’s an architect and nobody lays bricks, within an atmosphere of real management democracy where everybody feels he’s as good as everybody else and spends all his time proving it.
(17)        Re-organise your managers often. Do enough of it and you’ll defeat even the most devoted apostle of order.  As your managers ROLL WITH THE PUNCHES the whole business will roll with them.
(18)        Divide and rule. If they’re worrying about blocking each other’s advancement, they’re not worrying you – nor worrying about your business.

Perhaps you are not guilty of any of these mistakes in handling your managers. But if any of them thinks you are, the effects may be just as harmful.
In any case, you’ve doubtless observed some of these shortcomings in other executives. Plain truth is the boss who allows himself to indulge in these entirely human failings, even briefly, can expect certain consequences. Some managers will turn into those pale creatures who approach you in terror and leave you with relief.
Others will become lackeys who mouth their approval before you’ve finished telling them what to approve of. Others will turn sour and silent. Others will give up the struggle altogether and go elsewhere.
Management without misery
Once you have accepted what NOT to do, the rules for success are very simple.
First, remind yourself that there are necessary limits to what the boss should do himself. The final responsibility for four main tasks must always rest with him. These are:

  1. To assemble the right managerial group,
  2. To organise the group properly,
  3. To set the right goals for it,
  4. To see that it stays on course and moves at the optimum speed.

Coping with these four crucial areas is labour enough for any man. If they’re done properly, the boss won’t need to spread his influence any further.
If they are not done properly, he won’t be able to spread his influence further, save in a totally destructive way.
The only real trouble with managers arises when, having failed to do his own task, the boss sets out to do theirs for them.
Concentrate on telling your managers what to do, not how to do it. Then trust them. Be approachable. Let them feel free to seek your advice without regarding it as an admission of failure on their part.
If your managers do fail, be charitable. The first failure was yours. You picked them. Let them feel valued; otherwise they will tend to become valueless.
When, under this wise leadership, they grow in stature and begin to stand firmly on their own feet, resist the temptation to CUT THEM DOWN TO SIZE, unless the interests of the company are truly threatened by their arrogance.
Finally, if they presume to disagree with you, don’t react like a wounded buffalo. If they are not actually insolent, they are paying you the compliment of trusting you to be fair.
To disagree with the boss is always an act requiring courage. If it requires downright insanity, then sane men will seek a better boss in a saner company.


Leadership – an opportunity

Quite some time ago I was asked to write a short resume about my personal experience of managing people, of leadership. I wrote the genesis of this article in about 2012 and it was forgotten among my files.

Crest and cap badge of RhACR

In 1975 I had completed a ten-year contract in the Rhodesian Army Corps of Signals and in 1976 after a short spell in the BSA Police I transferred back to the Army and the Corps of Signals. I was reinstated in my rank of Staff Sergeant and immediately posted to the Rhodesian Armoured Car Regiment Signals Troop (T Troop RhACR) as 2i/c and Regimental Signals Instructor.

After a while our Captain was posted out and we were left without a Troop Commander after which I was appointed to act in that post.

The troop had only about three or four regular army members – myself and a couple of corporals and signalmen (privates). Most of the troop complement were territorials, called up for from 6 – 8 weeks at a time.

I soon found that for the regular men to try to do all the training and maintenance was going to benefit no-one. Not the regiment, the troop or the army. By stretching ourselves so thinly we could not do justice to the service required of the troop.

Up to that time it had been almost traditional in the army that territorial and national service soldiers were treated as a kind of readily available “servant” corps to take the pressure of guard and radio duties and other kinds of menial tasks, off the rest of the unit to which they were posted.

Resentment at this offhand treatment was all too evident. People felt that their training, skills and abilities were ignored by the army and that they could have been contributing more to the economy in civvy street. It would have been easy to dismiss this in a superior way – this is not civvy street, you territorials have to do this and do as you are told.

That would have been counterproductive. These intelligent men who had responsible positions in their civilian occupations were actually insulted by our treatment of them. After all, why had we trained them and why did we pay them to be there if we were not going to use the assets we had created in the most productive way possible.

I was mindful of my mandate to provide training and maintenance on the radio communications elements of the regiment. In order to do this, I needed my men to buy into my vision and step forward with their own contributions.

After investigating the background of the territorial members I found many of them had shown aptitude for, and been trained as, instructors but this training was being ignored. I then interviewed these men – among others with other skills – as they came for their call-ups. I asked them if they wanted to do more, to do what they had been specially trained for.

