How I Learned to Admire Those Incompetent Idiots Who Get Promoted Against All Odds

Today has been a big day for me at work. First, I won an award for excellent customer service, which had me a) wiping away tears and trying not to full-on cry, b) smiling incredibly big, c) reflecting on all those times I provided amazing service and how it’s finally paying off, and d) mentally giving the finger to all those times I had hot-headed customers get angry at me.

Second, and less exciting, but equally important to my retail career, I began front end management training, as I was newly promoted to a head cashier position two months ago. The training revolves in part around leadership qualities. I thought about the leaders at work whom I admired–the way they resolved issues, the way they talked to their associates, the way they inspired instead of commanding others. It led me to thinking about leaders I didn’t admire, and why. Sometimes you learn just as much from those you don’t want to be like. People like that–lazy, passing the buck, full of excuses, borderline apathetic, complainers–still seem to get promoted for some reason. And I don’t get it.

So I started thinking how they got there, and how they might have something I don’t.

Literally no one else is qualified Their thin resume is at least existent compared to some fresh-faced newbie or others who aren’t interested in the job.

Longevity If you stay at a job long enough, you’ll outlast all the mediocre and terrible people and by sheer default will get the job. Sometimes, it only takes an incredible amount of stubbornness and 8 years at one job. Too often I’ve gotten frustrated because I wasn’t promoted fast enough or moved to the department I wanted when I wanted. These morons’ ability to just slug through the day to day and not let it bother them is actually exceptional advice.

Be great at one single thing You may have a loud mouth, a crappy attitude, and you come back late from breaks and lunches, but if you’re one of only 3 certified employees in a particular department, you’ll be golden. If you know your department inside and out, better than anyone in the entire company, INCLUDING your bosses, you will be ass-kissed like no other. If you have the best sales in your region, management really can’t do squat. You can be awful in every other category, but if you excel, not put out average or above average effort, but if you EXCEL at one thing, you can climb the highest of ladders.

Dumb confidence By this I mean just having a ridiculous level of confidence in yourself and your performance. Even if it’s fake, mimicking the confidence level of some of these walnut brains is akin to actually being competent. If you’re wrong, still go for it. Go big or go home.

Bullshitting The ability to bullshit really should go without saying. Everybody in every position should know how to BS their boss and their customers or clients alike. People who get unjustly promoted are excellent at this. Watch their tactics–tone of voice, mannerisms, ability to talk a lot without saying anything, etc. It’s quite impressive. It helps you stay out of trouble and keep everyone happy.

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