Lion of the Blogosphere

One of my favorite Dilbert cartoons

dilbert1

This was from May 3, 1993 and was in the first Dilbert book I bought, Still Pumped from Using the Mouse. The original was in black and white. Somehow, they became colorized.

This cartoon is representative of a lot of jobs that I had.

How does Scott Adams expect to become even richer than he already is by selling more Dilbert books if all of the strips are available for free online?

* * *

Some people might say, “Lion, the reason you didn’t get ahead in corporate America is because you didn’t work hard enough. There’s always something you could have done to impress your bosses instead of staring at the walls of your cubicle.”

Actually, at least in the jobs I had, I don’t believe that’s the case. I was good at creating the perception of being a hard worker. Doing unnecessary work is more likely to hurt your career than help it. No one knows what to do with work product they didn’t ask for. Asking for more work is only going to leave you overburdened and stressed out, and then when someone gives you another assignment you won’t have time to get to it and you’ll be known as the guy who can’t complete assignments.

Promotions are based on the perception of being managerial. Being an extra busy beaver in your cubicle looks like the opposite of being managerial. Remember, this is the post Peter Principle world where corporations no longer promote the workers who are the best and most productive at their current jobs.

As I previously wrote:

Unfortunately, [The Peter Principle] being the bestseller that it was, the common-sense idea of promoting the people doing the best job was thrown out in favor of the belief that those making promotion decisions can somehow identify managerial qualities and promote people with those qualities instead of the most competent employees. People may rarely use the words “Peter Principle” (after all, the book was sort of supposed to be a joke), but the philosophy of the Peter Principle has invaded corporate America and has become the standard way of thinking. This has led to a severe downward spiral in the quality of corporate management. As less intelligent people who were identified as being more managerial were promoted, the average IQ of management decreased and they became even worse at deciding whom to promote.

* * *

hard9bf writes in a comment:

[P]romotions are given to people personally liked by current managers. No matter how smart, reliable, and skilled you are, if your superiors don’t grok your personality, no promotion for you! The clearest path to promotion (if you’re intent on pursuing such misery) is schmoozing management: talk to them like friends, get to know their personal lives, take an interest in them, and still do a good job otherwise. If you excel at the schmooze but otherwise suck, they’ll sniff you out as a bootlicker and you’ll go nowhere, but your job performance need only attain to mere competence, not excellence.

This, I believe, is a consequence of the success of the book The Peter Principle. Before that book (published in 1969), the belief in corporate America was indeed that the guy who was “smart, reliable and skilled” should get the promotion even if you don’t grok his personality. Occasionally someone was promoted who didn’t do as well in their new job as they were perceived as doing in their previous job, but I suspect that in the vast majority of cases promoting the “smart, reliable and skilled” worked out very well.

The Peter Principle freed managers from having to promote people they don’t personally like under the theory that they lack managerial skills, but there’s no objective way to measure managerial skills (or if there are, they are certainly not being used), so managers just promote the people they like as long as they aren’t total screw-ups at their current job.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

April 16, 2016 at 10:38 am

Posted in Books

64 Responses

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  1. How do you reconcile this with the observation that in the American military, the officers tend to be incompetent and that American troops effectiveness in combat is largely due to the presumably lower IQ’d NCOs?

    As an an NFL fan, I’ve seen tons of very successful coordinators become mediocre head coaches. I’ve also seen middling coordinators become excellent HCs, although that is much rarer, now that I think about it. Possibly it is because mediocre coordinators don’t get a lot of HC jobs.

    Otis the Sweaty

    April 16, 2016 at 11:05 am

    • The American Military has been corrupted by the same political correctness as all other branches of government. Along with it comes the incompetence that you describe. Being an officer within the administrative framework of today’s armed forces requires the same intestinal fortitude of being employed by the Department of Public Welfare. They are essentially career ass kissers instead of ass kickers. Pretty soon they’ll be allowed to wear a dress (or a turban) over top of the their dress blues to signify diversity.

      As Trump has pointed out, real men like Patton and McArthur wouldn’t be let near a battlefield today. Not when the wars are being run from Washington.

      B.T.D.T.

      April 16, 2016 at 2:17 pm

  2. I have a reputation, which I believe is mostly deserved, of being one of the most productive problem solvers at my current job, so not surprisingly, I am also one of the most under promoted employees there.