The initial reaction was that they wanted to be more involved but that they would not be allowed to do this work. The “established routine” would not permit it.

I assured them that they would have the full support of the Regiment and the Corps of Signals and that they would now be required to take on more of the training and day to day aspects of the troop while on call-up. The instructors would be running the courses and grading the trainees and their call-ups would be timed to start shortly before a training period. This would enable them to prepare for the course, run it and have a period of wind down and analysis.

With some trepidation but with great enthusiasm they got stuck in – and dramatically improved our effectiveness.

I kept a close eye on the work at first but soon realised – and told anyone who would listen – that great things were being achieved. Everyone learned about our miniature revolution – which it was.

In a relatively short time the accolades started to come in. I was able to successfully put people forward for promotions and this further bolstered confidence.

Now, when they arrived for call-ups, although they would rather not have been there, these men were no longer long-faced and round-shouldered. They were proud and purposeful, filled with the WE ethos. We are good at what we do; we are the best. We have an important role.

By encouraging and empowering these men, in the face of established, contrary mind-sets, these non-professional soldiers became a valuable asset to the unit and the light being shone on them reflected on me, my troop and on my corps. That, truly, is what win-win is all about.

Leadership – early influences

I joined the Rhodesian regular army in March 1965 straight out of National Service during which time I had attended a course at the School of Signals. My excellent results led to my attestation into the Corps of Signals.

I continued as a signalman (private soldier) for perhaps two years because I still had to complete a REGULAR signals course to qualify for trade pay and be in line for promotion.

During this time, I performed all the duties of a fully qualified operator – minus the trade pay.  Bummer!

I was fortunate as a young soldier to have served with some really good, conscientious young officers who took their leadership role seriously. They were interested in their men and would teach them about the responsibilities that may come as one’s army career progressed.

One such Officer Commanding (OC) was Lt Kim Christiansen who was OC K Troop at HQ 2 Brigade (years before the Signal Squadrons were formed).

Before the days of camouflage

On one brigade training exercise  I – still a signalman – had been given the status of detachment commander. My radio crew consisted of four soldiers, a land rover and trailer kitted out with radios, battery charging and personal kit and the task of maintaining 24-hour communications. Immediately after pulling into the brigade area and siting my vehicle I walked off to the mess – leaving the men (they had done this before after all?), to sort out the kit.

Very shortly afterwards my OC came looking for me and called me out of the other ranks mess and asked me several questions:

  • Do your men know where to sleep?
  • Do they have a duty roster?
  • Have the antennas been calculated and sited correctly?
  • Has the camouflage been done correctly?
  • Do they know their stand-to positions?
  • Do they know where to go for food? For ablutions? For toilet facilities?

My youthful reply was that they had done this before so why the fuss?

Lieutenant Christensen then firmly pointed out to me that if I aspired to be in charge I needed to understand that leadership and management had responsibilities. If I wanted respect I had to earn it and it fell to me to look out for the men and set an example in every way. While he was not nasty about it he was very definite. I remember some of my peers scoffing at him behind his back. In retrospect of course he was right and I never forgot the lesson.

This officer saw something in me that I, as an eighteen or nineteen-year-old, was not aware of. He made me understand, in the short time he was my OC, that leadership and authority is a two-way street with much responsibility attached – particularly for the leader.

He had taken the trouble to provide leadership himself (not just be the boss) and, not only that, he provided training and an example that would forever stand me in good stead.

A few other officers and senior ranks influenced me similarly over the years, perhaps seeing in me a latent ability that would only come to the fore some years later. I regret not having had more such influences.

It does not matter whether you are in the military or a civilian – the principles of managing and leading people remain the same. Perhaps with a few other considerations driving it but in my mind the most important thing for a leader is to firstly set a good example and then be consistent, be firm and fair and recognise and reward good performance. Rewards can be as subtle as a thank you – or a favourable comment on a job well done.

A bit like bringing up a child – or training a dog perhaps? Consistency and fairness also play a big part.

Thoughts on South Africa…and on AID

Am I just a curmudgeonly cynic or do I have a point here?

I lived in Southern Africa for 67 years. I lived, and paid taxes in, South Africa from 1980 to 2016 and I drafted this as a letter to the press several years ago. Life intervened but this remains relevant.

