Home > Ideas and Philosophy > TPOV: People in a Lousy Job

TPOV: People in a Lousy Job

I heard someone raise his voice in impatience over another person handling phone inquiries on movie schedules.  This seemingly simple task felt like a painful chore to go through for that individual.  That got me thinking about the context of the job that the other person on the line had.

It’s bad when someone who needs to serve you in some way is unreliable or incompetent in doing their job.  With poor service you’re not getting what’s due to you.  However it occurred to me that these people are not completely to blame.  There could be any number of reasons why the service delivered isn’t exemplary, or at the very least satisfactory.

Some possibilities crossed my mind:

  • The job might not exactly be a life-or-death type of assignment and, hence, the people hired for it, with all due respect, aren’t exactly the best of the best out there.
  • The people hired aren’t paid at a level commensurate with what’s expected from them because of the job itself and / or because of their own abilities.
  • If it feels like they don’t care, then perhaps they’re literally not paid to do so – or at least they’re not paid to care more than the minimum required.
  • The job itself doesn’t have any real and threatening consequences for failure to do at least satisfactory work.  Getting fired would be of little consequence, all things considered.

With neither incentive nor punishment to be excellent in what they do, and with relatively no painful consequences to deal with, it’s not surprising that mediocre performance is sufficient and all that’s expected from people in such situations.

Don’t expect a lot from people working in a lousy job.  It’s a waste of time to be exasperated; just deal with them as best as you can and move on.  And perhaps, someday, they will need the service of someone in a similarly lousy job, and experiencing the same pain they inflict on others in their own line of work, open their eyes to their own error and do something to correct it.

Categories: Ideas and Philosophy

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