July 21, 2010

How to be unprofessional

Brace yourself, Blog, I'm in total Griping Mode today. I am annoyed.  Very annoyed.  Maybe venting will help.

I am absolutely staggered by the sorts of behaviors one encounters in the workplace. I've always take my own professionalism for granted, thinking most of my work style was nothing special: just a combination of courtesy, practicality, and common sense. Apparently I was wrong about that. At any rate, observing the things I see, I find myself remarkably qualified to write a little guide on how to be unprofessional.

First a disclaimer:  To protect the innocent (myself included there, LOL), I ask that no one infer I speak of any particular person, business, or field.  The behaviors below are things I've seen done both to myself and other people throughout my time in the workforce. The occasional commission of these acts is only human. It's when they are chronic and entrenched that a company can really be affected.

So, Blog, here we go:

1. Make no attempt to be organized. Ignore your appointments calendar, lose track of paperwork, forget things you have said and done--there are all sorts of creative ways to hinder your own productivity. And bonus, you will also hinder others at the same time! Especially key is to have your email box be completely unorganized and backlogged. Why be able to find emails when you can make people resend the lost ones to you instead?

2. Be late to meetings or doublebook yourself. There's no better way to decrease productivity on your workplace than wasting the time of a whole group of people at once. But don't limit this concept to big meetings. Ask someone to come to your office, then step out to go to the bathroom or be involved in conversation with another coworker when the invitee arrives.

3. Don't take notes or make lists. That might interfere with your forgetting to do things, or help you get the facts straight! Why should you have to expend that extra effort, when you can always fall back on "I forgot." Or better still, "I don't remember that." Or best of all, "No one told me that."

4. Ignore voice mails and emails. Make other people have to track whether or not they have heard back from you, as well as take the time to repeat their communications. Never respond or supply what is needed before you've been asked multiple times.

5. Don't master the basic skills required of your job. Your ignorance is the perfect reason to make others handle tasks on your behalf, so you don't have to take the time yourself. And why go through the tutorials or take a seminar or other training when you can bug others to show you how to do things? Then, don't fail to forget what they showed you as soon as possible. Better still, get out of doing work by not knowing how, so others will have to step in for you.

6. Don't refer tasks to others that you don't have the ability to handle. Better to do a shoddy job than reveal that you recognize others are more capable of doing this particular assignment. (Does this seem contradictory to #5? Actually, it's perfectly possible to do both types of things simultaneously!) Likewise, give no particular credence to input from someone because they speak from expertise or experience. You know better than they do!

7. Diligently ignore the desire of coworkers to get work done and progress with projects. When someone is meeting with you, take business as well as personal calls, answer emails, look for things, or discuss unimportant and irrelevant matters rather than the task at hand, so they are completely unproductive for the duration. Likewise, do your best to be unavailable when your input is required to move a project forward. Be on vacation, sick, running errands, or socializing when others need you.

8. Avoid having reasonable or logical expectations, both for yourself and others. Promise to meet deadlines you can't accommodate, and make demands without regard to the actual requirements for execution. Double bonus this way: not only will work not get done when expected, but people will have to waste time, sometimes making excuses, sometimes trying to demonstrate why assignments are impossible.

9. Neglect to share information with coworkers that will help them do their jobs. It helps to assure those in charge that you will pass on said information so they assume it's taken care of and don't do it themselves. You want to make sure there's no possible way the coworker will find out those helpful facts!

10. Pretend to know things you actually don't know, and/or to have completed tasks you've actually left undone. You don't want to look bad, do you? It's much better to have people catch you in falsehoods, and lose their trust in your word.

11. Undermine the authority of others. This works best if you give someone authority to be responsible for a decision, then later tell others that the decision they made was wrong. Don't discuss the decision privately with the person first before you criticize or reverse it; much better to catch them blind-sided so they look bad in front of co-workers.

12. Give superiors false, negative information about the job performance of those who report to you. If you're caught at it by said underlings, don't correct what you said to your superiors. Hopefully the underlings don't ascribe to #11 and will be afraid enough of you not to report to your bosses!

I'm sure I could come up with a few more, Blog, but being this negative can quickly cross the line from therapeutic venting to bummer-inducing pessimism. I'll close with a more positive thought: it's amazing that so many businesses succeed in spite of all this, and I think a testimony to the undauntable power of capitalism. Meanwhile, a person can always just be glad they get a paycheck.

But I hate to think what would become of the workforce if we were all reduced to looking at our vocations that way.

EVEN CHEERIER CLOSING THOUGHT:  Our next post is the Big 100th Post for This Blog!  Dare we dream that the occasion will be celebrated with another awesome interview by the irrepressable Blog?  How could he possibly top the interview with the Internet we had for our 50th?  For the answers to these and other questions neither you nor we can think of to ask, tune in next post!

No comments:

Post a Comment