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Old 05-15-2020, 02:51 PM
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Have you ever had a manager you thought was dumb?


I have a coworker. Nice enough person, I suppose, but I get frustrated sometimes by the kinds of questions she asks me. It seems to me they are basic questions that she should either already know the answers to or at least be able find the answer to herself (since google is everyone's friend). I think some of the frustration comes from poor communication on my part. I never know how to answer without potentially hurting her feelings. I'm always concerned that my response will be too "dumbed down". Like, imagine if someone were to you ask what a feline is. You could say "It's the term we use for members of the mammalian order carnivora like lions, tigers, and housecats", but that answer would not be helpful if that person doesn't know what mammals, orders, carnivores, tigers, lions, and housecats are. You could say, "It's a furry animal with pointy ears that goes 'meow meow'," but that is the kind of response you give to someone whose intellect hasn't been developed yet. I have a hard time finding the middle ground with this particular person. Her responses to my responses rarely provide the information I need to know whether I went too far into an explanation or not enough. Usually all she will say is "Gotcha." Sometimes I feel like she still doesn't really get it, but she's ready to be done with the conversation.

I also think I get frustrated because this coworker wants to be boss one day. She has "AMBITIOUS!" practically tattooed to her forehead. The prospect of her supervising me one day makes my stomach hurt. I have had bosses who I believed were not my intellectual equal but we still got along great. I've never had a boss who was dumb, though. My current/previous bosses might have occasionally said stupid things, but they possessed enough cleverness to make up for it. They can pass as smart, even brilliant. I just can't see that ability in my coworker.

How challenging is it to work under someone you think is kinda dumb? If you've had this experience, how did things work out? What strategies did you develop? What advice would you give?
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Old 05-15-2020, 03:05 PM
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I've had to work under bosses who were disorganized, and bosses who seem like they got to where they are by socializing with the decision makers rather than competence. Sadly who you know and how you dress seems to be a meaningful factor in how far you get in the corporate world.

For the most part I tended to fare better the less interaction I had with management. As long as they gave me assignments and let me do them on my own time in my own way things went fine. It was when they tried to micromanage that it caused problems since they didn't understand the job as well as I did, nor did they understand how my productivity could fluctuate. With a dumb boss I had I would just gently correct his misinfo, or I would just do it the correct way and he didn't notice anyway.

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Old 05-15-2020, 03:09 PM
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Dumb? Not really. Not good at being a manager - definitely. And I've been that person on a few occasions. I'm terrible at managing people, and I avoided placing myself in any kind of management position once I came to that realization.

When I was a teacher I saw something interesting - it's a field where you can go into management with zero aptitude. All you have to do is take the required classes and do the internship experiences and poof, you're a vice principal or a dean. These were often the people the OP speaks of with "ambitious" written all over them. I think of them as very similar to the Selina Meyer character from Veep - people who don't have any particular ideas or principles, they just want to be in power. Not necessarily stupid or dumb, just people who shouldn't be in charge of anything.

Met one person (in another field) who was on a management track and I once asked her what attracted her to it. She answered simply and directly, "Power." At least she was self aware.
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Old 05-15-2020, 03:34 PM
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Oh boy, do I! Before I enjoy reading the other replies, here's my tale.

It was a position with a small defense contracting company that I got last year. My position was a business analyst. They were vague about many answers to my questions like how big the team was, which was a red flag, but the role sounded very independent so I jumped at it. On my first day the man who I thought was my manager introduced me to the lady who he said was going to be my actual manager (and she would report to him). I'm fine, so I chat with her a bit over the week to try to get to know her. She has an odd email signature that shows her title as development lead rather than manager of the business analysts like I was told, so I asked her about that.

Her first day was one week before mine, hired as a dev lead as her email indicated. On her second day she was gold "congrats, you're going to be the manager of the analyst team!". I politely inquired if she had management experience and she said she did not. Indeed she was very uncomfortable with all of it. They were staffing up the whole team, which meant that she was required to interview people and make hiring decisions. Her boss crashed one of our small meetings one day to pin her down on a hiring decision. She made ugly faces and tried very hard not to be the decision maker. She even said right out "I don't feel comfortable making decisions like that". He cornered her until she picked one, right there in front of me. I was thinking to myself, lady if hiring makes you uncomfortable wait until you have to fire someone!

