Playwright Jean-Paul Sartre has a famous line in one of his plays, “Hell is other people.” Haha, while I’m sure there are many proper literary interpretations of what that means, I think that quote is simple, dead on, and oh so true. People can make things over complicated, and so frustrating. I’ve had a lot of aggravating days this past month dealing with other people that I’m so tempted to go pitch a tent in the woods where nobody else can find or bother me. My stress levels are high because of people and projects gone bad, and I find myself constantly asking, #^%@! why are so many people bad at their jobs?!
Hell Is Other People
I’m not saying that I’m sick and tired of everyone. You guys are fantastic for one, and my friends and family are great if I put aside the drama and clashing perspectives that sometimes arise. And a good number of people I work with are also solid, otherwise I wouldn’t have worked with them as long as I have.
But man, there are a lot of people out there that are just atrocious to deal with! It amazes me that some of them still hold a job. As a manager, I’ve had to deal with a wide range of employees over the years, and I try really hard to support each and every one of them while also protecting the needs of the business. There are a lot of managers on the other hand that don’t have a clue what their employees are doing, and either don’t care at all what’s going on, or are unable to properly discipline or are too chicken to fire troublesome employees. These folks make doing business difficult and inefficient.
So why are so many people bad at their jobs? Here are the 5 main reasons I’ve come up with based on several of my recent experiences.
I worked with a guy once who simply didn’t have the skills or the brain power to do his job. He tried hard and was nice, but at the end of the day he just couldn’t perform the skills required for his job, even after a lot of one-on-one training. So in the end he was let go. It sucks to be in that situation when someone wants to improve, but can’t meet the job requirements in a reasonable time frame.
The worst though are people who are totally incompetent and have no desire to learn and improve their skills. We all make mistakes – that’s unavoidable and forgivable if it’s infrequent. But when someone makes mistakes repeatedly, develops an attitude, and doesn’t bother to learn from their own errors, that type of incompetence is unacceptable. I had to fire a guy for that once. Wasn’t a pleasant experience, but things got so much better once he was out of there. There are a lot of people out there with jobs that they aren’t qualified for, or who have become so disgruntled that they’ve become totally incompetent.
MIA And Unreachable
Why are so many people bad at their jobs? Because they don’t show up when they’re supposed to! It amazes me how some people think it’s appropriate to just not show up to work. They don’t call in, they don’t pick up the phone, they don’t respond to emails or texts, and they always have some lame excuse when they eventually decide to show up again.
I had a short term contract worker once who would show up to work a couple days in a row, mind you at least 1-2 hours later than he was supposed to, and then as soon as he got a payment towards his contract he would disappear and be completely unreachable for days. I have a strong suspicion he has a drug and alcohol addiction, and goes on binges as soon as he gets any kind of money in his hands. Needless to say his contract wasn’t completed because he was fired after getting way more second chances than he deserved.
It’s shocking to me that some people are so disrespectful to be several hours tardy, or just not show up, and are totally unreachable on top of that. And this happens a lot! I’m sure you’ve dealt with people like that before. It is incredibly frustrating and annoying. People like that will never get ahead trying to conduct business that way.
Lies And Excuses
Why are so many people bad at their jobs? Because they lie, don’t take responsibility for their actions, and make too many excuses. Have you ever worked with someone who habitually lies and is constantly coming up with lame excuses? One woman I work with never owns up to her mistakes. She always tries to pass the buck and put the blame on someone else, but we can all see straight through her BS. It’s only a matter of time before she’s let go.
Some of the worst and most annoying excuses and lies I’ve heard from people are:
- “What emails? I didn’t receive them.” (Liar!)
- “I lost my phone and the battery died. That’s why I didn’t call you back.” (For 3 days?!)
- “Sorry I can’t come into work today, I’m sick.” (Yeah right if it’s the day before/after a holiday, vacation, night out.)
- “Yes I’m happy with my job.” (Then why did I find your resume on the printer?)
