The morons amongst us

So admittedly the title of this post is a little bit strongly worded, but one of the things that has been somewhat aggravating during this job search has been the number of employed ummm, I’ll call them “underperformers” that I have interacted with during interviews. And I’ll admit that, without more extensive interaction with people, such quick judgment is a crude gut reaction to people and may not necessarily reflect what they are capable of doing or have accomplished in their jobs.

I had mentioned this to my friend over the weekend and he agreed: that one of his friends also currently looking for work has been surprised at the number of buffoony hiring managers she has met in the process. What comes from these experiences is the outrageous injustice of it all: How can somebody so incompetent be employed when I’m not? How was this guy/girl able to convince someone that he/she would be capable of doing work and I’m struggling so badly? How much better could this company be without the existence of this individual?

At one of my previous jobs, we had somebody at a super high level on my team who was outrageously incompetent in his job. For being a technology executive, he knew nothing about technology at all. (I believe his background was publishing, but I could be wrong.) I remember him giving a speech once and subbing in “iPod” for “iPhone” and jibberjabbering on about a tech ecosystem that he didn’t know beyond the words. I forget the context, but my manager admitted that when he interviewed this individual for the role, he had given feedback indicating that he didn’t think this individual would be a good addition to the team. Clearly interview notes are never escalated b/c he was ultimately hired. I could tell that my manager hated that this guy. Not only did he know nothing about technology, he also couldn’t admit/realize that he knew nothing about technology so he was constantly throwing somebody under the bus when it came to his failures. He ultimately left the company during a round of layoffs.

The same was true of the last company I worked at. I make a fair number of references to this job but I have to say: it was really the worst work environment I have ever been a part of. Though I was only there a short time, I could not believe the level of incompetence that permeated throughout the departments. Now only were people unwilling to make changes to the ruinous way in which the company is being run, I sense that many didn’t have the talents or mental capabilities beyond the day-to-day of their jobs. Yes, I think I’m being harsh, but by the time I left that company, I was really desperate to go (unemployment seemed like a pleasant alternative.) As an aside, the company had a round of layoffs earlier this year wherein I believe a number of upper management underperformers were asked to leave. They didn’t do a full flush though: quite a number still fester at the lower levels.

At a recent interview that I attended, one of the hiring managers mentioned that the role would oversee the efforts of the copywriter. She admitted, off the record, that the copywriter, a new addition to the team, was really struggling to adapt to the voice of the company. Which I found kind of ridiculous. A copywriter’s job, his/her sole job, is to write copy. If a person was able to get hired at a company while lacking the talent to do the one this he/she is supposed to do, there is something sorely wrong with the hiring process. Seriously.

So yeah, just generally annoyed that I’m not getting the chance to prove that I’m awesome. Maybe I’m only moderately awesome but at least I aim to do a good job and at least I am more than marginally competent. Which is more than I can say about some of the employed persons I have met in the past months.



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