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Author Topic: Strategic incompetence
M.Gregus
babble intern
Babbler # 13402

posted 12 February 2008 05:47 AM      Profile for M.Gregus     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Strategic incompetence is the art of avoiding undesirable tasks by pretending to be unable to do them... Modern-day exemplars include the office colleague who responds to the photocopier message "clear paper jam" by freezing in melodramatic pseudo-panic until someone else steps forward to help; you're equally guilty if you've ever evaded a household task or DIY project by claiming you might screw things up. ("I'd do the laundry - I'm just worried I'll damage your clothes.")

--

What swiftly happens, the masters of strategic incompetence learn, is that people stop expecting you to undertake certain tasks; they no longer ask you to do them, and they adjust how they rate you: your failure to perform the activity stops counting against you.


From here.

Original article from Wall StreetJournal.

I heard about this on The Current this morning and was left wondering how wide-spread this strategy actually is! Are you or your co-workers guilty of strategic incompetence? When it comes to vacuuming, I'm guilty as charged!


From: capital region | Registered: Oct 2006  |  IP: Logged
rural - Francesca
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 14858

posted 12 February 2008 05:57 AM      Profile for rural - Francesca   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
My children! My children have this disorder!!!!

My eyes are open, this explains all my HR issues.

[ 12 February 2008: Message edited by: rural - Francesca ]


From: the backyard | Registered: Dec 2007  |  IP: Logged
Sineed
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 11260

posted 12 February 2008 06:22 AM      Profile for Sineed     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
My office is right next to the fax machine. If I helped everybody who comes into the area looking to send a fax, I'd end up being the Fax Fairy, and answer all fax-related queries with, "Sorry, I'm no good with these things; ask Debbie [the secretary]."

And really, if you've worked here fifteen years and you don't know whether faxes go in face-up or face-down, maybe your incompetence is a little more all-encompassing than just strategic.


From: # 668 - neighbour of the beast | Registered: Dec 2005  |  IP: Logged
Michelle
Moderator
Babbler # 560

posted 12 February 2008 06:26 AM      Profile for Michelle   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Heh. Women have known all about "strategic incompetence" for centuries.

"Golly, I just can't figure out how to vacuum the floor or clean the toilet. My wife is so much better at that than I am. That's why she does it - because she's just so goshdarned good at it!"

(And yes, guys, I know that no man on babble has ever left the majority of the housework to their wives. I also know that in "traditional" households where husbands pretend not to be capable of changing a toilet roll, their wives also pretend that certain yardwork and mechanical chores are beyond their capabilities too. But I figure that's self-defence - otherwise they'd have to do EVERYTHING. )


From: I've got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
abnormal
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 1245

posted 12 February 2008 06:27 AM      Profile for abnormal   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
People still use faxes??
From: far, far away | Registered: Aug 2001  |  IP: Logged
Stephen Gordon
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 4600

posted 12 February 2008 06:59 AM      Profile for Stephen Gordon        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
In my early years here, I figured that being a non native French speaker would mean that I could go unnoticed when various administrative drudge jobs had to be filled.

Sadly, my colleagues are not completely stupid, and I was quickly disabused of this notion.


From: . | Registered: Oct 2003  |  IP: Logged
Fidel
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 5594

posted 12 February 2008 07:51 AM      Profile for Fidel     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by abnormal:
People still use faxes??

Sure. Even tho there are many more email accounts than faxes by now, fax is still used. Some companies will still specify fax as the legal communication method. Fax is a point-to-point connection and usually gives up sending a document after three or four hours, whereas an email doesn't report the odd failure to send until maybe four or five days later.

"What's that? You didn't get my email? Well I sent it yesterday!!!", does still happen the odd time as it sometimes does with fax, but the guy at Mailboxes or Kinko's will usually hand us the transmission report page indicating whether it was received and printed out at the other end, or sometimes not.


From: Viva La Revolución | Registered: Apr 2004  |  IP: Logged
unionist
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 11323

posted 12 February 2008 07:59 AM      Profile for unionist     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by abnormal:
People still use faxes??

People use computers more and more.

But computers use people less and less.


From: Vote QS! | Registered: Dec 2005  |  IP: Logged
Sineed
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 11260

posted 12 February 2008 08:10 AM      Profile for Sineed     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Strategic incompetence is a cousin of aggressive stupidity, where people who are given directions that aren't totally crystal-clear will follow the stupidest possible course of action before saying, "But that's what YOU SAID to do..."
From: # 668 - neighbour of the beast | Registered: Dec 2005  |  IP: Logged
martin dufresne
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 11463

posted 12 February 2008 08:41 PM      Profile for martin dufresne   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Fidel: ... but the guy at Mailboxes or Kinko's will usually hand us the transmission report...

Pinkos use Kinko's???

From: "Words Matter" (Mackinnon) | Registered: Dec 2005  |  IP: Logged
Fidel
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 5594

posted 12 February 2008 09:24 PM      Profile for Fidel     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by martin dufresne:

Pinkos use Kinko's???

Not me, personally. But I hear they are in Canada now? I don't know. I first saw them in California a few years ago. I'd sometimes stop in for a quickie fax and some printer paper there. And then I'd roller blade next door to the little convenience store selling used novels, beer, wine, groceries, and Jesus statues. I have no memory of it other than all these copies of Catcher in the Rye strewn all over my apartment and Jesus statues everywhere.


From: Viva La Revolución | Registered: Apr 2004  |  IP: Logged

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