One Gaffe at a Time – Step 2

Step 2: Came to believe that senior management, thinking greater of themselves, could restore the hierarchy to complacency.

I have been trying to get through the 13 Steps of Incompetents Anonymous (IA) as quickly as possible, but my previous three sponsors kept telling me to slow down. Fortunately, I just found an online IA sponsor that believes I will be ready to start Step 2 as soon as my check clears. I also hope I can use his digital signature to verify attendance at court-ordered recovery meetings. Does anyone know if one-on-one texting sessions can be substituted for group sharing sessions?

Step 2 is one of the easier steps for a recovering incompetent to complete. With Step 2, we are not searching internally for personal recovery, but rather focusing our attention on senior management and their inability to restore malfunctioning hierarchies to some semblance of competence. As discussed in the brown-nose nose-diving effect, there is an inevitable downward spiral of incompetence permeating the upper echelons of many of the world’s corporate ladders. Also, keep in mind that Step 2 refers to your existing management’s ability to restore the hierarchy to complacency. In other words, we are asking if current management, (i.e. the very same group that caused or allowed the mess to happen in the first place), has the ability to bring a semblance of competence back to the organisation.

Bottom line – If you are waiting for senior management to circumvent corporate calamity, then don’t hold your breath. I should know because I am a survivor of corporate mayhem and have the employment insurance claims and layoff notices to prove it.

The process of bureaucratic recovery generally starts when a newly appointed senior manager proclaims the need to think outside of the box or warns of the need to make tough decisions. These pronouncements are followed by a series of focus groups, external consultations, rebranding, reorganisations, and all kinds of money and time wasting activities. The process ends with huge fanfare and the release of the updated organisational chart that was pre-approved by senior management prior to the start of the corporate review.

Although the above may sound like a “glass half empty” view of corporate efficiencies, I should note that sometimes things can accidently work out for the better. The “glass half full” scenario does not require direct intervention from senior management but may involve sheer luck, legal interventions, management bonuses, senior level severance packages, or external auditors.

I implore you to be vigilant in pursuing Step 2, watch for the warning signs, and stay clear of the layoff zone. If management even hints at the need to think outside of the box, then they are looking for someone to blame. If they suggest a willingness to make tough decisions, then they are looking for someone to fire. If they claim to be working in the best interest of the company, then they are about to give those that question their authority a layoff notice, those that support them a promotion, and themselves a bonus.

Damn. I just lost another sponsor. Turns out what I thought was an online IA support group was actually a robotic Artificial Intelligence (AI) self-help website. That explains my sponsor’s weird voice. My first hint was when I tried to prepay for my Step 13 session and noticed that the site only supported 12 steps. What would IA recovery be without Step 13?

Step 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?”

Future columns will discuss my journey through the IA recovery process. Until then, feel free to view the inaugural IA meeting, learn about Incompetent Anonymous, read the Audacity Prayer and 12+1 Steps, or become familiar with IA’s additional support groups.

Dr. StrangeJob

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

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