How DO These Folks Stay Employed?
Is there a co-worker in the cube next to you who repeatedly messes up, yet somehow is able to keep their job? Of course there is. A couple recent customer-service experiences reminded me that in the workplace, it’s often the lowest-common-denominator characters that flourish. Don’t get me wrong; I firmly believe that most customer-service reps do a great job under ridiculously stressful conditions. I only use the following examples to illustrate.
The first occurred when the “Large Benevolent Bank That Holds My Mortgage” sent two letters (dated 2 weeks prior) telling me that there had been a gap in my homeowner coverage. Out of the kindness of their hearts, they covered that (non-existent, by the way) gap and for that I owed them $210.00. Fortunately, my insurance agent was able to solve that one for me.
The second incident happened to a friend who was moving. She reserved a 14-foot YouHawl truck. A follow-up call led her to discover that they didn’t have her truck, but would she like a 27-foot one? Uh, maybe not…
Okay, enough shots at customer service and just for today, let’s give govt. employees a pass, too. Back to your co-worker. I bet you have several theories that explain this incompetent’s survival.
* They possess blackmail photos of the boss.
* They are someone’s brother-in-law who just got out of a drug rehab center and deserves a break.
* They always know when to take cover or find a good scapegoat.
* They are a perfect illustration of the “Peter Principle.”
For you young ‘uns, or those of you who don’t read biz books for fun, “The Peter Principle” by Laurence Peter was published in 1993. Peter proposed that due to the inefficiency of the hierarchies in most organizations, some things were inevitable. Often seemingly tongue in cheek and a surprisingly fun read, Peter’s most recognizable theory is, “In a hierarchy, every employee tends to rise to his level of incompetence.”
As infuriating as it is to not receive recognition/monetary gain for your excellent work, it’s compounded by the survival of the screw-ups. But do yourself a favor and don’t think too hard about it the injustice of it. Instead, amuse yourself by checking out the workplace ecards on this site (warning: some naughty content), www.someecards.com.
This is a post by Nancy LaFever. You can read more from her at the Centre for Emotional Wellbeing blog.