Re: How to succeed at failing

This started off as just a comment to Shannon Quinn’s post “How to succeed at failing” but it got far too long due to my propensity for verbal diarrhea. ;)

Case Study 1

If you’ve ever seen the movie, Men In Black

Jay, the potential recruit (Will Smith) asks :
“Why the big secret? People are smart. They can handle it.”

Agent-K (Tommy Lee Jones) replies :
“A person is smart. People are dumb, panicky, dangerous, animals and you know it.”

You say “Napoleon’s” words fly in the face of everything you’ve been led to believe of the fraternity. But he is only doing what the fraternity expects of him. Protect the dangerous panicky animal at all cost.
The organization has completely lost sight of what it is and its purpose. But this is nothing more than the byproduct of its own popularity and growth. The original purpose of founding fraternities died out at least a century ago. The members today only exist to validate the organization well past its expiration date and ensure the survival of said organization. The individual members themselves, sadly, fall by the wayside.

I don’t mean to demean something personal to you and what you still seem to hold dear, and I think it isn’t the fraternity itself that has your interest, it’s the people from across the country you’ve been able to meet. But as far as I can see, fraternities and sororities have become Jabba the Hutt. They exist to gorge themselves upon the fresh recruits and control vast influence based on historical roots.

Brotherhood (or sisterhood as is the case with sororities) is a marketing slogan in the same vein as…
“Come work for Jubba! You will have status. You will go places. You will meet people. You will be rich.”

Well, some of that may be true, albeit vastly exaggerated by recruiters, what are you paying for in return? A lot more than a simple fee.

But this isn’t unique to fraternities or sororities. The plague of self-validation is endemic to all organizations where the members themselves have lost sight of whatever it is they hoped to accomplish once they reach a position of authority. It went from “You will meet people” to you will be eaten by the rancor if you don’t behave or do what we want. And if Jabba is any hint, it doesn’t take much to be eaten.

I’m happy for you that you did get some of what was advertized, but I think you paid far too high a price for it. Forget the fees, I’m talking about mutual respect.

Case Study 2

…She needs to go jump in a pool…

This is a classic case of going from knowing nothing to knowing little. Right now, this little knowledge has made her more dangerous to the project itself than to your career prospects. When whoever they hire will make a mess of things (as I doubt they would run into another Joomla insider), she will come to realise the true cost of cheap labour.

Maybe she hired Joanna Gadel… Har! Har!

Project managers in the real world (at least in the “real world” I live in) rarely, if ever, are required to have any technical knowledge of what the devil it is that they are managing. This is because most project owners are also clueless idiots and post the afore mentioned idiots at critical positions.

The double-ignorance invariably (my new favourite word) leads to spectacular failiures from which the project manager, and sometimes the whole project iteself, never recovers. I know because I’ve been hired to be the replacement project manager to “rescue” several such failures.

You have two options here…

  1. Send a rebuttle detailing the true limits of the event horizon surrounding her ignorance.
  2. Considering how your hands are already full, succinctly recommend that she get bowed… To put it politely.

Either option, however, will not prevent the inevitable failure of the project. Maybe you will be lucky enough to see her face when she needs to beg someone else as she has burned her bridges with you.


Of course these people are wrong. But the ultimate slap in the face to anyone who gets in your way is success. In spite of their interference. And by all means… Call them on their BS when you see it.


4 thoughts on “Re: How to succeed at failing

  1. You know…

    It’s really nice to meet someone who just “gets” it all. I’m certainly not saying this to inflate any semblance of an ego you might have, but seriously: it’s very refreshing to know that, at the very least, someone else is insane just how I am. :P

  2. It’s easy to be disheartened when you think you’re the only insane(or sane) person in the world. Don’t worry…

    There are more people like us out there in the world than you might think ;)

  3. Pingback: Not to beat on a dead horse… « Theatre of Consciousness

  4. Pingback: Not to beat on a dead horse… »

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