The Worst Employee Ever

Boss, Humor
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I’ve worked with some people that whole HR books could be written about (heck, half of ours was written just based on actions of one person) but there is nothing worse than….:

The worst employee ever: Stupid employee not aware of how stupid they are.

This is not a typical Vladville post used to burn something idiotic. Instead, it’s hopefully a little bit of parenting and career advice all rolled up into one.

Now I don’t know how or what empowers and instills some folks away from a lifetime career in front desk or fast food, but every now and then someone gets a lot of misconstrued encouragement and the university testing system of multiple choice questions and overcrowding gives the wrong people advantage of grading on the curve. It happens.

And there is nothing wrong with being stupid. For some roles it’s a requirement. If there were no stupid people, sales and marketing would suck – marketing folks would figure out they are liars and sales people would turn themselves in for theft. Thankfully, the intelligence bar is lower in some places and higher in others – so folks handling engineering and development can come up with ways to deliver on the near criminal lies you promised the client. Organizational dynamics.

So there is nothing wrong with being an idiot. As long as people like you. But what if you don’t even know that you’re an idiot? Here is a simple quiz that can help you figure it out:

  1. Someone sent you this blog post.
  2. You think you’re the smartest person in your company.
  3. You can solve all the problems you see.
  4. You are the only one that can seem to notice all the problems.
  5. You’re a natural born leader that speaks when everyone else is quiet.
  6. You have a “I’m a smart person” award or were in a club.
  7. You seem to be treated exceptionally poorly by your coworkers who are jealous of your intellect.
  8. You seem to be constantly reprimanded by your managers and bosses who are afraid of your potential to take their jobs.

If you answered Yes! to any of these questions.. I have some bad news. Here is what should be in your orientation book at the next job (don’t worry, you’ll be there really soon):


You seem to know everything – so try figuring out why you work for me and I don’t work for you.

The best piece of advice I can offer you: If you just got here and think you know a better way of doing everything – do yourself a favor and spend some trying to figure out why things run the way they do. You just might be a genius with the ability to understand all business processes, personalities, culture and customer expectations – but you’re statistically more likely to be an overreaching idiot with an extremely high assessment of self worth. So instead of alienating everyone from the getgo, take your time and actually build a successful track record to stand on.”

We’ve had a lot of people that fit this model work for us and they are infuriating. Thankfully, they show their colors almost immediately: Before they even know what their job is they can tell you everything that they can do better. For someone that has never owned or run a business they sure as hell know a lot about yours. And then you had them a simple task and watch them hit the wall like a windup toy. There is a reason you don’t take marriage advice from friends that are perpetually single, career advice from the unemployed or real estate advice from the homeless.

To an extent, we’re all idiots about something… But most of us have the capability to stop ourselves: If you can’t possibly think of any way how your plan/idea can go wrong you either have little skill or little experience.

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