    One other reason management skills may be more valued in workplace advancement than actual useful skills is that helping manage employees eases the burden on management, who ultimately makes the decision about giving you more power/money. Accomplishing things, on the other hand, is neutral on their workload, and may actually increase it since they now have to scramble to find more productive tasks to be done.

    Jokah Macpherson

    April 16, 2016 at 11:16 am

  3. “Promotions are based on the perception of being managerial.”

    Yes, and promotions are given to people personally liked by current managers. No matter how smart, reliable, and skilled you are, if your superiors don’t grok your personality, no promotion for you! The clearest path to promotion (if you’re intent on pursuing such misery) is schmoozing management: talk to them like friends, get to know their personal lives, take an interest in them, and still do a good job otherwise. If you excel at the schmooze but otherwise suck, they’ll sniff you out as a bootlicker and you’ll go nowhere, but your job performance need only attain to mere competence, not excellence.

    I can’t believe you’re still butthurt that you weren’t promoted…..

    hard9bf

    April 16, 2016 at 11:36 am

    • The crazy thing is these jobs are always posted like everybody has a chance to get it, but usually they have someone in mind for the job.

      The do all these interviews just to make sure they give the perception of not discriminating and are giving everyone an opportunity to get it.

      ttgy

      April 16, 2016 at 2:40 pm

      • Yes, this is something that fascinated me when I worked in the corporate world. My employer was required to advertise all jobs, but if this was for a prestigious posting, the ad invariably stated “a strong candidate has already been identified.” Ie, the company was posting advertisements that were essentially encouraged interested candidates not to apply!

        Some poor soul actually complained to management about this, and they responded with a muddled explanation of why their policy was sound and forward-looking.

        I was lucky, and I got out. Now I “work” for an international organization, where we do very little and are paid very well. The game is different here, so the positions are filled, and then advertised, without any of the subtle warnings. In a way, this is more insidious, since we advertise positions among the general public. So, in many cases, thousands of candidates apply for positions that are already filled. Think of it! I feel bad for all those people, and their dreams, especially because I used to be one of them. I guess that’s the way the world works.

        The company I used to work for is losing market share, and many of the old guard have been laid off in the past five years. They are usually in their mid-forties or older. Some of them can’t get jobs, others seem not to be able to hold down anything for more than a year. There are few success stories. I don’t understand this, but perhaps the very skills that carried them to the top, the toadyism, the networking, the back-stabbing, can be only applied effectively by a certain person in a certain time and place.

        Perhaps these former managers are simply so used to backstabbing and overall creepiness that this becomes their default behaviour pattern, at the expense of doing any actual work. The new employer recognises this quickly, and moves the new hire aside.

        The Shepherd

        April 18, 2016 at 5:49 am

    • Yes, good & true observations.

      E. Rekshun

      April 16, 2016 at 3:30 pm

    • I suspect there’s a lot of misplaced self-back patting going on here, but I’ll join the fray. I actually have gotten some “payback” in the form of merit increases, but in this day and age, that doesn’t amount to much. Still, I believe I’m recognized by a select group of people at work. However, the majority disavow me, alienate me, ignore me. I tend to come across as anal, indifferent, unfriendly, officious.

      Some people out there actually value meticulous, analytic habits; pretty much, that’s all I’m good for. Schmoozing, politics, BS? Forget it.

      But I watch those same artificial workplace dopes get ahead and get away with all sorts of stupidity and laziness every day.

      Does it bother me? Hell yeah.
      Can I alter human nature? Hell no.

      Socially Extinct

      April 16, 2016 at 4:03 pm

      • You might have an EEOC case, since you are a White Hispanic and all. I say go for it. That could be your early retirement!

        E. Rekshun

        April 16, 2016 at 5:27 pm

    • It is worth noting that no one likes someone who is smarter than they are.

      ScarletNumber

      April 18, 2016 at 10:12 pm

      • Not true, I love working with people smarter than me. It happened in IT more often then in HVAC. You improve when working with smarter people. What’s there not to like? It personality that’s a problem, not IQ.

        Yakov

        April 19, 2016 at 1:02 am

  4. Looking at both my current jobs, and at the past jobs I’ve had, I really don’t see any general theme at all in terms of who gets promoted and who doesn’t.

