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Friday, January 15, 2010

I Wish I Were Stupid

Thomas Jefferson said, “Travelling makes a man wiser, but less happy.” To put that in modern terms, when we travel we see the disparity of third world countries and the excess of first world countries. And when we get back to home, we can’t help but to be upset at the ignorance of those around us as to how the rest of the world lives. We look at the faces of those people who have never traveled, and never seen the way others live, and they are perfectly happy with that lack of knowledge.

People who don’t vote, or involve themselves in politics, don’t seem to mind not knowing how the government is run or who is making those decisions. Yet those of us, who do follow, are always second guessing decisions that are made and unhappily bitching about the people running the show.

I have worked for a few large companies over my life, and very rarely does it seem that the smartest people are the successful ones. Usually it’s the ones who kiss ass, brown nose, and move ahead with a complete lack of knowledge of the products they work on. I recently had an upper manager say to me when working a project, “you wouldn’t believe I’ve actually been here 10 years,” while acknowledging her lack of comprehension on how to use the company created product we were working with. Just before Christmas my manager moved into a different position within the company. I’ve actually been on the team longer than my new manager. This new manage, who got the job because she was the only one to apply for it, knows that I know more about how to do the job than she does. I know that I can do the job better than she can. And most everyone I work with is probably aware of that as well. But of course, I’m only a contractor, and she’s a full time employee, so she’s in charge of the job we do, while I sit back twiddling my thumbs and being frustrated at the ignorance that surrounds me.

I have a co-worker, another contractor, who has been there nearly as long as I have. She’s kind of an idiot. She couldn’t organize her way out of paper bag, sounds like a retard when running a meeting, and yet she’s the one who gets all the work from the new manager. Why? Because she doesn’t question the new manager. She doesn’t ask why. She doesn’t suggest better and more efficient ways of doing things. She doesn’t do any of that because she’s not smart enough to think outside the box. The box companies say they want people to think outside of, but when people actually do that, they are frowned upon. To point out better ways of doing things, implies that the manager who actually thought of it in the first place is stupid. And in many cases, it’s true.

They say ignorance is bliss, and I agree with them. I would be much more happy and content with my job if I wasn’t smart enough to see all the ways it is being done wrong. I would be much happier if I could just walk in each day, do what I’m told, and blindly follow the so-called leadership of others. But instead, I raise my hand and ask why. And people who do not know the answer to why, don’t like being asked. Because those people were blissfully ignorant as employees, moved to blissfully ignorant management, now follow the haphazard direction of these above them. Middle and upper management who make decisions based on the information presented to them by the stupid.



4 comments:

Quorri Scharmyn said...

Oh my god yes. And people believe we live in a meritocracy, but we very obviously do not and workplaces are the most micro-level of examples.... Right now is the first time in my short life (which has, nonetheless, contained oh so many various jobs) that I have a boss who deserves to be my boss, does a better job than anyone else could, and absolutely always knows more than I do about everything that is going on. I can't describe how amazing that is to me, and how sad I am that I will probably never run into this situation again.....

Eccentri City said...

Actual email with some [noted] edits:

ME: Hi gang,

Regarding the go-no go for [the test] on Friday… I can’t speak for the [other platforms], and I would also need to consult with [another team member], but have we considered the possibility of using the [a better and available] environment in lieu of a relatively short-notice reschedule of the [test]? The only difference between [the stable and available envioroment] and [the one you are stuck on] is the level of integration with the other platforms. I have confirmed that [the features we are testing] do function in this environment. Since we are not doing integration testing, [the stable and available] environement should serve as a very adequate backup, especially since we will be ready for kickoff.

Thoughts?

So-Called Leader: Hi [Me],
It does not look like we can use any other environment besides [the unstable, unavailable one].

Best Regards,

Me: Why?

So-Called Leader: [Me],

This is the wrong day to hit me with “why” questions. I DON’T HAVE TIME OR PATIENCE TO EXPLAIN IT.
YOU’LL HAVE TO TAKE MY WORD FOR IT.

Best Regards,

For the reader: this was the same "team" Cranky used to work for...

CM said...

Haha, Yes I remember this.

So just to be clear to all readers, this is a legitimate e-mail sent within the largest software company in the world, and the hostile negative response was from a person in a managerial position.

Eccentri City said...

Oh, and we ended up using the stable and available environment anyway on the test day that was rescheduled 3 times...