Posts Tagged Carol Tavris

Is the U.S. too stupid to know we’re stupid? Maybe, but there’s a far simpler explanation

Some years ago, I had a coworker who was painfully stupid.  She couldn’t handle the most fundamental tasks of the job and was constantly creating chaos in her wake (I’ve joked for years her filing her system was based on the weather and color her socks – if it was raining everything got filed under “w” for wet or “r” for rain or “y” since she was wearing yellow socks that day, possibly though it might be under “g” for grey).  Yet, when asked, she asserted that she was extremely highly skilled that her work was excellent.  In her mind,  criticism of her work was motivated by personal jealousy and dislike – her boss didn’t like her and that’s why her boss criticized her.  After she was fired, she was devastated, convinced that she’d been done in by a cabal of persons who disliked her intensely and had conspired to undermine her reputation and work.  I would guess she’s out there somewhere now, causing her coworkers no end of grief with her combination of genuine niceness and likeableness and utter crazy making inability to perform simple tasks.

While sorting through my office a while back I found a document a previous coworker had prepared to ‘balance’ the monthly group life insurance bill.  It was obvious she’d spend hours on it; yet simply glancing at it, I could see that her work had been wasted.  She had simply used the pieces of information.  She balanced the bill against the applications for insurance not the actual payroll deductions.  As a result, she contacted the insurance company and made a host of changes to the bill so they matched the applications.  The actual premiums deducted from the paychecks were radically different than those shown on the applications.  When confronted as to why the amount deducted from paychecks was different than the amount paid to the insurance company she had no answer.  She defended herself asserting that the bill “balanced.”

I’ve heard stories of other coworkers who are equally astonishingly unskilled.  Apparently my employer once had a warehouse worker who could not count correctly – he’d record five boxes, someone else would walk up and see six; yet he would assert there were only five because two came from the same person and therefore counted as one box not two. Read the rest of this entry »

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