    Peter

    ironrailsironweights

    April 16, 2016 at 11:41 am

  5. Haha, cubicles! A vestige of a more luxurious time! These days it’s open plan offices with no partitions. Good luck getting “sensory deprivation” with people chatting, making phone calls, printing documents, and generally being the polar opposite of quiet for the entire day.

    Kyo

    April 16, 2016 at 12:26 pm

    • Ha ha 🙂 Luckily I never worked in an open office.

      Lion of the Blogosphere

      April 16, 2016 at 12:29 pm

      • What’s even worse than an open plan office is an office where you have to pay rent for your desk space.

        Peter

        ironrailsironweights

        April 16, 2016 at 2:43 pm

    • These days it’s open plan offices with no partitions.

      Except for the managers – they still get offices.

      E. Rekshun

      April 16, 2016 at 3:29 pm

      • At Yahoo there are no offices. Managers sit cafeteria style like everyone else. I’ve yet to see an office anywhere, though they must exist for the highest of the higher ups.

        Dain

        April 16, 2016 at 10:10 pm

      • Damn! I didn’t know that! I’m so happy I got out 12 years ago. There is no way that I can possibly concentrate and produce in an open space. I need my walls.

        Yakov

        April 17, 2016 at 2:48 am

    • Is it forbidden to wear earphones or earplugs?

      Tarl

      April 17, 2016 at 11:22 am

      • It is where I work. And for years I spent all day doing translation, which, like programming, requires a high degree of concentration and also requires you to sometimes be in deep thought with the urge to block out all other stimulation. My co-workers didn’t think much of my tendency to “just stare into space” for many seconds at a time, but believe me, that’s when I was doing my best work.

        Kyo

        April 18, 2016 at 3:21 pm

      • @Kyo

        This is very true. I would recommend you for immediate hire. When I needed to write a new system or do a serious modification, this is exactly what I would do. The more time spend on design, the faster the coding and implementation. You really have to wrap your head around it for it to come out beautiful. In the places that Id worked it wad understood that I needed time to hibernate and chew on it.

        Yakov

        April 18, 2016 at 4:00 pm

  6. I’ve only known one person who ever expressly referred to The Peter Principle, a fellow law student in the ’80s who seemed to use it as her organizing principle, like how some people used Freud. She was kind of weird, being way oversexed (i.e. sleeping with a professor and a judge), and thinking she was going to be killed for being Jewish, though that wasn’t apparent from either her looks or her name. She was also the first person I ever knew who was robbed at gunpoint by an underprivileged Dindu, right in front of SF City Hall.

    Morty

    April 16, 2016 at 1:19 pm

  7. Whether or not your boss or anyone else likes you is determined by your Clique, which itself is a byproduct of genotype/phenotype. OP is, by all accounts, in Clique parlance, a Nerd. The only Nerds who are really cut out for management are Jocks as well. These hybrids are called Jockgineers. James Goodnight is an Engineer-CEO who is 6’7 and probably played basketball in college. The Koch brothers played basketball at MIT. Clique is highly salient, and weighs heavily when one is being assessed by his betters.

    See below for reference:

    causanortis

    April 16, 2016 at 2:20 pm

    • Nixon was not a loser. He was a jock in high school and college (football and basketball). Founded what amounted to his own fraternity in college, which a loser could never do.

      He also had nerd tendencies: on the debate team in high school and college, and a very successful student in high school, college, and law school.

      Tarl

      April 17, 2016 at 11:29 am

  8. First post here.

    The subject is near and dear to my heart. I work in a big resource extraction company. And the entire managerial ladder has become a case study of anti-meritocracy. Basically, early on the employees are graded by how they are perceived in terms of future potential by their first manager. This ranking is written into the HR system, and is supposed to be reassessed every 2 years. However, from that point on things in motion tend to stay in motion, a.k.a. the reassessment is unlikely to adjust this ranking. So the ranking is likely kept through countless managers that follow the 1st one, all the while this designated high-flying individual is getting new assignments every 2 years, and is promoted quickly. The original assessing manager might have been hated by most, and long left the place, but it does not matter, the system keeps the record of “high potential”.

    The worker bees have to endure the enthusiastic ignoramus forced upon them by the system every so often. Any screw ups in this new position while the learning is taking place are explained away by the need for the individual to broaden. It’s as if these individuals are so valuable, that limitless ignorance / incompetence should be tolerated in order to develop them. And given the rate of position jumping, they are ensured to never become good at anything technical. The system is designed to create politicians who crowd out any real competence, and the quality of decisions suffers a lot because of this. So Peter principle would be a huge improvement upon this state of things.