I think it points up something that is fundamentally wrong with the practice of GIVING AID. People who do not help themselves and don’t do the work that they are entrusted with but are helped at every turn by AID will never have an incentive to DO those things that they are contracted to do. As long as the aid is given the VICTIM culture will prevail, the sense of entitlement. Coupled with ineptitude…anyway for what it is worth here are my thoughts from a few years ago…

At the time this was happening…(and had happened before).

MNet / DSTV are once again promoting a Carte Blanche ( initiative in respect of the Frere Hospital in the Eastern Cape.

The initiative has called upon corporates and individuals to donate funds to build / rebuild the children’s and neo-natal wing of the hospital.

By all accounts an incredibly successful project, it will provide truly state of the art facilities in this impoverished area.

While the generosity has been great let us not forget that every penny given over to corporate responsibility and charitable causes can be offset against tax. Nothing wrong with that in and of itself and the corporates get some nice publicity.

Most importantly, and without wishing to detract from its success, I feel that these initiatives point up the absolute failure of the post-apartheid government to properly manage funds and maintain and build infrastructure.  

It is NOT the job of private enterprise to build, hand over and maintain facilities for the government. It is why we – individuals and corporates – pay taxes to the government, which government seems to think the money is solely to fund extravagance.

It is accepted that previously disadvantaged areas often did not have quite the same facilities as the more privileged areas. Of course Baragwanath Hospital (the largest in the southern hemisphere) for example, was (note the past tense) a world class hospital and known in the international medical world – and that is in Soweto – the vast township area outside the greater Johannesburg city.

What the new government failed to recognise is that they inherited all these top class facilities that could be used as the model, as the standard to which they should aspire.

Had the existing facilities (and one should include EVERYTHING infrastructural here, not only medical facilities) not been neglected and allowed to deteriorate – no, been dragged – down to the lowest, most base, level then there would be no need to beg private enterprise to do what the government should have done and should be doing on an ongoing basis.

Private enterprise on the other hand could have used all that money to build itself up and create jobs and opportunities. Of course that presupposes that the business world would not have been hamstrung, as it has been by the current administration, by poor decision making, punitive regulations and laws and the entire gamut of negative, oppressive and ignorant government departments each seeming to be trying to outdo the other on measures to drive away and discourage investment and small business initiatives.

With apologies to those grammar Nazis who may pick up errors of tense – I felt if I changed it too much I would lose the immediacy of the time at which I first drafted it.

The old-fashioned hamburger

I have always loved hamburgers but, for the life of me, I cannot understand how the simple, plain and tasty hamburger became the gourmet item that EVERYONE and EVERY eatery THINKS it should be!

The classic hamburger that I remember from the 1950s, was a bun, cut in half across its diameter and lightly toasted with a smear of butter, a couple of thin slices of onion, a tasty (note: TASTY) beef patty, two or three thin slices of tomato and close the top. If the diner wanted pickles, or lettuce etc he asked  and might have to pay extra for it while tomato sauce (or ketchup, if you must) was usually – by default – in a bottle on the counter as were salt and pepper shakers.

A cheeseburger was exactly what I have described with one or two slices of cheese on the patty (I like cheddar) as the only difference. Even the egg-burger was merely a fried egg added as another layer in the burger.

Then they started to add mayonnaise (sob)…and beetroot (sobs again), and half a head of lettuce and all manner of other fine-dining shrubbery and relishes and sauces (more snuffling-into-a-handkerchief sounds  heard from the wings).

The net result is that the humble burger becomes this THING that is almost unrecognisable and in which the meat, the BURGER part of it, is so subsumed by the other flavours swirling around it that they could be putting just about anything (and I believe some places use some dodgy stuff) into that patty because, as long as you don’t find an eye or an obvious piece of offal in it, you have NO IDEA what you are eating.

When I order a hamburger and ask for all the shrubbery and sauces to be skipped and to just put some raw onion and tomato on you would think I was speaking a foreign language. And then I get my order and there is some reddish glop on it, soaking into the top of the burger. I ask what it is and am told “…that is our (pick one: savoury sauce; relish; fried onion relish etc, etc)…) and we ALWAYS put that on”.

I then ask why it was added when I was SO SPECIFIC about NO SAUCES…and I get the hurt, offended, angry look and the “…but we always…” speech.

My wife tells me that they will react that way because they think that is how it should be – she also likes over-dressed burgers. And then she adds that by chucking off all that “good” stuff I am paying full price for less. My retort that at least I am getting what I want only gets me a pitying look.

