31 December 2008

stupid people

I was prompted to post this after receiving a phone call at 0430 this morning
from the Chief Mate.

The original question was:

you have to choose, for your supervisor, between
a) a stupid nice guy
b) a competent asshole

who do you choose, and why?

and some answers I got were as follows:

Me? A) stupid/nice. I don't have time for a-holes, know how to do my job and can
cover my own rear if an idiot boss is exposed. Been there.

For others, it depends. If your performance will suffer due to poor decisions
or, worse, it puts you in danger, the a-hole will have to do. If you have
autonomy to do your job and won't get painted with the same 'stupid' brush, then
the nice guy will do.

My first boss was an a-hole and drove me crazy but I did my job and was


Hmmmm. That is a tough one. I am going to assume that you are the one
being supervised. And since I know you are competent and the work will get
done, I would likely pick option (a). I think it would be more pleasant for
you, to do work you'd be doing anyway, working for a nice guy.

If the supervisee is not you, then all bets are off and I have to re-think
my answer.

Here are my thoughts on the matter:

1)Stupid people don't know that they're stupid.
2)Stupid people do, however, recognize, when YOU think that they're stupid
3)Stupid people are not so stupid as to not be bothered by this
4)Stupid people are not without skills; these skills usually involve creating
more work for YOU, and less for them (whether intentional or not).
5)Stupid people who rise to a supervisory position have the skill of blame
deflection and survival; you, however, are usually too busy working, which is
why they, not you, got promoted.
6)Stupid people who are nice, are only nice when things are going smoothly
7)Stupid people, when confronted with a decision or a situation, cease to be
8)Stupid people, when faced with a decision, usually fall into two
a)wrong but confident and steady. This is good for you, the smart person,
because you can then predict what's what and implement countermeasures
b)wrong but indecisive and constantly changing. This is the worst, because as
soon as you plug the hole and start bailing the boat, they shoot a hole in the
other end
9)Stupid but nice people are therefore like Santa Claus and the tooth fairy:
they don't really exist, though we may pretend that they do.
10) Reread point one and say to yourself, "Is that me?"
11) If you're not smiling right now, reread point ten and answer, "Yes it

take the scales of justice, and put the stupidity of stupid/nice on one side,
and the evil of competent/asshole on the other, and then make your decision.

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