How did Satan lose his job?

So, Satan’s lost his job, has he? Well, how would that happen?
By day, I’m a secondary school teacher. Actually, by night, I’m also a secondary school teacher, merely asleep. My experiences of people losing their jobs comes from my own industry so, let’s think, if Hell was run like British state education, what events would lead up to Satan’s dismissal?
First of all, although Satan runs Hell, its affairs would be overseen by a panel of governors or a board of trustees. Satan would be a member of that board but not run it. The chair of the board would an interested outsider. Either the Archangel Michael or the Archangel Gabriel might suit that role well. The rest of the board would be composed of other interested individuals, both insiders and outsiders. I would expect angels and demons on the board, plus representatives of  both the blessed and the damned. Actually, having to spend eternity serving on the board of a public body sounds like hell to me.
Now, Satan does not work alone. He has minions, the fallen angels and demons who populate Hell. Satan and all his underlings would have job descriptions and specific targets to work to. Those targets would mostly relate to servicing their clients, i.e. the damned. These targets would be derived from the Annual Infernal Action Plan, itself derived from the principles enshrined in Hell’s mission statement. The employees of Hell would work to achieve their targets whilst following the numerous policies in the Infernal Staff Handbook.
The Satanic workforce would be constantly monitored. Day to day effectiveness and efficiency of the workforce would be overseen internally, by the hierarchy of demonic beings, with Satan at the top. Satan and the Board of Trustees would carry out various independent inspections of the innumerable cities of Hell. Satan probably undertakes fact-finding missions to Pandemonium or does a meet-and-greet in Dis. A good leader must be visible and approachable.
However, there would be formal inspections by an outside body, perhaps in conjunction with the Board of Trustees. An independent organisation, probably called OFHELL, would make unannounced visits to different departments of Hell and ensure all is as it should be. They would measure the temperature of the Lake of Fire, compare the treatment of different groups (“Are the idolators getting the same level of service as the blasphemers?”) and ask the demonic workers searching questions such as “Yes, I can see that torture is taking place, but are they truly suffering?” The damned would be surveyed and asked to grade their torment and personal redemption on a scale from one to ten.
This would all take place within the context of a changing spiritual world. As Earth’s population rises and the number of faithful falls, the population of Hell shoots up. That doesn’t mean that Hell is expanding. There’s still only one Lake of Fire and the fornicators have to be tortured in shifts. Satan must achieve more with the same resources he’s always had. It’s a tough job.
I wouldn’t be surprised if The Powers That Be aren’t considering engaging private contractors to pick up the slack. I am sure an enterprising individual could acquire some holy real estate and set up a Foundation Hell or Independently Maintained Hell. It would generate competition (which is always a good thing, isn’t it?) and create choice for the discriminating denizen of the underworld. Sure, many of Satan’s underlings might be tempted away by the offer of better pay and perks (Hell does not provide company cars or a gym) but that will keep Satan on his toes, won’t it? I would imagine that if some of these private hells have already been set up and shown to be a success then the Board of Trustees will employ one of these captains of industry on a consultancy basis to give Satan some helpful pointers and help him patch up his sinking ship. How could Satan not be encouraged by this?
Ultimately, if a demon of any rank fails to meet their targets or even the basic requirements of their post then something will have to be done. Supportive measures will be put in place. They will be offered mentoring by a more experienced colleague. The mentor will observe them closely, meet for frequent ‘chats’ and report the individual’s continually poor progress to their own superiors.
Should mentoring fail to raise the individual’s game then they will be put on ‘capability’ (i.e. are you really capable of doing this job?). On capability, the underachiever will be assessed and monitored around the clock and any misdeeds or slip ups (you know, those that would have been overlooked in the past) would be rigorously addressed and added to the staff member’s growing file.
If this too fails then the Board of Trustees will have run out of options and, with a heavy heart, fire the individual. And should the individual complain that their workload was too high or they were faced with impossible challenges, the Board will have a fat file of evidence to show that, through performance management reviews, mentoring opportunities and capability, they did everything possible to stop the sad individual’s professional decline.
Satan’s position would be the most precarious of all for every person in management is not only responsible for their own work but for that of everyone beneath them. If the lowliest pitchfork-wielder is not torturing at an expected level and his underperformance is not addressed then the buck is passed up the chain to the demon who had ultimately failed to sort it out.
But Satan is the Prince of Darkness, sole monarch of Hell. Why would he even permit such a state of affairs to come to be? How and why does an autocracy become a republic?  Is there a Soviet-style uprising in hell? I don’t buy that. Satan is absolute ruler. In the power stakes, his only peers are the archangels, his only superior God Almighty.
If Hell is to become a republic, a democracy even, then it must be at Satan’s instigation. Perhaps with Hell’s rising population, he has sought to modernise, to make Hell more efficient and effective. In a vast organisation, a leader must delegate. Delegation necessitates bureaucracy and a system of checks and balances to ensure that those to whom power has been delegated are doing the job properly.
I am sure something not dissimilar would be taking place in heaven. Heaven already has its orders of angels, each with a very specific role. Of course, heaven has the advantage that everyone is quite literally singing from the same hymn sheet. Managing Hell’s workforce would probably be like trying to herd cats. Satan might feel he has a lot to learn from heaven’s man-management practices and even welcome an archangel’s helpful offer to work as Satan’s Infernal Improvement Partner.
And from there, it’s only a short hop, skip and a jump to an Infernal Board of Trustees sitting Satan down and saying, “Look, Lucifer, we really appreciate all you’ve done for us over the years but…”
Posted in 2011 Tagged with: , , , ,
4 comments on “How did Satan lose his job?
  1. Applying school bureaucracy and HR processes to Hell makes for great satire. I'd go with this. Outsourcing to private contractors (the Four Horseman? Different religions?) has lots of potential.

    Gabriel would be a logical choice as Chair of the Board (best to keep God out of it). It might be interesting to see Gabriel step in as Satan's interim replacement. He would make for a good antagonist.

  2. Heide says:

    Simon, it's interesting that you bring up different religion. I have been scribbling down some vision / mission statements (I think I will make a separate blog post) and I had toyed with the idea of "expanding into xxx market, being seen as the preferred supplier" sort of thing. I think there's a fine line to tread there but definitely some potential

  3. Iain says:

    I wonder if becomes too convoluted an issue or whether it is quite important but… do we treat Christianity as the ONE TRUE RELIGION in this piece or accept a melange of world religions in our fictitious world, and work by the credo that all beliefs are equally valid? The idea that their are different hells run by different faiths in quite intriguing. Kali the Destroyer (in the Hindu faith) would give Satan a run for his money…

    Also, which archangel should be the representative of heaven in our story? Gabriel is the archangel who gets about the most in the Bible as revealer of God's will but it's Michael who is the no nonsense warrior angel who first cast Satan down. Or should we go with Gabriel because it is instantly identifiable as an angel's name…?
    I am overthinking this?

  4. Heide says:

    I rather like the idea that other religions are in there, and are equally bogged down in hideous politics & corporate backstabbing. Maybe Satan gets booked on a course (communication skills?) and crosses paths with some of them.