Is one of your coworkers driving you crazy? Perhaps a client or a vendor you’re working with completely dropped the ball. Ugh! Why are so many people bad at their jobs?!
Playwright Jean-Paul Sartre has a famous line in one of his plays, “Hell is other people.” Ha! That quote is spot on, especially in the context of work. Too often people make things overcomplicated and frustrating. Or they simply don’t do what they are supposed to do.
We’ve all had days when other people didn’t show up, made a mistake, or did something that caused unnecessary stress. It truly sucks when our stress goes up because of other people. So, let’s get some answers to why are so many people bad at their jobs?
And if you are bad at your job and want to leave, learn how to negotiate a severance package! This way, you can walk away with money in your pocket and do something you’re good at.
Hell Is Other People
When I originally wrote this post in 2014, I was so fed up with some of my colleagues. Their bad choices and errors led to problems that impacted my clients. And because of those problems, I got yelled at by angry clients. It was maddening.
But even after leaving that company, I still run into so many scenarios where I just start shaking my head about how so many people are bad at their jobs! No wonder why some bosses get so frustrated with their employees!
When I was a manager, I had to deal with a wide range of employees. I took my responsibility very seriously. And I tried very hard to support each of my team members while also protecting the needs of the business.
Unfortunately, there are a lot of managers in jobs across the globe who don’t show this type of care or compassion.
Many have no clue what their employees are doing or how they are performing. If you’re unaware, indifferent, and unable to properly support a team, things can quickly spiral out of control. These type of folks make doing business difficult and inefficient.
So, why are so many people bad at their jobs? Here are 5 main reasons I’ve come up with based on several of my recent experiences.
5 Reasons So Many People Are Bad At Their Jobs
1. Total Incompetence
I worked with a guy once who simply didn’t have the skills nor the brain power to do his job. He definitely tried hard and was nice. But, at the end of the day, he just couldn’t perform the skills required for his job. Keep in mind this was after extensive group training, meetings, and one-on-one training.
Unfortunately, in the end he was let go. It sucks to be in a situation when someone genuinely wants to improve, but can’t meet the job requirements in a reasonable time frame. But, sometimes people just don’t have the ability to meet the expectations and requirements of their role. And their manager has to recognize this and take action.
What’s worst though are people who are totally incompetent and have no desire to learn and improve their skills. Sure, 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 learn from their own errors, that’s unacceptable incompetence. I had to let a guy go for that once. It wasn’t a pleasant experience. Nor did I want to have to put him through that. But things got so much better once he was gone.
Surely you’ve worked with or hired someone who ended up being incompetent. It’s unfortunate, but a reality that explains why some people just aren’t good at their jobs.
2. MIA And Unreachable
Why else are so many people bad at their jobs? Because they don’t show up when they’re supposed to! Many have turned into quiet quitters who just do the bare minimum. Not good during a recession!
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.
For example. 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.
Sadly, I suspected he had a drug and alcohol addiction. He had a state required ignition interlock device installed in his car due to prior DUIs. And, it really seemed like he went on binges as soon as he got any kind of money in his hands. Needless to say, his didn’t complete his contract. We had to let him go after giving him way more second chances than he deserved.
It’s unfortunate when some people are so disrespectful that they are several hours tardy to work. Or, they don’t even 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. I certainly have on multiple occasions. It is incredibly frustrating and annoying. You simply can’t get ahead trying to conduct business that way.
3. Lies And Excuses
Now let’s look at another big reason why so many people are bad at their jobs. It’s 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 worked with never owned up to her mistakes. She always tried to pass the buck and put the blame on someone else. It was only a matter of time before she was let go.
Here are some of the worst and most annoying excuses and lies I’ve heard from people:
- “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 are late 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 team!)
- “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 people own up to their 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
4. Bad Attitude
We’ve all interacted with people who have terrible attitudes at work. They don’t give a crap 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. We all know plenty of entry level and middle management employees who are angry at the world and have terrible customer service. It’s a wonder 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. I was so annoyed. She knew exactly where she was headed, but she intentionally made it difficult for me to get the answer.
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 offer 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 left a bad review for the restaurant on Yelp and will never go there again.
5. Careless & Can’t Follow Directions
The last main answer to why are so many people bad at their jobs? is 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 that didn’t get followed. People either ignored them, misread them, or lost them.
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 you’re doing, taking shortcuts, and disregarding protocols causes so many unnecessary headaches and fallouts. I wish more people would realize this and take ownership of their work.
Why Are So Many People Bad At Their Jobs?!
The manager in me will always get frustrated when I have to deal with someone who is bad at their job. And now that I’m a parent, I want to instill a strong work ethic in my children. I strongly hope they grow up to be kind, productive members of society.
But even as much as we work hard to be good at our own jobs, we’re still going to come across people who are bad at theirs. So 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 the 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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