    In the meantime the peons are always told that you are not special like those other individuals, so you must get in line and wait for your promotion, and pay your dues (regardless if you are performing at the level a grade or two above your HR level). The internal openings have specific job grades, so if you are not at the grade or 1 below, you cannot apply. Then HR will also make sure that the time in grade is enforced, so good luck trying to move a grade in less than 2+ years (it’ll get denied by the head office).

    A special category is “minorities”, a.k.a white women. Those are so valuable that they must be broadened or promoted quickly at all costs, because having these women around will bring good luck to the entire place (they can continue to screw up and underperform, but as a talisman, they are still priceless).

    Waveglider

    April 16, 2016 at 2:30 pm

  9. Lion, i think your view of how people are promoted is accurate for some companies with monopoly power. But I have personal expeeimce with well run companies like Apple, Amazon, Google and
    I can tell you that the best people are promoted and worst people fired. No resemblance at all to Dilbert

    Googie

    April 16, 2016 at 2:45 pm

    • Most companies in the US are now highly political entities, in the sense that they derive their revenue and market position from a set of personal relationships and also government regulations. In this context of course the most politically effective people rise to the top, never mind work product. The companies exist because of political effectiveness, not the quality of the work.

      bobbybobbob

      April 16, 2016 at 5:57 pm

    • Google eh? Are there lots of SJWs on the inside?

      Glengarry

      April 19, 2016 at 10:20 am

  10. You evidently didn’t appreciate the joke of the cartoon. People will buy the book because holding a book in your hand is a delightful sensory experience. Not unlike writing with a fountain pen.

    gothamette

    April 16, 2016 at 3:08 pm

    • New York City recently hosted a book fair of old books:

      Booksellers selling rag paper from a few centuries earlier. My favorite were the Spaniards presenting their copies of Don Quixote and Arabic manuscripts. My least favorite were the countless number of proles displaying their first editions of 20th Century Americana.

      JS

      April 16, 2016 at 7:06 pm

  11. Lion, you weren’t promoted because your bosses correctly saw you weren’t a team player.

    OT, what do people here think will happen with the new movie Birth of a Nation? Will it cause attacks on whites by angry blacks? That really didn’t happen with Twelve Years a Slave because TYaS was an artsy film that not a lot of blacks actually saw. I think that BoaN is directed towards a mass audience, and it doesn’t have the jokey quality that Django had.

    gothamette

    April 16, 2016 at 3:12 pm

    • You’re judging my work personality based on my blog personality.

      Lion of the Blogosphere

      April 16, 2016 at 4:44 pm

      • It’s your real personality, Lion. Your an individualist, not a team player. Come on out of that team player closet & roar, Lion-boy!

        gothamette

        April 16, 2016 at 6:27 pm

  12. In my mid to late ’40s, I decided I did not want to leave my current employer and did not want any of the managerial positions that were open to me at my current employer. The prospective management positions open to me were too much aggravation for too little extra pay, but, of course, they were necessary stepping stones to sr. executive spots. In fact, on one occasion, my boss – a Sr. VP – probed my interest in one particular higher level management position. I foolishly replied, “I don’t want to manage that staff,” – a staff of too many basket-case females and surly, non-productive NAMs. After that, I sensed I was off the management track; which, by that point, was fine by me.

    A couple of years later, under a new Sr. VP, I was asked what my career aspirations were. Again, I foolishly answered, “to keep doing a good job at what I’m doing and retire in five years.” I watched her make a written note of that in her daily journal. Well, that was three years ago; I wonder if she plans on replacing me in two years whether I’m ready to retire or not.

    Nonetheless, my mostly absentee boss treats me well and respects and compliments my work and I enjoy the respect of my coworkers, all w/o having to work very hard (just slightly harder than my coworkers). On the other hand, my decision to forego management, low risk tolerance, a couple of lay offs and blown opportunities, the Great Recession, crushing competition, and (perhaps) subtle anti-White male discrimination, has stymied my salary growth. My annual salary today is the same as it was in 1999 (four employers ago)!

    Promotions are based on the perception of being managerial.
    Fake it ’til you make it!