Over the next few months I saw that her administrative skills were very poor. She struggled to use Visio, Excel, our issue tracker, and took forever to do things. She would assign testing tickets to me instead of a tester. She would assign analysis tickets to a tester instead of me. She would assign a ticket to me and email my coworker (also an analyst) to tell him it was high priority and vica versa. Like she had no clue who she was assigning things to.

Once I suggested that we do regular 1:1 meetings and she agreed. However in our first one it was apparent that she thought I had asked her for a performance evaluation. She said I was doing fine and (direct quote) "I asked around about you and nobody has a problem with you". So not great communication skills either. Not terrible, but lacked the tact and careful choice of words that a manager should have. I didn't bother with more 1:1 meetings.

The coup de grace was a few months later when the company lost the contract we were all hired for and terminated us all. I happened to not be in the office when it happened, and when I got the vibes that something was going on, instead of telling me, she told me to call her boss. The next day she called me at home and said that she'd asked the client for a description of the contract we were working on so we could put it on our resumes. Nothing wrong with that, but then she asked me if I knew what it was we were working on. We'd been working on this contract, both of us client-facing, for about 8 months and in all that time she never understood what we were doing?!
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Old 05-15-2020, 03:38 PM
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Dumb? Not really. Not good at being a manager - definitely. And I've been that person on a few occasions. I'm terrible at managing people, and I avoided placing myself in any kind of management position once I came to that realization.

When I was a teacher I saw something interesting - it's a field where you can go into management with zero aptitude. All you have to do is take the required classes and do the internship experiences and poof, you're a vice principal or a dean. These were often the people the OP speaks of with "ambitious" written all over them. I think of them as very similar to the Selina Meyer character from Veep - people who don't have any particular ideas or principles, they just want to be in power. Not necessarily stupid or dumb, just people who shouldn't be in charge of anything.

Met one person (in another field) who was on a management track and I once asked her what attracted her to it. She answered simply and directly, "Power." At least she was self aware.
You've described my coworker. She is more into palace intrigue (which boss just got demoted, which one got promoted, which boss is hated by all the other bosses, which one is loved by all) than the nuts and bolts of what we do. I find office politics entertaining too, not gonna lie. But I really love the nuts and bolts stuff.

She may be thinking that she doesn't have to get the nuts and bolts stuff, seeing as how she intends to be the manager one day.
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Old 05-15-2020, 03:56 PM
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I had a manager who would micromanage for absolutely no reason except presumably so they looked like they were doing something. There was no "breather" time between tasks after something was done you'd have to immediately run to another part of the building and immediately start doing that, and if work was slowing down instead of finishing it they would take everyone off the task except one and then have the people go off and do other things, leaving the lone person to now take four times longer finishing up.

Also they were fond of threatening to call the cops on you, as the idea was they'd fire you so fast you would be now considered trespassing and be forced out by the cops.
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Old 05-15-2020, 04:12 PM
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The Peter Principle.

From Wiki. Bolding mine.

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The Peter principle is a concept in management developed by Laurence J. Peter, which observes that people in a hierarchy tend to rise to their "level of incompetence": an employee is promoted based on their success in previous jobs until they reach a level at which they are no longer competent, as skills in one job do not necessarily translate to another. The concept was elucidated in the book The Peter Principle (William Morrow and Company, 1969) by Dr Peter and Raymond Hull.
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Old 05-15-2020, 04:26 PM
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Except, IIUC that describes people who were competent before they got promoted, not people who are just plain dumb.
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Old 05-15-2020, 04:28 PM
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I've had a boss or two that was willfully stupid, but not necessarily dumb.
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Old 05-15-2020, 04:53 PM
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Have you ever had a manager you thought was dumb?


Not only have I had managers I thought were dumb, when I worked for the state, I've had governors I thought were dumb.
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Old 05-15-2020, 05:02 PM
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My dumb bosses were the ones who didn’t ask questions when they didn’t know something.

I’m always happy to answer when someone asks. I don’t understand the “you should have looked it up yourself” reaction. People learn best from people who know. That shouldn’t be discouraged.
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Old 05-15-2020, 05:02 PM
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Except, IIUC that describes people who were competent before they got promoted, not people who are just plain dumb.
True. But I think most people working in a job for which they are incompetent, would appear dumb to those around them.
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Old 05-15-2020, 05:03 PM
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I've had a boss or two that was willfully stupid, but not necessarily dumb.
The distinction is lost on me.
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Old 05-15-2020, 05:36 PM
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Dumb? Not really. Not good at being a manager - definitely. And I've been that person on a few occasions. I'm terrible at managing people, and I avoided placing myself in any kind of management position once I came to that realization.

