I’d Stab You in the Back, But This is More Honorable | HumorOutcasts

I’d Stab You in the Back, But This is More Honorable

January 20, 2019

Companies are pushing workers to drop the polite workplace veneer and speak frankly to each other no matter what.  The practice is referred to as “radical candor,” “mokita,” or “front-stabbing.”

The Wall Street Journal


The Code of the Samurai is a simple one: honor, discipline and morality, summed up by a single word, “bushido.”  The Will of the Warrior must be subordinated to the Mission Statement of the Corporation, which has recently been revised, check the footer in your copy, it should read “Updated: 1/15/2019.”  If a samurai failed to uphold his honor, there was only way to regain it: seppuku–ritual suicide.

But the Code of the Samurai Vice President is different.  In addition to the fundamental precepts of frugality, mastery of martial arts, loyalty unto death and knowing which sword to use for the entree (prime rib, chicken or fish) at the annual Sales Awards Dinner, the Samurai Vice President is expected to speak frankly to other Vice Presidents about their shortcomings.  It is no longer acceptable merely to stab the enemies of the Chief Emperor Officer in the back.  Now, one must also stab one’s colleagues in the front, in order to maintain a high level of camaraderie and greater EBITDA (earnings before interest expense, taxes, depreciation and amortization).  EBITDA is maintained through “mokita”–front-stabbing.


No one likes to be stabbed in the back–the element of surprise is embarrassing.  But front-stabbing is a little like seppuku.  You screwed up, so your fellow Vice Presidents would be remiss if they did not point out your failure, and eliminate you from the payroll.  In thus taking your life, they save Human Resources many weeks of severance pay, continuing availability of health insurance under the COBRA law of the Emperor, and also bogus sentimentality at your going-away party.  Like “We will miss you SO much, Hattori Hanzo–don’t be a stranger!”

Girl samurai from accounts payable department


Maybe if you didn’t spend so much time flirting with Ran Tsukikage in Accounts Payable we wouldn’t have to front-stab you, but you should know by now that all internal emails are company property and can be reviewed for violations of our Dignity in the Workplace Policy at any time.  Did you really think you were going to get away with “How about a glass of sake after work, my little rhododendron?”  Sheesh–we are a Fortune 1000 corporation, not Toshiro Mifune Consolidated Junior High School.

When you are front-stabbed, you should take it like a samurai.  No whining like Julius Caesar–“Et tu, Toyotomi Hideyoshi!”  Suck it up and be a Vice President, would you?  To die from mokita is to go honorably, like a man!


Just be sure and drop off your ID badge with the security guard–also your men’s room key

Con Chapman

I'm a Boston-area writer, author of The Year of the Gerbil, a history of the 1978 Red Sox-Yankees pennant race, and 50 books of humor including "Scooter & Skipper Blow Things Up!" by HumorOutcasts Press. My work has appeared in The Atlantic, The Christian Science Monitor and The Boston Globe among print outlets. "Rabbit's Blues," my biography of Johnny Hodges, Duke Ellington's long-time alto sax player, will be published by Oxford University Press in September.

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2 Responses to I’d Stab You in the Back, But This is More Honorable

  1. January 21, 2019 at 7:55 am

    Why can’t we just go back to being polite and respectful? Is that such a bad thing?

  2. January 21, 2019 at 1:19 am

    I’ve worked there.

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