    E. Rekshun

    April 16, 2016 at 3:51 pm

  13. Work, selling your time, wage slavery, employment. . .a GREAT evil in the world. It IS slavery and a radical alienation of an individual’s will.

    It drives me nuts hearing politicians (who never had real shit 9 to 5 jobs) talking about how we endlessly need “more jobs.”

    In a proper, non-vibrant, SANE society, the goal would be to REDUCE jobs and the amount of work. Free people to unharrassed and uncoerced by shitheads.

    It drives me nuts how the vast majority of shiftless welfare recipients are criminal vibrancy who have endless kids. A proper society would put on money law-abiding people who have worked and won’t cause any trouble. But those are the sheep and they get no favors from anyone.

    fakeemail

    April 16, 2016 at 4:53 pm

    • There is something unnatural about working in a job. I can’t wait to retire and finally be free.

      ttgy

      April 17, 2016 at 1:14 pm

  14. And Lion, you are right. The best and the brightest are NOT promoted to management. Only the “cool kid” dopes are.

    fakeemail

    April 16, 2016 at 4:59 pm

  15. Just like to add as a younger worker that the workplace political landscape changes dramatically with 21st century blank slate diversity drives.

    And so, in finance or consulting not uncommon to see black guys these days in jobs requiring 10-15% higher cognitive abilities than the bell curve would predict these guys have with the requisite demand on managerial roles put aside at higher levels. Had to laugh at Thiam at credit suisse for instance coming from fuc**ing insurance to head a Swiss bank and promptly drive it into the ground. Or mayer at yahoo. Or fiorina a at hp etc.

    But now that it’s happened the harpies will demand more and more diversity manager hires. Just like the blacks want more Oscars after you give them some symbolic ones.

    Strangely I rarely see black women around. I would have thought they kill two birds with 1 stone in the diversityland. I guess it’s because the chemically unbalanced harpie girls that drive all this social engineering don’t find them as sexually promising.

    In any case I would say if you think mere attribute injustice is bad, try fighting diversity drives.

    But I don’t really care as being an upper beta is not my cup of tea in terms of my needs. Yosarian still lives!!

    THe Philosopher

    April 16, 2016 at 5:30 pm

    • Had to laugh at Thiam at credit suisse for instance coming from fuc**ing insurance to head a Swiss bank and promptly drive it into the ground. Or mayer at yahoo. Or fiorina a at hp etc.

      The credentials and abilities of Mayer and Fiorina were more or less as good as any man Yahoo and HP were likely to hire.

      As for the current head of Credit Suisse, he’s worse than an affirmative action hire because, due to his ego having been puffed up for nothing more than being a presentable black man, he seems to be trying to run the company instead of letting the white people around him ‘do his homework’ like other black CEOs would do.

      The Undiscovered Jew

      April 17, 2016 at 2:36 pm

  16. The whole reason executives are able to maintain their high pay as a class is their success in stifling meritocracy. In a meritocratic system it would quickly become obvious how unexceptional the managerial skills of most executives are and therefore how undeserved their absurdly high pay is.

    chairman

    April 16, 2016 at 5:34 pm

  17. Yakov would advise: screw corporate America; go learn HVAC at night school and work for oneself!

    E. Rekshun

    April 16, 2016 at 5:34 pm

    • Yakov would say nothing of the kind. I’ve had 20 year carrier in corporate America and was treated very well. Producers produce and complainers complain.

      Lion is simply not management material. He cannot do and this is why he was never promoted. I’m not management material either and my style of beating up the sluggish bums is not suitable for corporate environment. I lasted for a couple of weeks and was happy to go back to coding. You have to find your niche, Lion and the rest of you mates. Everyone wants to manage and have a blond and blue eyed girlfriend. Take a look in the mirror first, will you?

      My level was a Prima Donna. Because of my relatively limited IQ and intelligence I enjoyed programming, loved programmers’ high, loved power and control that came with being indispensable and in charge of critical applications. I didn’t ‘create an impression of being a hard worker’, I was one. When you came to work at 9am, you would see me coding and when you would leave by 5pm, I would be cranking out code. My boss would tell me that I’m the most productive programmer in the group: most programs written, most modified. I knew it on my own by just running a scan of the source libraries to see who’s doing what.

      So here it is mates – you have to find your thing in life and do it well, whatever that thing is. Don’t be a phony.