When I was a teacher I saw something interesting - it's a field where you can go into management with zero aptitude. All you have to do is take the required classes and do the internship experiences and poof, you're a vice principal or a dean. These were often the people the OP speaks of with "ambitious" written all over them. I think of them as very similar to the Selina Meyer character from Veep - people who don't have any particular ideas or principles, they just want to be in power. Not necessarily stupid or dumb, just people who shouldn't be in charge of anything.

Met one person (in another field) who was on a management track and I once asked her what attracted her to it. She answered simply and directly, "Power." At least she was self aware.
I've heard plenty of stories about teachers who were put into administration to get them out of the classroom, but the school couldn't outright fire them because they coached winning teams. (I have heard from more than one person that the man who was principal at Columbine at the time of the massacre was, by all accounts, the worst teacher his students ever had - even the goof-off kids didn't want him - but yeah, he was a winning coach, so they promoted him just to get him out of the classroom.)
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Old 05-15-2020, 05:36 PM
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The distinction is lost on me.
Difference between being clueless( many, many of my bosses through the years )and natively stupid( few of them ). I have had bosses who made dumb decisions all the time, usually based on a lack of information and an unwillingness to ask for opinions/assistance from someone who would know better. And sometimes they would make what I consider "dumb" decisions( i.e. those that I disagree with strenuously ), which aren't really dumb per se, but more based on very different priorities. The latter are at least tolerable, the willful ignorance ones less so.

This is as opposed to just not intelligent. I have had several bosses I'd consider to have borderline personality disorders, but only a couple I thought were flat out stupid. As in completely unable to grasp an issue even if carefully explained to them.

Last edited by Tamerlane; 05-15-2020 at 05:37 PM.
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Old 05-15-2020, 05:41 PM
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My dumb bosses were the ones who didn’t ask questions when they didn’t know something.

I’m always happy to answer when someone asks. I don’t understand the “you should have looked it up yourself” reaction. People learn best from people who know. That shouldn’t be discouraged.
I'm sorry if you find this offensive, but I think there is such a thing as a stupid question. If the two of us are feline biologists, and you ask me what a feline is, I'm going to wonder if you're pulling my leg or you've lost your mind. If you've been hired to be a spreadsheet monkey and you've been doing that job for 16 years and yet you don't know how to calculate an average in Excel and don't know what a "median" is, then I'm going to wonder if you're pulling my leg or lost your mind when you expose that ignorance to me. This reaction isn't something I can help, sorry.

I'm totally down for a good in-depth philosophical discussion about the "why" behind a process. Why do we do it X way and not Y way, for instance. Great question. But it is hard to be enthusiastic about answering a question like "How do we do X?" when 1) I've explained it to you plenty of times in the past, 2) presumably you should already know how to do that, given that it is your job to know X like the back of your hand, and 3) the answer is in the instruction manual, and you should know this since knowing the content of the instruction manual is your job, not mine. I will give you a pass the first ten times you ask me this question. But if you keep it up, I'm going to feel a certain way about your intellect.
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Old 05-15-2020, 05:41 PM
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Well, there was that one time when I was self-employed.
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Old 05-15-2020, 05:51 PM
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I had a really dumb boss once, and it was as painful as you're probably imagining. She was a manager at the restaurant where I had just started as a hostess. One of the jobs of a hostess was to periodically check the restroom and restock the toilet paper. The toilet paper dispenser was locked, and the key was kept at the host stand. Except when this dummy was working; she would take it back to the manager's office, which was also locked. I asked her repeatedly to stop taking the key as it prevented me from doing my job. She finally yelled at me that I didn't need the key, as I could just tear away the old roll without having to unlock the dispenser. She had days to think this over and it didn't occur to her that the point was to put in a new roll, not just get rid of the old one. There were dozens of things like this with her. I would've quit if she hadn't been transferred soon after.
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Old 05-15-2020, 05:56 PM
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True. But I think most people working in a job for which they are incompetent, would appear dumb to those around them.
I dunno. I think I'd be able to distinguish an incompetent manager who is smart from an incompetent manager who is dumb. It would be incompetent management for the boss to play favorites in the office or dock people's pay for small infractions, for instance. But I think most people would find this kind of incompetency preferable to being in a workplace where the manager makes stupid accounting mistakes that affect the business's bottom line--mistakes he doesn't learn from because he can't even recognize they are mistakes. Or being in a workplace where the boss relies on staff to make all the decisions because she never knows what to do. Assuming the two personalities were equally non-obnoxious and sane, I'd always choose to work with the smart incompetent than the dumb incompetent.
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Old 05-15-2020, 05:58 PM
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I had a manager who would micromanage for absolutely no reason except presumably so they looked like they were doing something. There was no "breather" time between tasks after something was done you'd have to immediately run to another part of the building and immediately start doing that, and if work was slowing down instead of finishing it they would take everyone off the task except one and then have the people go off and do other things, leaving the lone person to now take four times longer finishing up.