- “We are running late because the delivery truck broke down.” (Shut up, twice in the same week?)
- “There was an accident on the highway.” (Come on, just admit you didn’t leave early enough for your interview.)
- “I never agreed to that.” (Yes you did. You signed the contract!)
- “I’m running late because my bus/train was late.” (It’s you that’s late 4x a week, not the bus.)
- “I didn’t do it.” (Yes you did. Do you think I’m blind? I just saw you.)
- “I checked my work.” (Ha. No you didn’t because it’s full of errors.)
- “It’s his/her fault. I wasn’t any part of it.” (Seriously? Take responsibility for your employees!)
- “Yes I know how to do xyz.” (I know you’re lying because you can’t give me any details.)
- “You never told me to do that.” (Give me a break. Admit that you forgot!)
Oh man I could keep going on for hours with examples, but you get the idea. Business works so much better when we just own up to our faults and mistakes, learn from them, and move forward. It baffles me that so many people just don’t get that.
“It is wrong and immoral to seek to escape the consequences of one’s acts.” ― Mahatma Gandhi
We’ve all interacted with people who have the worst attitudes at their job and don’t give a $#&* about the consequences and affects on those around them. A lot of the time they’re miserable and angry because they blame everyone and everything for their own unhappiness and problems. They aren’t receptive to feedback, they tend to have all of the above issues, and are unwilling to change their ways.
This problem arises in all levels too. I know a senior guy who heads a department, but he’s totally unwilling to collaborate with any other teams to improve some significant issues for the business. I’m counting the days until he’s fired. And we all know plenty of entry level and middle management employees who are angry at the world and have terrible customer service. How do they still hold a job?!
I had a bus driver once who refused to tell me the end destination for the route she was driving when I boarded the bus. She forced me to get off the bus and look at the sign outside on the front of the bus. What a total bit–! She knew exactly where she was headed, but she had major attitude and intentionally made it difficult for me to get the answer. I immediately reported her and hope she got reprimanded for that.
Another situation I ran into recently was a restaurant owner who was totally unwilling to compensate me for a bad service experience. One of the easiest ways to resolve situations like that is to at least offer the customer a partial discount or future credit, but this guy wouldn’t budge an inch even after I offered multiple suggestions. The end result is I bashed his business on Yelp and I will never go there again. If he had given me even just a lousy 5 bucks of credit, I would have been willing to give his business a second chance. But he lost that chance.
Careless & Can’t Follow Directions
Why are so many people bad at their jobs? Because they don’t check their work and can’t follow directions! Instructions are made for a reason, but most people never bother reading them. I can’t count the number of times I’ve given out specific, clear directions and people either ignored them, misread them, or lost them.
And you’d think that it’s second nature and common sense to always check your work, yet so many people fail to do this every single day. Rushing, not thinking about what they’re doing, taking shortcuts, and disregarding protocols causes so many unnecessary headaches and fallouts. Why don’t more people realize this and take ownership of their work?
Why Are So Many People Bad At Their Jobs?!
Ok, I got my rant out so I feel a bit better now, but I know there will still be more days when I want to pull my hair out because of some idiot who is terrible at his/her job. What can we do to avoid bad experiences with people who have the above issues?
- Refuse to accept crappy customer service
- Take pictures and save whatever proof you can
- Escalate to their boss or their boss’s boss
- Write about your bad experiences on Yelp, Facebook, Twitter, etc.
- Don’t delay firing someone if they are causing too many issues
- Draft and sign contracts, and sign revisions if things change
- Know your rights and take legal action if necessary
- Research and do background checks before hiring anyone
- Utilize fraud protection to get your money back if a business or contractor cheats you
Untemplaters, why are so many people bad at their jobs?! How often do you deal with problem employees and crappy customer service? What’s the lamest excuse or lie someone has given you? How did you resolve one of your worst experiences with an incompetent worker?
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