Abandon All Fear

What nobody else seems to be saying…

[Management Theory] The Peter Principle

Posted by Lex Fear on May 7, 2006

I’m struggling with a philosophical question. Do you have to be a dickhead to be given promotions to management level, or do you evolve into a dickhead after promotion? I’m pondering this because I’ve been considering my position over the last few weeks. Looking at how the department is, and how The Clowns resignation was handled, I don’t see any signs of promotions or openings for me.

My current mix of education and skills seems to far overshadow my job and my pay. I took the job I’m in now because the IT Market was in recession when I left university, but now the IT sector seems to be growing again and I’m really feeling the urge to move.

As I have explained in previous posts, my company, Politico Ltd is filled with ego-maniac managers. One of the reasons for this is that they have either a) never worked at another company in their life, have been there for 30 years and therefore mystically have acquired ownership of Politico, or b) they have been in the industry all their life and therefore this long-serving ‘experience’ has mystically earned them the title of ‘Industry Expert’. In both cases this brings a false expectation that lower employees should bow down humbly as they walk by their desks (and some do, amazingly).

It’s pretty sad and delusional. For one thing, to only ever work in one company, even if they worked their way to the top, gives a narrow perspective and the false impression that people actually like and respect them. It’s like they are genuinely under the impression that the more they demand and pressure on employees, the more they are respected and liked. Thus poking your nose into an employees affairs or dictating how they run their private life shows that they care.

Secondly, experience is highly overrated. What is 30 years experience anyway? It just means you have experience of 1 year repeated 30 times. Who cares if you managed to start at the bottom and work your way to the top? It just shows you know how to climb the ladder. It doesn’t matter if it’s the right ladder or if you are the right person to be on that ladder in the first place.

Everyone knows who these jerk-offs are. They are typically the kind of managers who come round yelling ‘good morning’ to every single person they pass and expecting a meek ‘good morning’ back. Despite the fact they’ve don’t know your name, never bothered to stop and find out, and really don’t care whether you’re having a good morning or not. In my last job, there was an office manager like this who really pissed me off. Now I’m not even a morning person so that pretty much stacks the odds against any cheery ‘Smile-Because-I’m-Having-A-Good-Day’ types. I used to ignore him but one morning he had set his sights on bringing his morning cheer to my desk.

Standing behind me whilst I was trying to concentrate on my work, “Good Morning” he hollered.

Since he had never taken the time to introduce himself, and I knew he didn’t know my name, I ignored him like I didn’t hear. Once again, only louder a little more abrasive, and with a forced cheeriness “Good Morning!”.

I continued to ignore him. So then he re-positioned himself to the side of my desk leaned over and in a kind of half hysterical, half harassed, cheery sound: “Good Morning!”.

At this point I knew the moron was never going away, so I turned and held out my hand, “Oh I’m sorry… I’m Alex, nice to meet you…”

This completely threw him off balance, he made an awkward smile and then turned away to continue on his ‘Good Morning’ mission.

The thought he might actually have to talk to, and possibly form some sort of acquaintance with one of his staff must have completely rocked his boat.

There is one operations manager at Politico who visits IT every now and then. He does the whole ‘Good Morning’, ‘Good Afternoon’ crap, but his problem is beyond the ‘Good Morning’ routine he doesn’t know how to speak to human beings, in fact I would say his manner is not even worthy of pets. When he’s got an IT problem he simply storms directly over to IT Gimp (my team colleague) and begins yelling, in front of the whole office.

It’s not like “I have just discovered a problem with my system can you possibly help?” There’s no “Hi”, “Hello”, “how are you?” it’s just “MY SYSTEM IS NOT WORKING, FIX IT NOW!” and I’m not exaggerating.

Generally I just ignore these types, it’s not worth the hassle of being identified as a worthy subject of their glorified ego manifestation. My rule is that until I’m properly introduced, I don’t know who they are and I don’t care.


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