Also they were fond of threatening to call the cops on you, as the idea was they'd fire you so fast you would be now considered trespassing and be forced out by the cops.
ZOMG! What kind of place was this, anyway?
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Old 05-15-2020, 06:40 PM
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I've heard plenty of stories about teachers who were put into administration to get them out of the classroom, but the school couldn't outright fire them because they coached winning teams. (I have heard from more than one person that the man who was principal at Columbine at the time of the massacre was, by all accounts, the worst teacher his students ever had - even the goof-off kids didn't want him - but yeah, he was a winning coach, so they promoted him just to get him out of the classroom.)
Never saw anything like that during my time in education. Even accounting for how every state does things a little differently, I don't see how you could shunt someone into administration in that way. It's also not true that tenured teachers can't be fired, although it's certainly a process. I saw problem teachers get shifted around to other buildings, but I've never heard of a bad teacher being intentionally put into management, or a winning coach suddenly being made a principal just because.

Though, I did see a fair number of PE / athletics people go into admin. The theory was that they were used to dealing with large numbers of people. I'd say those types were hit or miss as administrators.

I should also say I worked with some outstanding school administrators. Smart, thoughtful people who I was grateful to have there. I suspect they went into it for the right reasons.
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Old 05-15-2020, 07:53 PM
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I also think I get frustrated because this coworker wants to be boss one day. She has "AMBITIOUS!" practically tattooed to her forehead. The prospect of her supervising me one day makes my stomach hurt. I have had bosses who I believed were not my intellectual equal but we still got along great. I've never had a boss who was dumb, though. My current/previous bosses might have occasionally said stupid things, but they possessed enough cleverness to make up for it. They can pass as smart, even brilliant. I just can't see that ability in my coworker.

How challenging is it to work under someone you think is kinda dumb? If you've had this experience, how did things work out? What strategies did you develop? What advice would you give?
I was in this situation once, and it was miserable in no small part because my manager was so convinced of his own genius that he wouldn’t allow me to fix the problems he created nor was he capable of understanding why his ‘solutions’ were not workable, and then when they failed he would blame others for his mistakes. I ended up leaving that job for another job at a startup that crashed and burned a year later, but I did and still do regard it as a good move.

I’ve since worked for people of whom I was more knowledgeable about in my own domain than they were but I’ve never had the issue of working for someone who did not recognize that I was better able to address and interpret the issue (which is not to say that I haven’t been questioned about my assumptions or methodology, just from the standpoint of wanting to verify that I had gone through a thorough process of analysis), and for the most point I’ve worked for people who were willing to educate me with the benefit of knowledge in their areas as well.

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Old 05-15-2020, 08:15 PM
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...Sadly who you know and how you dress seems to be a meaningful factor in how far you get in the corporate world...
Don't forget height. Top managers at the World's Second Best-Selling Jet Airliner Company tend to be tall.
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Old 05-15-2020, 08:19 PM
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Yes. You know the guy who prints his emails? I worked with him.
The stereotype exists for a reason. I know, the word ‘dumb’ has a lot of negative connotations. Maybe he’s great spinning wrenches on cars or the best fly fisherman you’ve ever met. But, managing an office that required a normal use of technology was way over his head. Simple excel to him would be like asking me to translate Attic Greek. And he was fairly young, maybe early 30s, had a kid around 5 or 6.

