Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Bosses, Bullies, Politicians and other Jerks

The Onion is a magazine dedicated to satire.

Satire, like all humor, is the unexpected positioning of the contradictory.  Things are not funny because they are wrong.  Things are funny because each, individual element is true but the construct is unexpectedly false....or true.

Nothing is better than God.  Warm beer is better than nothing.  Therefore: Warm beer is better than God.  (Hint:  the word "nothing" is used in two different ways.  In the first element "Nothing" is used in the sense of "there is no thing".  In the second element "nothing" is used as shorthand for "no beer".)

Why do we allow idiots and jerks to rule us?

Link to story.

My answer is that nobody else wants the job. 

The company I once worked for commissioned a study to identify key motivators within people.  The theory in vogue in Human Resources was that people would be productive when placed in jobs that matched both their technical expertise and their motivational patterns.  The theory fell by the wayside when the company found itself with a surplus of Facebook surfers and Sudoku divas.

According to the study, only one person in forty (2.5%) of the population has "achieving results through other people" as a prime motivator.  That number drops even more when you comb out the incompetent sociopaths.

Here are a few excerpts from The Onion story that give their reason(s).

"...everyone across the planet acknowledged that the tradition of allowing an exploitative asshole to take charge of a given situation has been the principal system for group decision-making from the earliest formation of tribal societies to the present day, an admission that caused each member of the human race to either emit an exasperated sigh, shake his or her head, or mutter a profanity."
"...have inexplicably been granted commanding roles by the acquiescent masses."
"When pressed for further comment, however, every member of humanity agreed that the current system, though deeply flawed, remains far better than one in which they actually have to make decisions for themselves."

pronounced: akwēˈesənt/
Ready to accept someanything without protest, or to do what someanyone else wants.

There you have it.  The jerks are in charge because there are not enough good guys who are willing to become leaders even when it is clearly a matter of self defense.  The jerks are in charge because most people do not want the risk or effort of thinking for themselves.  Additionally, the jerks are in charge because most people fall into the sloppy habit of binary thinking:  I either roll over like a female collie or I fight (and get fired). 

The craft of guiding one's boss through carefully planned nudges is a dying art.  I think some of that is because employees have become guns-for-hire.  Here today.  Gone tomorrow.  There is not enough time to study the boss and noodle out his/her decision making process. 

It is good to be watching from the sidelines.


  1. Re bosses- Sometimes there isn't a clue bat big enough... sigh

  2. I asked Belladonna to strongly consider taking at least one ROTC class as an elective. Looking through the course books offered by a couple of universities, ROTC classes are the only ones that teach, that train, on the nuts-and-bolts of leadership. The classes in other departments are fuzzy psycho-babble of ideologically motivated, hallucinogenic smoke.

    I firmly believe that many of the people who SHOULD be leaders stay out of the game because they know they don't have the basic skills in blocking and tackling.

    Belladonna was less than impressed with the idea. Maybe it will be one of those things where it looks smarter as she gets older.

    Thanks for reading and thanks for commenting.