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Administrative head counting

Those on whom God has exercised his wrath by making you managers may find in this Oxford anecdote a useful model:

“[Alexander] Lindsay, when Master of Balliol, found himself in a minority of one in a college meeting and remarked, ‘I see, we are deadlocked.' " 

From The Dons by Noel Annan

Posted by John McIntyre at 1:40 PM | | Comments (3)


I once worked for an oil company with a...strong-willed, I guess would be a good description...founder/CEO. I was always amused at the number of executive committee motions that passed with one in favor, six against.

I once served on an advisory board which defined a quorum as a majority of those present (attendance was a problem.)

I worked as managing editor for a magazine whose mission was to promote diversity in the city. However, we did PR pieces for large companies in the city that had more to do with selling product than promoting anything other than themselves. When I brought this up to the publisher/owner, I was scoffed at for "questioning the process". Needless to say, I moved on to another position elsewhere.

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About John McIntyre
John McIntyre, mild-mannered editor for a great metropolitan newspaper, has fussed over writers’ work, to sporadic expressions of gratitude, for thirty years. He is The Sun’s night content production manager and former head of its copy desk. He also teaches editing at Loyola University Maryland. A former president of the American Copy Editors Society, a native of Kentucky, a graduate of Michigan State and Syracuse, and a moderate prescriptivist, he writes about language, journalism, and arbitrarily chosen topics. If you are inspired by a spirit of contradiction, comment on the posts or write to him at
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