Thursday, March 27, 2008

Yeah, I'm Not Alone ... Wait That Really Sucks!

If you're a fan of the NBC show The Office, then you know the buffoonish boss Michael Scott (who amazingly provides a much more uneasy watching experience than that of Ricky Gervais' David Brent in the original BBC series).

I work for Michael. No, not actually the actor Steve Correll, but a very close Michael clone.

My boss, who'll I'll call Linda to not only protect my identity but also the vision of him in drag makes me chuckle, is the poster boy for the "Peter Principle." The phenomenon was coined by that late scholar Dr. Laurence Peter, in a 1968 book, and posits that in most organizations, employees tend to rise just above their abilities, then plateau at a grand level of incompetence.

My Linda is a perfect example. A man with little skill (or self awareness of his lack of skill) and lacking original thought and competence, lording over a talented group of widget makers, who at every turn seem to be more adeptly skilled to have his job and be able to advance the institution. Worst yet, he is an self-declared expert in the field despite having little experience in any of the functions that make up "widget making" and is alarmingly unable, and unwilling, to take quality, strategic, professional advice/knowledge/direction from any of his employees.

I thought my coworkers and I were alone. I clung to the hope that the grass would be greener at the next job. That there must be visionaries somewhere where I could study at their feet, and then I read the follow passage in a national magazine:

"Ninety percent of the population deals with a Michael Scott in their lives," says Aine Donovan, a professor of business ethics at Dartmouth's Tuck business school. Such undertalented middle managers aren't just ubiquitous, she argues—in many companies, they're indispensable: "Who else would put so much energy into selling paper, when everything is going paperless?"

Ugh, is it any wonder why the American economy is in the tank or our educational attainment and world respect is dropping faster than the U.S. dollar?

Do you work for a Linda?

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Ugh ... I Need Some Therapy!

I'm trying to find ways to survive in my current job and I hope this will give me some much, much need therapy.

As Jim Halpert says "This is just a job. If this were my career, I would have to throw myself in front of a train"