      Dilbert is pretty stupid. Many cartoons are smart by themselves, but taken together it’s stupid stuff that only losers would find amusing. The whole world dreams of working on Wall Street, so what kind of stupid loser you have to be to complain about such a job? Lion, if I was your boss I would fire you, then hire you back, just to fire you again.

      Yakov

      April 17, 2016 at 2:22 am

      • The *only* way to know if Lion (or any competent employee) was management material would be to have seen him work as manager. Everything else is speculation.

        The reason you assume he isn’t the right stuff is because we live in the frame of dishonest extroverts dopes. I bet that once an introvert has his footing, he could do as well if not better.

        fakeemail

        April 17, 2016 at 5:36 pm

      • Bill Gates did pretty well running Microsoft, but probably no one ever would have let him run a company otherwise.

        Lion of the Blogosphere

        April 17, 2016 at 5:42 pm

      • Bill Gates wouldn’t be ‘creating the perception of being a hard worker without actually producing’ while reading Dilbert. He would go places.

        Yakov

        April 18, 2016 at 1:44 am

      • “Bill Gates wouldn’t be ‘creating the perception of being a hard worker without actually producing’ while reading Dilbert. He would go places.”

        Right, he’d go out to lunch.

        Really, without his own company and rich parents, he just would have been a cubicle drone.

        Lion of the Blogosphere

        April 18, 2016 at 8:57 am

      • I thought he’d developed Basic, was I wrong?

        Yakov

        April 18, 2016 at 9:05 am

      • In fact, I remember reading a book ‘Programmers at work’, which had samples of his code. I don’t remember what I’d thought of it than, but people think he was very good, and the proof is in the proverbial pudding.

        https://www.quora.com/How-good-were-Bill-Gates-and-the-late-Steve-Jobs-at-programming-1

        Yakov

        April 18, 2016 at 10:49 am

  18. Lion is definitely one of the better bloggers out there. There’s gotta be a way he can capitalize on his writing ability.

    Dave

    April 16, 2016 at 10:25 pm

  19. ‘Some people might say, “Lion, the reason you didn’t get ahead in corporate America is because you didn’t work hard enough. There’s always something you could have done to impress your bosses instead of staring at the walls of your cubicle.”
    Actually, at least in the jobs I had, I don’t believe that’s the case. I was good at creating the perception of being a hard worker. Doing unnecessary work is more likely to hurt your career than help it. No one knows what to do with work product they didn’t ask for. Asking for more work is only going to leave you overburdened and stressed out, and then when someone gives you another assignment you won’t have time to get to it and you’ll be known as the guy who can’t complete assignments.’

    So you were creating the perception of being a hard worker without actually producing? Is this it? Help me get it right.

    Yakov

    April 16, 2016 at 11:17 pm

    • So you were creating the perception of being a hard worker without actually producing?

      How can a long time Dilbert reader, especially one as savy as Lion, not follow that strategy?

      The Undiscovered Jew

      April 17, 2016 at 2:39 pm

  20. Society has never been meritocratic, anywhere in history. It’s just an illusion to serve elite interests 😉

    TheIranianOne

    April 17, 2016 at 2:01 am

  21. We’re adding a little something to this month’s sales contest. As you all know, first prize is a Cadillac Eldorado. Anybody want to see second prize? Second prize is a set of steak knives. Third prize is you’re fired.

    E. Rekshun

    April 17, 2016 at 5:30 am

  22. Good post, but i would like to add my two cents.

    The basic issue is this: the only real measure of productivity is how much revenue you are bringing in that is several multiples above the salary you are being paid. That’s it. So, generating billable hours, making sales, generating profits on trades, doing deals, are really the only measures of being productive.

    Unfortunately, most people do not work on the revenue side of business. They work in what are, essentially, cost centers, no matter how necessary the cost center may be.

    The revenue side of a business is, in general, easy to measure because the metrics are obvious and easy to compare. For cost centers, management is much more difficult. The metrics are often specific to the job and hard to quantify.

    In a cost-center style department, the best, most productive employee is usually the one that makes management’s job easier by reducing the level of management needed. It’s about getting through the day with a minimum of hassles.