Anyway, it was a short term temp project and I got to be the assistant manager. So, I got paid decent money to enter data into Excel and listen to music.
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Old 05-15-2020, 08:23 PM
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The distinction is lost on me.
Dumb means your uninformed. Stupid means you're incapable of being informed. Willfully stupid means that you know better but persist in your stupid behavior because you can.
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Old 05-15-2020, 08:52 PM
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I'm sorry if you find this offensive, but I think there is such a thing as a stupid question. If the two of us are feline biologists, and you ask me what a feline is, I'm going to wonder if you're pulling my leg or you've lost your mind. If you've been hired to be a spreadsheet monkey and you've been doing that job for 16 years and yet you don't know how to calculate an average in Excel and don't know what a "median" is, then I'm going to wonder if you're pulling my leg or lost your mind when you expose that ignorance to me. This reaction isn't something I can help, sorry.

I'm totally down for a good in-depth philosophical discussion about the "why" behind a process. Why do we do it X way and not Y way, for instance. Great question. But it is hard to be enthusiastic about answering a question like "How do we do X?" when 1) I've explained it to you plenty of times in the past, 2) presumably you should already know how to do that, given that it is your job to know X like the back of your hand, and 3) the answer is in the instruction manual, and you should know this since knowing the content of the instruction manual is your job, not mine. I will give you a pass the first ten times you ask me this question. But if you keep it up, I'm going to feel a certain way about your intellect.
I still appreciate the person who realizes E just doesn’t get it and has the sense to ask every time rather than one who never manages to get it and yet doesn’t ask for help. I prefer to explain it again and avoid error. The person who knows enough to realize E doesn’t know and will set aside pride to ask for help still has a useful kind of knowledge and is someone I can work with.
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Old 05-15-2020, 08:55 PM
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Oh, and what was the point of this .... ?

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I'm sorry if you find this offensive,
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Old 05-15-2020, 08:57 PM
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Dumb means your uninformed. Stupid means you're incapable of being informed.
I don’t think these are broadly understood distinctions.
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Old 05-15-2020, 09:01 PM
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Oh, and what was the point of this .... ?
I didn't want to hurt your feelings by telling you I think there's such a thing as a stupid question. What do you think my point was?
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Old 05-15-2020, 09:01 PM
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The dumbest manager I ever had was more wildly over his head then actively stupid. He never went to college but I'm pretty sure he graduated from high school. He went to work in the oil field as a pumper and some how became the manager of the drilling department with a hundred million dollar budget. I was brought in as a junior engineer in the department with one other engineer. I quickly discovered that the senior engineer didn't have any idea how to do his job and was mostly faking it by getting service companies to do his job. After 6 months the senior engineer got promoted into management and 3 years out of college I was the senior engineer on staff.

I decided to take the challenge head on and start bringing in all the outsourced work in house. One day I was redesigning a mud system and my boss came into my office. He didn't understand why my desk was covered with books and I was skipping the social lunches with the service companies since that was where the work was done. I explained the redesign I was doing and show how the literature was backing my decision and well as the metrics I would use to evaluate success. He seemed stunned and walked out of my office. About an hour later he came back and asked me to grab my stuff and follow him. He led me into the VPs office and had me explain everything to the vp after which the VP turned to my boss and said he's doing his job this is what engineers are supposed to do.

With in a year I was running the department in fact if not on paper, writing all of the programs and budgets and permits and managing the engineering staff while my boss left me alone and managed the field personnel. Now, I tell people about being 28, running a staff of 10 with a 150 million dollar budget and their response generally is what kind of idiot would a kid do that.
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Old 05-15-2020, 09:26 PM
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I still appreciate the person who realizes E just doesn’t get it and has the sense to ask every time rather than one who never manages to get it and yet doesn’t ask for help. I prefer to explain it again and avoid error. The person who knows enough to realize E doesn’t know and will set aside pride to ask for help still has a useful kind of knowledge and is someone I can work with.

I too appreciate someone who isn't afraid to ask a question. I also appreciate someone who--knowing they've already asked a specific question a million times already--realizes they need to try a different tack besides coming to me for an answer. For instance, my coworker will frequently ask me a question that is addressed in the instruction manual. Sometimes I will give her the answer. Sometimes, like when my patience is limited, I'll ask her if she has looked at the instruction manual. Inevitably she'll say nope. She always comes to me first. I really don't get this mentality. If the answer can always be found in the instruction manual, why wouldn't someone go there first?

