A Lifetime Working with Idiots & How to Survive – Chap. 1

Chapter One – “Don’t Worry, Be Happy”
In every life, we have some trouble. When you worry, you make it double.

Call me Ishmael.

The sentence above is one of the most recognizable first lines in all of literature. My college English Professor would be proud of me. While that sentence has absolutely no bearing on the content of this book, it does meet the “number one” requirement for Creative Writing 101; the first sentence must command the reader’s attention. Now that I have yours, let’s begin.

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines an idiot as: a stupid person; a fool – imbecile – blockhead – dunce – nitwit – dolt – moron – jerk – dimwit – airhead – simpleton – and on and on. I believe the word idiot has more synonyms than any other word in the English language. My favorite idiot quote goes: “Suppose you were an idiot, and suppose you were a member of Congress; but I repeat myself.” – Mark Twain.

For those of you old enough to remember the opening monologue for the television series Dragnet, “the stories you are about to hear are true. The names have been changed to protect the innocent.” The stories in this book are analogous. This book was written on the premise that you, the reader, are not an idiot. However, if, during the course of your reading, you discover that you possess traits of idiocy, save yourself and, even more importantly, save those around you from you. This will be a perfect opportunity to redeem yourself. After all, nobody’s perfect. Wait! Hold on a minute. That’s one of the idiots we’ll cover later in this book.

In reality, while some may differ, not everyone in the workplace is an idiot. Some organizations have more than others. Some companies import their idiots; other companies home grow theirs. I have never been at a company that didn’t have at least a few. Now, on the flip-side, I have met and worked with some exceptional people. These folks are rare. When you do discover one, make them part of your work-circle. Not only will this help you in your career, it’ll help you maintain your sanity. The average worker is neither an idiot nor exceptional. While you may strive to become exceptional, at the same time, you should avoid, at all cost, becoming an idiot. That’s where this book comes in.

Forrest Gump’s mother put it rather nicely, “Stupid is as stupid does”. Being inept doesn’t make you an idiot, it makes you inept. Being naïve makes you naïve, etc. The personality types I cover in these pages are “purposeful”. By that, I mean deliberate in their thoughts and actions to cause harm. While idiots are few in number, they can cause great havoc.

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