Skip to content

The King’s Shilling


A long time ago, but not in a galaxy far far away, accepting the King’s shilling signalled your willingness to serve in the army or navy. It was a commitment to do your duty. The press gangs used to use all sorts of nefarious tactics to get people to accept the King’s shilling…including slipping it into a tankard of beer. The view being that when you finished your beer and looked at the shilling….you’d accepted it…..and hence why you can get tankards with a see-through base.

I mention this because I used this phrase yesterday with one of our Directors. To be honest, the guy is one intransigent fucker and in this specific scenario has been happily sitting on his hands for months rather than carrying out a piece of work that we need doing. Why? Because he doesn’t agree with the request.

We’ve had the debate, we have heard the arguments and we have decided on our path. He doesn’t agree so he is not doing what he needs to. His boss has had repeated exchanges and so I suggested I do the old Mystic Meg routine and “predict his future”. We danced around the subject for a while before we got to the main issue. His view was that he was happy to “put forward the company’s view”. My response was “you are the company”.

The practice was not illegal, or he could have used Whistle blowing legislation. It wasn’t even grey. He just doesn’t agree.

My view? No-one slipped this in your beer. You take the King’s shilling you do your duty.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. class-factotum permalink
    10/20/2009 14:08

    Wow. And his boss hasn't told him "do this or find another job?"

    I am always amazed when managers have no guts. In my last job, there were many managers who were openly dissenting against the SAP implementation, as in not telling their factories to do what needed to be done. The VP didn't like the idea of SAP*, either, and strategy sessions often turned into bitchfests.

    I am very much of the convince them why it's a good idea school of leadership, but by this point, the good idea the CEO should have been promoting was, "If you want your job, then get on board."

    * This VP was a "diversity" candidate who absolutely refused to believe one could forecast demand for a box plant, even though 1) our major customers like Dell, P&G and Wal-Mart sent us forecasts and 2) our agricultural customers could have forecasted because they had a fixed number of acres and strawberry/orange/tomato harvest happens at about the same time every year. She was an IDIOT.

  2. teresahrgirl permalink
    10/20/2009 17:22

    Agree whole heartedly. If you can afford to chose which requests you complete, then you can afford to stand your ground and quit. If anything was amiss in this actual project that the manager just couldn't agree to and do, then he should have the balls to quit. If not, do the work and shut the hell up. Now, where's my beer?

  3. HRD permalink
    10/21/2009 15:40

    @class factotum – Don't get me wrong, I'd always prefer to persuade people to get on the bus. But there comes a point when you are either with us or against us. You have to love the idiots and remember they're special!
    @teresahrgirl – You can't beat a good rant!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: