Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Living the Peter Principle

I last read Dr. Laurence J. Peter’s “The Peter Principle” back in 2009 and made a vague reference in a blog post about the book to stretching/breaking myself in a new position. It took me a minute to remember what I was hinting at back then, but that was also the same year I began teaching at BYU-Idaho, so that’s got to be it. 

My conclusions, eight years on:
  1.  I certainly did hit my level of incompetence as a newspaper editor. Never again.
  2. I have not yet hit my level of incompetence as a technical writer, even after I was left as the sole writer at RWMC making me the de facto lead.
  3. HOWEVER – No. 2 being said, I was leading a department of one. Myself. Me, myself, and I. Had there been others, well . . . I’m pretty sure I would not be reporting things as rosy.
  4. I have reached my level of incompetence teaching at BYU-Idaho. I won’t be moving on to any higher position in Online Learning or anything else.
Final assessment: I’m OK with this.

I’m happy. I’m earning a good living. I am close, still to that level of creative incompetence I talk about in my Goodreads review of the book.

I feel a lot more optimistic about things now, now that we’re past the bloated many writers stage at RWMC, now that the successive rounds of layoffs are over. I feel like I’m doing good work – a clear sign I have not yet reached that level of incompetence.

So today I was asked who the “lead” writer is at RWMC, a pertinent question now that we have merged with AMWTP and their bevy of writers, plus one from INTEC, are moving into the same building I’m in. I had to answer “I don’t know.”

This tells me a few things:
  1. It’s not me. If It were me, I’m sure I *would* know.
  2. I don’t really care who it is.
I took on the mantle of acting lead writer simply because there was no one left to hand it to. If Danny – who succeeded Greg as lead of the technical writers at the Site just about a month ago – sees fit to give the title to someone else, I’m not going to protest. I’m happy doing what I’m doing right now.*

*Side note: A little black beetle either just fell out of the ceiling or just popped out of my keyboard. I’m not sure which. Not sure I want to know, either. It’s now crawling happily along the cord to my mouse.

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