 But why? How did this happen?

What happened to my plain, and very tasty, burger that I described in my opening paragraphs? 

Everyone tries to tell me my preference is wrong but no-one will try a simple burger. I guess if they did they would be disappointed – as I have often been – by the indifferent beef patty and the flat taste. That need not be so if GOOD beef mince is used, properly seasoned when mixing and with fresh onion and tomato and a nice firm bun completing the burger.

Perhaps hamburgers are dressed up like the Chelsea flower show because ORGANIC is such a buzz word – and a licence to print money, if you want my opinion – so they feel if they add all this light, airy, taste-confusing stuff it is now going to be the healthy option.

Somehow I am reminded of that order for “…a large bucket of fried chicken and chips with bread rolls and a diet soda…”

Anyway, I firmly believe that less is more – why, for example is minimalist FINE DINING so popular with ecstatic reviews of a simple mix of simple ingredients and so on ad-nauseam but simple is not right for the burger? Come on!

Scroll down to see my recipe for an outstanding burger.

The Australian National Broadband Network (NBN)

After reading many bitter complaints about the NBN I felt compelled to contribute my five cents worth…here it is.

The NBN, although not fully rolled out yet is, or will be, the carrier for all telecoms traffic but, more specifically, access to the internet.

I love analogy and I intend using an analogy to address something I see often, and that is the vitriolic attacks on the NBN for poor service, service disruptions and NO service. And before going further I have no connection with the NBN other than that I use it. My interest is in fair comment – and in my experience the NBN is brilliant.

I don’t think a lot of people understand how it all works in that the service, the NBN, just sits there waiting for us to use it. However, if we cannot get at it how do we use it? When we change to NBN we are not dealing with the NBN company (the people involved in the creation and maintenance of the NBN) we are dealing with SERVICE PROVIDERS who have decided to set up a service to ENABLE ACCESS to the NBN.

A further thing to remember is that TELSTRA, the national telecoms network provider – and historically (for many years I believe) the only phone service provider – has the biggest network providing access points to the NBN. This means that any service provider has to provide their own infrastructure to get to where YOU are and THEN provide further service to the most appropriate interconnect point to the NBN. This will more often than not, but not always, be via Telstra infrastructure (leased telephone lines and exchanges).

It should be noted that in Australia – a VAST, vast country – there are only 121 Points Of Interconnect (POI) in the entire country.  What this means is that there are 121 GATES where access can be obtained. You are unlikely to have such a point on the pole outside your premises.

Irrespective of Telstra any access will be via a third party NBN contracted subscriber providing access to other service providers who deal directly with the public.

One can see that if, at any point in this chain of interconnects, there is a problem then that problem will affect the end-user, or the subscriber, looking for telecom service.

When we (as Telstra subscribers) were sent our NBN router by Telstra in November 2016 we installed it per the instructions and suffered various outages and errors for a while– not a particularly big deal but the router kept losing the TELEPHONE LINE.  If you do not have a digital telephone line, then you cannot connect to ANY service provider. Again this is a generalisation because some providers are not hard-wired but, at some point, there are various interfaces – connections if you prefer – that connect your premises with an exchange which in turn routes your signal through other exchanges until it meets the NBN – at one of only 121 POIs in the entire country – and you can get out onto the WWW (World Wide Web). Not all the exchanges will necessarily be owned/operated by your service provider who has to pay a service fee to route his traffic through those exchanges (or SWITCHES).

It can be seen that it is not just a matter of YOU ARE CONNECTED TO THE NBN rather, it is a matter of your service provider ensuring that SERVICE IS ROUTED FROM YOUR PREMISES TO THE NBN.

Here is an analogy that may help to make sense of this.

International air travel is an established service deemed to be one of the safest means of transport available to the masses.

You have booked a trip to the UK and your flights, which include a connecting flight to the international terminal, are paid for and the dates established.

As the day draws nearer you have to decide how to get to the airport and you decide that, because it is a business day, you will take a taxi to the station and then take a train to the city where the airport is and then a bus to the airport to get your connecting flight.

On arrival at the transfer airport you have to collect your luggage and take a bus from the domestic terminal to the international terminal where you have to go through customs and immigration exit formalities before you can get to your flight.

Your taxi breaks down halfway to the station so you miss your train and, because you did not allow time for this you will miss your bus and probably miss your flight.

