Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Incompetence Pays
(or what happens when you stop caring)

Considering the number of people in our government who are consistantly promoted, regardless of their obvious incompetence, and not to mention the number of people we all know who always seem to get ahead by putting forth very little effort. I thought I'd share this little story with you. The names have been changed to protect the innocent.

Al was the kind of worker that every employer loves: his work was top notch, he always arrived early and left late, and he was highly regarded by his peers. No matter what was thrown at him, he completed ahead of schedule and under budget. He was too good.

Al had aspirations: he wanted his career to go places, he wanted to climb the ladder. From the time he was a lad, he was taught that hard work was the means to achieve his goals. This was re-inforced by his parents, teachers, and mentors. And he saw it happen to others.

But it wasn't working for Al. All his great work showed up in productivity statistics and his managers got the rewards: the raises, promotions, bonuses.

It suddenly became clear to Al, like the fog lifting from the road, he could see what was happening. He could see that all his hard work was for naught. His accolades were being usurped by superiors. They were skimming the recognition pot and he was left with the dregs.

He became despondant. Al lost his enthusiasm. He melded into mediocrity. He shirked his work - handed off to others and cared little as to the outcome. He passed the day by muddling through, resigned to his current position.

One day, his manager requested a meeting to review his performance. His heart sank. He knew that his waning enthusiasm had been noticed by management and he feared for his income, more than the position.

"Al, we've noticed some changes. We've seen that you have been handing your work to your juniors. We've seen that you have become more available. Well, Al, thanks to your efforts, your judicious delegation, focusing on raising the knowledge level of the entire department, our productivity levels are at record highs. We just wanted to recognize the inovative changes that you've made and encourage you to keep thinking 'outside the box'. Effective immediately, we are promoting you to Section VP with all priveleges there attached and we extend a sincere 'thank you' and a 'keep up the good work'".

Thanks to Barb for the link to Iggy's , where I found this delightful as well as insightful commentary on life. You may now return to your regular stations!


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