I mean, it would be one thing if she wanted a discussion about an issue in addition to a straight answer. Lots of super smart people post questions to General Questions because they care more about the discussion around an answer than the answer itself. But it's clear to me that when she comes to me with a question, she only wants an answer. I wouldn't feel like my efforts were going to waste if she asked follow-up questions. But all I get is "gotcha" in return. It's so unsatisfying.
  #32  
Old 05-15-2020, 09:43 PM
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Inevitably she'll say nope. She always comes to me first. I really don't get this mentality. If the answer can always be found in the instruction manual, why wouldn't someone go there first?
If you are there and she can ask you, why should she go to the manual first? Why is one method better than the other? Why is human interaction Only called for when one “want[s] a discussion about an issue in addition to a straight answer”? It’s not inherently better or morally superior to look it up in a manual rather than ask someone. It’s two ways of doing the same thing.

What’s “wasteful” for either side? Are you being used up in some way when she does this?

In terms of understanding a “mentality” in these terms, it’s as simple as different people have different instincts about how to do things.

Maybe it just feels good to have an oral interaction with another human being.

It’s probably not even a “mentality” in the sense that she’s thinking “I know I could look this up in the manual but I’m going to go and ask Monstro instead.” It’s just how her instincts work automatically.

It might just be just as baffling to her why you would go through the rigamarole of asking if you looked it up instead of just telling her.

Remember that reading and writing and the very idea of a non-human reference is pretty much born yesterday in evolutionary terms. It’s not something that’s ingrained in the human makeup, and it certainly isn’t morally superior.
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Old 05-15-2020, 09:46 PM
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I didn't want to hurt your feelings by telling you I think there's such a thing as a stupid question. What do you think my point was?
Why would you think it would hurt my feelings? Did you think you were insulting me?

And if you thought it was so likely that it might hurt my feelings that you had to apologize in advance, why wouldn’t you try to come up with a way of saying it that you thought would be less likely to hurt my feelings?
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Old 05-15-2020, 10:32 PM
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If you are there and she can ask you, why should she go to the manual first? Why is one method better than the other? Why is human interaction Only called for when one “want[s] a discussion about an issue in addition to a straight answer”? It’s not inherently better or morally superior to look it up in a manual rather than ask someone. It’s two ways of doing the same thing.
Are you seriously telling me if a coworker asked you the same question day after day, you wouldn't be the least bit exasperated or annoyed? You wouldn't at least be weirded out that they keep asking you the same thing, without seemingly retaining anything from the last conversation on the topic?

If you are always confusd about how to do X" and the "how to do X" is written down for you in a handy how-to guide, then you are indeed wasting your coworkers time by asking "how do you do X?" a million times. The how-to guide exists for a reason. Furthermore, not reading the instruction manual is a recipe for trouble. You come to me with a question and I might just tell you the wrong thing since you are asking me stuff that's really not in my area of expertise. The instruction manual exists to keep you from doing the wrong thing. Ignore it at your own peril.


Quote:
What’s “wasteful” for either side? Are you being used up in some way when she does this?
I like social interactions that I benefit from, that don't wear me out. Maybe this makes me an asshole, I don't know. If you come to me with questions that are interesting and thought-provoking, I will enjoy exchanging information with you. If you come to me with questions that leave me frustrated and impatient, I will not enjoy exchanging information with you. I'm also not blessed with a well of infinite energy and time. Having to walk someone through a basic problem for the fiftieth time means I have less energy and time to do what I'm supposed to be doing. I don't like being interrupted.

Quote:
In terms of understanding a “mentality” in these terms, it’s as simple as different people have different instincts about how to do things.
I don't know why you think the idea of "different people have different instincts" is a novel one to me. Of course I know this. I understand that some people have an "instinct" towards littering or an "instinct" towards cussing out grocery store clerks for wearing face masks. But despite this understanding, I'm still very much irritated by these people and don't really get where they are coming from. Is the concept of "annoying people doing annoying things?" foreign to you?

Quote:
Maybe it just feels good to have an oral interaction with another human being.
It feels good to scratch one's private parts and fart too. But people are allowed to find such"feel-good" behaviors annoying and frustrating, right? Since when did "It feels good!" become a good excuse for dumb behavior?