Is this the fault of THE INTERNATIONAL AIRCRAFT OPERATOR? Is it YOUR fault? Is it the taxi’s fault or is it the taxi driver’s fault? Is it perhaps the domestic carrier’s fault?

You get to the station on time though but you go to the wrong platform and miss your train.


Assuming you board the domestic aircraft on time but, after take-off, it is found that a weather front has moved in at the destination airport and your flight has to be diverted and you will miss your international flight.


My point here is that as long as the international long-haul flight was on time and kept to its schedule you cannot blame it – or its operators – for the fact that you missed the flight because, as we can see, a number of factors played into that scenario and the delay could have been anywhere BUT it is NOT the fault of the international aircraft operator that the plane has taken off.

When you want to blame the NBN take note of who your immediate service provider is and try to ascertain what arrangements they have in place for YOUR AREA in order to route calls from YOUR AREA to the nearest access point to the NBN.

Has your service provider got enough leased lines and bandwidth serving your area? Note that a leased line need not be a physical wire or optical fibre cable – it may be routed via point-to-point microwave links among other things – but it is still generically referred to as a line.

After taking note of this VERY BROAD interpretation of HOW IT WORKS, is the problem STILL the NBN? Is it perhaps your access or somewhere between your premises and the access point to the NBN?

It is a subject that is cloaked in mystique for the average layman and using that mystique, that lack of knowledge, the operators or service providers can blame anything and everyone except, perhaps, themselves?

An excuse that I read about was that there was something on a pole over the road from someone’s premises and, for want of a cherry picker (a lift platform), connection from their premises to the NBN could not be completed and that therefore it was the fault of NBN. I find that bit of mumbo-jumbo very hard to accept.

I see the NBN as the whipping boy for a great deal of incompetence and sheer bad planning on the part of service providers who may not have geared themselves to make the best use of the NBN for themselves and, more particularly, their customers.

This simple article is not aimed at the technical community – it is intended for the many people who – in my opinion – are being, or may be, misled by service providers. This in turn leads to people writing to the press and posting on social media CASTIGATING the NBN.

The NBN, on their own website, have more detail and another very good analogy for how this all works at .

Note though that if your service provider does not have adequate access, routing or bandwidth it will probably affect you in one way or another.

You cannot use it adequately if you cannot access it adequately. Access is down to the service provider to whom you are contracted.

About CROCS – and bullies

A while ago I read an article by some smart fellows who were giving forth on sartorial dos and don’ts.

Right at the end of the article we, all of us – men and women, are exhorted to never, ever, under any circumstances and NO MATTER HOW COMFORTABLE they may be, wear CROCS©.

I remember a theatre nurse wearing CROCS© many years ago and I questioned her about them. She told me that irrespective of the lack of elegance and adverse comment about them they were the most comfortable and easy to clean footwear for someone who has to be on their feet all day and pretty much all her colleagues were wearing them at work. I went out and bought a pair of black CROCS© clogs.

Now the sight of skinny legs ending in those clumpy TRAINERS or running shoes while wearing little hide away non-socks, making said legs look like upside down lollipops, seems to escape comment from the stylistas…but, wear CROCS©!

CROCS© stay on your feet, are comfortable to drive or walk in, are as inelegant as hobnailed boots on a fashion catwalk…and make you a pariah. People will cross the street to avoid associating with you. Non-U does not even approach the disapproval the fashion police will heap upon you.

Comment or advice around the subject of CROCS© is usually offered in the most disparaging and derogatory of terms. Can terms that clearly reference one’s sanity and sense of community really be termed advice? Actually it is a superiorlookingdownthenose form of BULLYING!

However, having reached my three score and ten years, comfort rules, really it does. If I am casually dressed why are slops OK but CROCS© are not? After major surgery on my knees I wore Crocs© all the time during my rehab and walked miles in them with no discomfort.

With this in mind I had a little badge made, with an acronym that I shamelessly cribbed from Kevin Bloody Wilson, the irreverent Aussie comic. The badge blatantly reads DILLIGAF which, loosely translated, means:

Do I Look Like I Give A Flying damn

There is certainly nothing elegant about CROCS©, no matter what colour they are, but they are extremely comfortable and practical so at my age – DILLIGAF!

NB: where I grew up FLIP-FLOPS were always called SLIP SLOPS hence, SLOPS.

Postscript: NO-ONE turns a hair when I wear these particular CROCS©!