Wednesday, May 28, 2014

10 Signs Your Coworkers Are Useless

I work by myself, for myself.  I do this because the years I spent working with others in a corporate environment revealed to me the depths of human stupidity.  Countless instances of thickheaded blunders made me roll my eyes in disgust.  I'll boil down the general trends into ten signs that show you where the stupid burns.

1) Your coworkers don't understand the value of money.  Financial service sector workers are egregiously bad at managing money.  Maybe it's because they're around so much of it every day that they think it comes in an endless gravy train.  I remember coworkers who spent money daily at the break room vending machine and the corner coffee shop.  That's a five dollar daily habit that blows over a thousand bucks a year.  I had another coworker who took a taxi to work every day.  I take Muni whenever I go downtown in San Francisco.  Her monthly transportation expenses were 20x larger than mine.  I achieved financial independence; if you can't figure out why, stop reading right now.  You're useless.

2) They worship process over results.  This is the sine qua non of government bureaucracies and corporations in oligopolistic market positions, with rare exceptions.  Winston Churchill begged us all to look at results sometimes but hardly anyone listens.  Cubicle residents would rather wear down the same ruts in the carpet year after year than stop to consider a course correction.  Process can be a very comfortable cocoon for the myopic in our species.  Getting results often requires making someone uncomfortable.

3) They have no career goals.  I remember one gal at "Baloney Goofball Imbeciles" (a major investment management firm, renamed) who took maybe twenty minutes a day to do her job.  She spent the rest of the time socializing.  Coworkers admired her for being on some kind of "fast track" because she was rotating laterally between easy jobs that paid little and had light workloads.  Consider just how lame everyone there must have been if she was their role model.

4) They earn little money.  Like it or not, money is a measuring stick of a human's contributions to society.  Life isn't fair and sometimes the most ignorant rock stars become multimillionaires.  Tough stuff.  The rest of us have to prove our abilities in a daily grind.  Those who can bust their humps get paid.  Those who expand their skills get paid more.  People who show little interest in either of those projects will be at subsistence level indefinitely.

5) They save little money.  This relates to #4 above.  Low-income earners can build wealth through diligent saving and frugal living.  High-income earners have an easier time building wealth but even they throw away money on frivolities.  I currently know several high earners in San Francisco's social circles who live like there's no tomorrow.  If they find themselves suddenly unemployed, they won't have a tomorrow.  My former bosses at "Baloney Goofball Imbeciles" would brag - yes, BRAG - about their own empty savings accounts.  I stopped listening to them when they encouraged me to spend all of my paycheck just to fit in with the work group.  Those idiots had nothing left to teach me.

6) They are ignorant of the world.  Intellectual activity brings personal growth.  This is a no-brainer for autodidacts like Yours Truly but most people have no brains.  Cubicle denizens would rather fill their spare time with rom-com movies instead of independent films, pro sports instead of performing arts, and fashion magazines instead of intellectual journals.

7) They don't know how to operate common work systems.  I worked with senior wealth managers at "You and BS" who did not understand how to use the firm's automated tools to construct portfolios, retrieve analytical reports, or create pitch books.  Senior supervisors at "Baloney Goofball Imbeciles" with years of experience did not know how to dig into their reporting systems for audit records.  I figured all of these things out within weeks of my hiring date.  Sticking out like a sore thumb helped get me fired from entry-level jobs.  I can't relate to so-called "professionals" who refuse to master the tools of their chosen profession.

8) They waste time.  During my first week at "Baloney Goofball Imbeciles" my supervisors took off in the middle of the work day for a three-hour shopping trip.  I was left to wonder how these people could say they earned their pay.  Other brokers at "You and BS" would pretend to work by eyeballing their wealthy family's money and then take off to go drinking in the early afternoon.  Time-wasting losers may think they have earned sloth status with past performance.  The only thing they really earn is contempt.

9) They are just plain dumb.  There is nothing snobby at all about judging people at least partly on IQ scores and other objective measures of intellect.  Smart people are job creators in a knowledge economy.  Dumb people are a drag on productivity.  Anti-intellectual coworkers belong in low-income occupations at the bottom of society yet somehow they work their way into cubicles and corner offices.  Cleaning up their messes, editing their typos, and covering their errors is for masochistic suckers.

10) They lack personal integrity.  I thought about listing this first but decided to leave the best for last.  Losers can find excuses for lying and cutting corners.  Karma eventually catches up to destructive people.  Trying to change a sociopath is always a waste of effort.  I put as much distance as possible between myself and liars once someone reveals their first instance of lying.

If you work with people who regularly exhibit these behaviors, it's time to find some new coworkers.  If everyone in the company acts this way, the stock may be a good short candidate.  There's always a better job somewhere else.  If the world runs out of better jobs, there's always self-employment.  Life is too short to spend even one working day with useless excuses for human beings.