    If you find yourself in a cost center, then your job is to reduce the level of overhead faced by your manager. Simply being productive, by doing more of your task or offering to do more of the tasks, or looking for work is not going to be welcomed because the level of management’s work goes up. Time and effort has to be expended figuring out whether the projects, suggestions, and workflow adjustments would actually work. Many times, they do not, because unforeseen circumstances derail the effort. Now, you end up with nothing for your effort.

    Managers in cost-centers have two primary goals: look good in front of their managers and reduce the amount of managing they have to do in their lives. And get promoted. Managers will promote employees that help them do that.

    There is further thing to understand: managers are really the ones who maintain the corporate culture and essentially the existence of the corporate entity into the future. They are very interested in promoting these people because the promotions is how they reproduce the firm.

    Finally, managers are supposed to be resource allocators. they are not supposed to be competing with their employees to prove who is the best

    map

    April 17, 2016 at 2:05 pm

    • “The basic issue is this: the only real measure of productivity is how much revenue you are bringing in that is several multiples above the salary you are being paid. ”

      That’s a measure of profitability, not productivity.

      Lion of the Blogosphere

      April 17, 2016 at 4:44 pm

      • All productivity is essentially profitability. It’s the distinction between effort and value.

        Mind you, I did not always believe this. I used to subscribe that being productives, hard-working and doing stuff at work is what matters beyond everything else. The real world taught me otherwise.

        It’s one of those things that causes people to get screwed.

        map

        April 17, 2016 at 5:05 pm

    • Very interesting. I have a job now that provides me with very exact productivity stats and I am at 3x cost. I hope to do better next year.

      In my last job I foolishly prided myself on being low-maintenance – getting a lot done, self starter, and not making a lot of fuss or demands. But it seemed like the ones who were always in the CEO’s office making noise were the ones who got ahead, though they seemed like losers to me.

      Mrs Stitch

      April 17, 2016 at 6:15 pm

  23. I was good at creating the perception of being a hard worker. Doing unnecessary work is more likely to hurt your career than help it.

    I need to figure out how to do this as I search for a new position with higher pay so I can free up time for blogging. I’m completing my assignments only to be saddled with more work and I’m sick of ‘grind years’, although it has certainly boosted my resume.

    The Undiscovered Jew

    April 17, 2016 at 2:47 pm

  24. Are my odds of getting a cushier, do-nothing position generally better with a very strong resume or would I be considered ‘overqualified’?

    The Undiscovered Jew

    April 17, 2016 at 3:06 pm

  25. Daniel

    April 17, 2016 at 10:45 pm

  26. Books are more convenient than a website.

    ScarletNumber

    April 18, 2016 at 12:05 am

  27. I think that all the losers that complain about corporate America should be replaces by fresh immigrant blood, except for Lion. He should be replaced by a robot.

    Yakov

    April 18, 2016 at 11:34 am

    • This is verbatim from Jeb Bush’s website, right?

      Greg Pandatshang

      April 18, 2016 at 12:13 pm

      • Jeb is a loser, I’ve never visited his website. I don’t know what he has to do with anything.

        I had a good carrier in corporate America while loser’s all around were whining and complaining. I think it’s a solid management strategy to get rid of the rotten apples. If the rotten apples come from a specific demographic, replace the demographic. This as simple as HBD. Russian programers make fun of corporate America, but they don’t complain – they rake it in, which is what you are supposed to be doing.

        Now really, I’d never felt like this idiot in the cartoon. Why would any producer? Maybe this is because of my low IQ and intelligence, but if more intelligent people bitch and pretend instead of working, we should fire them. Let them work on their level, here they just can’t make it.

        Obviously if your boss doesn’t like you, you go nowhere. I don’t know why this is even being discussed. If you get on my nerves, I’ll can you. It’s very easy to have a good boss – all a boss wants is for you to take away his headaches and make him look good. I can do this. It’s much harder to have a good employee, as the discussions on this board amply illustrate. This is why what you need is people who are seeking an opportunity, not a job. This is what my IT boss had told me as an entry level programmer: ‘I’m not giving you a job, I’m giving you an opportunity!’. This was very true. After a month on the job he gave me a margin requirements system to take over, that almost crushed me. I had to max out on my programming and intellectual abilities, but I made it and managed it for 7 years among many other systems. I’m grateful to corporate America, it has been good to me. I would give Lion a good system to write or maintain, but if he would act out, I would have security see him out. This I think is fair.

        Yakov

        April 18, 2016 at 2:30 pm


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