Incompetents Anonymous – One Gaffe at a Time

Audacity Prayer: Grant me the authority to eliminate those that will not follow, the ability to terrorize those that remain, and the audacity not to care about the difference.

Hello, my name is Dr StrangeJob, a recovering incompetent and founding member of Incompetents Anonymous (IA). My recent defeat in a local mayoralty election forced me to hit rock bottom. I admit that I am powerless over incompetence and that my election campaign was unmanageable, but I have a selfish desire to overcome my incompetence in time for the 2020 municipal elections. Future columns will discuss my personal journey through the IA recovery process as I search for competence, spiritual enlightenment, and heavily sponsored campaign ads, but first, some background on IA.

IA is a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength and hope with each other that they may solve their common problem and help others to recover from incompetence. The only requirement for IA membership is a desire to stop being incompetent.

The IA movement borrows heavily from the traditional 12 step recovery process, while taking into account the unique issues surrounding the recovery needs of incompetents. The Audacity Prayer, for example, is to Incompetents Anonymous what the Serenity Prayer is to Alcoholics Anonymous. The IA triangle also borrows from the traditional Alcoholics Anonymous triangle, but rather than emphasise AA’s three-part solution to addiction (unity, recovery, and service), the IA triangle reflects the three key personality traits most often associated with an incompetent’s mindset (denial, immunity, and self-service).

These unique characteristics of incompetents, as compared to addicts, inspired the IA movement:

  1. Addicts must hit a personal “rock bottom” before authentic recovery can begin. For addicts, this bottom is often very traumatic and obvious. Incompetents tend to hold senior positions in a hierarchy and are often oblivious to the ills of their own incompetence. An oblivious incompetent is, oviously, a more difficult nut to crack.
  2. Traditional recovery programs emphasise the anonymous aspect of the process. Incompetents are not anonymous to anyone other than themselves.
  3. A functional addict can still be a competent worker, but the concept of a “functional incompetent” is an oxymoron.
  4. Challenges inherent in dealing with incompetents has necessitated the inclusion of an additional step in the IA recovery process. The added step makes IA the word’s first 12 +1 step self-help recovery program.

Like an addict, a single incompetent can have a devastating effect on friends and family, not to mention a demoralising effect on an entire organisation. Fortunately, IA has developed its own family of support groups. Similar to Al-Anon, IA-Anon supports anyone whose life is affected by someone else’s incompetence. Ala-Tweet, not to be confused with Alateen, is an online version of IA-Anon designed for the younger tech savvy sufferer.

IA also envisioned the need for institutional and work related support groups. The adage that your workplace can “drive you to drink” receives its own support group in ACOI (Alcoholic Colleagues of Incompetents). Although there is apparent overlap, ACOI should not be confused with either ACA (ACoA) or ACOA. Lastly, IAA (Incompetent Arsehole Anonymous) addresses the dual infliction of incompetence combined with an extreme personality disorder associated with many of our senior IA members. IAA is proving popular with existing members working in the political arena and is expected to become the flagship program for IA.

Please join me in future columns as I struggle through the IA recovery process—one gaffe at a time.

IA Final Logo A

 Twelve +1 Steps of Incompetents Anonymous

  1. We admitted we were powerless over incompetence – that our hierarchy had become uncontrollable.
  2. Came to believe that senior management, thinking greater of themselves, could restore the hierarchy to complacency.
  3. Made a directive that all minions turn their will and lives over to management care.
  4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of our minions.
  5. Admitted to senior management, to HR, and to all fellow employees the exact nature of their wrongs.
  6. Were entirely ready to remove all defective characters in our way.
  7. Condescendingly demanded minions to remove their inadequacies.
  8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to downsize them all.
  9. Make direct attacks on all who threaten us whenever possible, except when to do so could hurt us or our inner circle.
  10. Continue to take personnel inventory and when they are wrong promptly admit it.
  11. Sought through fear and intimidation to enforce our will on all minions, paying only for the knowledge necessary to increase personal power or the authority to carry that out.
  12. Having had a superiority complex as a result of these steps, we continue to carry the message of inferiority to our minions and to practice these principles in all extramarital affairs.
  13. If you have sincerely worked through the preceding 12 steps and still remain incompetent, then you are basically screwed. Your only recourse will be to follow the advice of Dr Wilbur Swain (Slapstick by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.) – “Why don’t you take a flying fuck at a rolling doughnut? Why don’t you take a flying fuck at the mooooooooooooon?”

Dr. StrangeJob

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