Thursday, July 31, 2008

Feeling Even Stupider

I thought that yesterday I achieved the pinnacle of stupidity. Then came today. I don’t plan on talking about it here. Suffice it to say, I’ve lived two Dilbert cartoons today:


PHB: Alice, see me at the end of business today.

ALICE: (To herself) Ohmygosh ohmygosh, what corpse floated up from the ocean floor? I can’t wait seven hours! Gah!

(Seven hours later)

PHB: Can you come back tomorrow?


DILBERT: I significantly increased my visibility at work today, Dogbert. Yesterday, I was invisible to my management. But today I am known by all.

DOGBERT: You screwed up, huh?

DILBERT: Ooh yeah. Big time.

I can’t say what I did was a major sin, but it still makes me feel stupid when I make a mistake. I guess this is when it pays to have those puppy dog eyes and overall demeanor, since no one’s come a-yellin’ over what’s happened. Maybe it’s not a yellable offense. So I curse the darkness and my own stupidity, yet take comfort in the fact that my puppy-dog demeanor may have saved me from a bawling out. That kind of demeanor won’t get me promotions, but I suppose it’ll keep me employed.

Today, I embody the Peter Principle, in that I have reached the level of my own incompetence. I am, however, one of those of whom Laurence Peter describes as having recognized the fact, having learned to live with it and accept it and, in some perverse ways, take it to my advantage. I knew working at the last paper I worked for that, the longer I stayed there, the more incompetent I got. I think Peter talks about that in a sliding scale of the Peter Principle, in that over time, people who were once competent in a job slip into incompetence.

I joke here that I’ve seen the boss’ job and I don’t want it. Truth be told, I’d existentially pass my level of incompetence and emerge on the other side if I were ever offered the boss’ job. So I’m content to stay where I am, doing my incompetent best, and hoping that a combination of skill and puppy-dog eyes will keep me employed. I think it’s a credit, however, that I can at least recognize my position and seek out ways of making improvements, or at least make compensatory measures to ensure that my overall incompetence doesn’t force others to a breaking point.

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