One Gaffe at a Time – Step 5

Step 5: Admitted to senior management, to HR, and to all fellow employees the exact nature of their wrongs.

My Incompetence Anonymous (IA) recovery process is taking too dam long. The initial plan was to whip through two or three steps a week, declare myself cured, and start a speaking tour. Six months later and I am still working on Step 5 without a book deal in sight. There has to be a better way.

I am doing everything I am supposed to do, hell, I even took the geographical cure. For the uninitiated, a geographical cure involves moving to a new city, town, country, or hemisphere with the promise of a fresh start free of incompetence. In my case, I didn’t technically move but simply stopped travelling to work. By not going to work, I eliminated exposure to the clear majority of incompetence in my life.

I did, however, find completing the resentments inventory rather easy. I mean, how difficult is it to list all of the people, places, and things from your past that did not live up to your expectations or treat you as expected. Hell, I have been developing that list for years. I have always been ready to remove all defective characters standing in my way and can honestly say that I don’t hold resentments to any of those assholes I used to work for.

Keep in mind that Step 5 may be the last chance you get to impress your peers with all of the crazy stuff you did when you were an active incompetent. Agreeing to go to a few meetings may be worth the price of a free pass for all of that shit you got away with as a practicing incompetent. It’s like being assigned “special projects” status at work. Everyone knows you messed up, but your friends in power keep you on the payroll anyway.

Sure, it can be tough sharing a moral inventory with another human being, especially when they start crying after meticulously listing their deficiencies. I even had someone take a swing at me for telling them what their spouse was really up to on meeting nights. Apparently, their spouse fell for an initiation prank dealing with the need to give it away in order to keep it, but hey, I almost fell for that one myself.

Still, I need to find a more efficient way to finish up these steps. Perhaps I will take the advice of an AA friend who found themselves in a similar situation. They declared themselves agnostic and stated that any AA step concerning a higher power was not applicable to their individualized recovery and eliminated seven of AA’s twelve steps. I wonder how many IA steps I can eliminate if I declare myself competent?

Ok, perhaps, maybe, I could be missing the point of Step 5.  After all, we are not cured of incompetence. What we have is a daily reprieve contingent on the maintenance of our competent condition. I will continue to keep coming back one gaffe at a time.

Dr. StrangeJob

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

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