Quote:
It might just be just as baffling to her why you would go through the rigamarole of asking if you looked it up instead of just telling her.
If this is baffling to her, then she is indeed very dumb. In the time it takes her to walk to my cubicle and ask her question, she could find the answer in the freakin' instruction manual. It isn't "rigamorole" to go to the instruction manual. And even if it was rigamorole, it's her fuckin' job to know what's in the instruction manual.


Quote:
Remember that reading and writing and the very idea of a non-human reference is pretty much born yesterday in evolutionary terms. It’s not something that’s ingrained in the human makeup, and it certainly isn’t morally superior.
This is the derpiest thing I've read in awhile. Taking a crap in a pot is something "that is pretty much born yesterday" in evolutionary terms too. That doesn't mean I'm not going to feel a certain way if someone takes a crap in my front yard. And while being literate isn't morally superior, I would say that it an advantageous trait in the modern workplace. A person who isn't literate and who doesn't retain information is bound to frustrate people working in an environment where everyone is expected to be literate and retain information. And good social skills are just as important. Frustrating your coworkers is never good, even if you aren't intending to be frustrating.
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Old 05-15-2020, 10:33 PM
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Why would you think it would hurt my feelings? Did you think you were insulting me?

And if you thought it was so likely that it might hurt my feelings that you had to apologize in advance, why wouldn’t you try to come up with a way of saying it that you thought would be less likely to hurt my feelings?
I'm really sorry that I said I was sorry.
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Old 05-15-2020, 10:44 PM
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I worked for a company whose owner and manager were both crooks and con-men. and it didn't take them long to fire me when I dragged my feet on some of their snterprided. They didn't know much about what I was good at, but I never met a successful con-man who was dumb.
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Old 05-15-2020, 10:53 PM
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snterprided
What is that?
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Old 05-15-2020, 11:25 PM
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Shhh... ask about snterprided and you'll get fired, too.
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Old 05-16-2020, 02:44 AM
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Yup. Mentioned him here once, I believe.

Swing shift super - he was approaching retirement age, call it 63 or so maybe? I know retirement age is now 70, but this was back in the 90s.

He would make these 'pronouncements' as if he knew everything. I think the 2 that stuck out the most were:

1 - to pass through the Bering Strait from south to north, experienced navigators would need to keep the constellation of the Southern Cross over their left shoulder.

2 - that unless the breaker was turned off at the box, or there was something plugged into the outlet, electricity leaked out. Now on the quantum scale, this is sort of true ...

He was one of the most prejudiced, male chauvenistic assholes I ever had the displeasure of working with.
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Old 05-16-2020, 03:03 AM
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What is that (snterprided)?
I thought maybe it was something spelled backwards, but reversing the letters doesn't help.

Searched in Google, which thinks its "enterprise". So that's what I'm going with, as it reasonably fits the sentence.
  #41  
Old 05-16-2020, 07:16 AM
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many managers never take a single course on management. Quite a few are jerks because they learned from a jerk boss. And yes many of them are there because they kiss the butt of their boss.
  #42  
Old 05-16-2020, 07:28 AM
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I can't say that I've had a "dumb" manager. I've had bad managers, but most of them have been OK. Now, I've had managers who did not know as much as I did and were not skilled enough to do what I was doing. They were also sometimes paid less than I was. (I worked jobs where my time was billed at a certain rate and I was compensated accordingly.) IMHO, managers are there to coordinate the work and facilitate the activities of their direct reports. It's a special skill set that may not overlap at all with the skills of the worker bees.
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Old 05-16-2020, 09:44 AM
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I know that bad spelling does not necessarily equal dumb, but ever since my manager posted a sign near a clogged sink that he had called the "plummer", I never quite thought of him as brilliant.


mmm
  #44  
Old 05-16-2020, 09:45 AM
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Blessings in disguise


I haven't had dumb managers in a long time, but yes, I've had them in previous jobs and career tracks.

It can actually be a very positive experience, though, assuming there's nothing else going on (illegal activity, personality conflict with the dumb manager, the dumb manager is verbally or sexually harassing you, you are verbally or sexually harassing the dumb manager, etc.).

If the manager is dumb, socially awkward, and/or generally inept, but otherwise tolerable, there is a lot to be gained by working with that. If the manager comes to you with the same question a million times, well . . . answer it a million times. Politely. Amiably. If the manager can't work a spreadsheet, help him. Hell, go home, open up a Youtube video or two, and become an expert in creating and organizing spreadsheets. I don't care how dumb that manager is; I have yet to run into the dumb person who doesn't at least acknowledge the usefulness of a more intelligent creature willing and able to go out of their way to help him or her.

And if the manager isn't intellectually dumb, but can't work with the customers, take up the slack there, too. As long as you are OK with the manager taking the credit for some of the things you do (often amounting to an attaboy, a certificate, a cheap plastic cup, or . . . if it's a GREAT job . . . maybe some cake), THAT'S to your advantage. You can make a very comfortable and uplifting life for yourself in your organization by taking a little extra time to make your manager's life easier. As the nuns used to say--and probably still do--what you do today will be returned to you tenfold.

If not? Meh . . . there's always the next position, right? Personally, I've had some great experiences with inept bosses and managers, although it's been well over ten years since I've had to put up with any.
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Old 05-16-2020, 11:49 AM
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The last boss I had was not dumb in the absolute sense (he had a MS) but he was dumb relative to the other managers. His boss gave him the shit jobs to do and his technical comments in meetings were ignored - rightfully so. But he was a nice and supportive guy, and I got to do anything I wanted, so I'm not complaining.
There are managers who are dumb but recognize it, and support intelligence in their staff, and there are managers who are dumb but think they are brilliant. This guy was the former, I also had one of the latter. The former is much better.
Mostly my managers were very smart.
  #46  
Old 05-16-2020, 12:12 PM
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I haven't had any actually "dumb" overall bosses. The closest have been a couple who don't know how to treat people. And by "don't know how to treat people", I don't mean they're abusive or micromanagers ( although I've had those). I mean managers who don't understand that if everytime I point out a problem with a new policy, the answer with "that's what they want", I'm going to stop mentioning the problems and then when an issue comes up my response is going to be "that's what you told me to do"*. If everytime I mention an email that we both received, you tell me to resend the email because you neither remember it, nor can be bothered to look for it , I'm going to figure out that you don't actually read your email. If you don't reply to emails I send you, I'm going to start ending my emails with something like 'this is what I plan to do- let me know if you want something different." Which is going to mean at some point I will handle some issue in other than her preferred way- but I will have asked for direction and not received it.





* The latest iteration is that none of my calls can go to voice mail.(although I wonder why I have voice mail if that's the case) Support staff are only working one day a week, so I've been forwarding my desk line to my cell phone so that I can answer when I'm away from my desk . The only time a call goes to voice mail is if I'm on another call. Still not acceptable. So from now on, whenever another call comes in, I'm putting the first call on hold and answering the second- even if the first call is from her or one of her bosses. And when there is blowback ( assistant commissioners tend not to want to be put on hold) my response is going to be that my directions from her are that no calls can go to voice mail. That's probably not what "they" wanted - but "they" probably didn't realize it would be an issue in smaller offices and she is certainly not going to tell "them".
  #47  
Old 05-16-2020, 12:24 PM
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My manager is truly an idiot and Im self-employed.
  #48  
Old 05-16-2020, 12:40 PM
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I don’t think these are broadly understood distinctions.
Hey, I'm here to help.
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Old 05-16-2020, 04:25 PM
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I don't know that I've had many managers (or clients) who are legitimately stupid. A lot of them have done stupid things or don't seem particularly creative at dealing with anything outside of their narrow job description.

I had one manager back in my Deloitte days who seemed pretty dump. She was from Brazil and I had just moved to New York and she kept saying to me I had no idea how cold it got in the city. I'm like "You know I moved down here from Boston, right? I've basically lived my entire life within 2 hours drive of Manhattan." Still, she insisted I "had no idea of the cold".

That's fine. Maybe she doesn't know American geography outside of New York any more than I know what's a few hours outside of Sao Paulo. But another exchange went something like this:
Manager: How do we get to the subway from here?
Me: There's a station right across from the building in City Hall Park.
Manager: [angry] You're a consultant! I expect you to give me a better answer than that!
Me: [confused] So...do you want me to bill a bunch of hours putting together a long PowerPoint deck that kind of but doesn't really tell you where City Hall Station is?
  #50  
Old 05-16-2020, 05:17 PM
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Devious, self-serving, spiteful, and disinterested, manipulative and unkind, I have worked for (not all in the same person), but never dumb.
I have also worked for wonderfully inspiring people too, and sometimes even the bad ones were good.
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