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Incompetents on huge you know any?

(101 Posts)

Can't go into what's inspired this post as I'll rant and out myself, but I'm just SICK of encountering people in my line of work (education) who are on high pay but are utterly incompetent. I don't mean in the sense that they need a bit of support - more downright lazy, negligent and dishonest.

An example - a previous boss of mine never quite seemed to be on top of things. She was a head teacher but always gave the impression of just not having much of a clue what was going on. She then left and her office was taken over by new Head. Virtually every neatly-labelled file on her shelves turned out to be empty or stuffed full of junk. Nothing was in place, including vital paper work. Lesson observations have vanished. Performance management paperwork missing. She was on 60k.

Really struggling with work at the moment. Anyone else know examples of massive incompetence that will cheer me up?

Eminorsustained Sat 14-Jun-14 21:48:06

politicians ?

Bathsheba Sat 14-Jun-14 21:38:12

I used to work in IT for some fairly important oil companies... Higher up you go, less use you become....

Chief Execs with no idea what their email address is. Their login password is a mystery to them.

Heads of drilling dept, with huge budgets.... Trying to fill in a form for a new member of staff.... Asking me if they might need a car park pass...

You can't even just argue that IT might not be their "thing" - it's impossible to work in the industry without a huge amount of very expensive cutting edge tech. Frankly the management have the IT skills that my Dad had just before he retired, and he had actively avoided IT as a metallurgist all his life.

AlerieVelaryon Sat 14-Jun-14 21:35:33

Sorry was off mumsnet all day. I do not want to say where I work (not central gov dept) Iggly This person has passed me over for promotion and given the role to someone with much less experience who has an awful sick record, but I know in my heart my feelings are not due to sour grapes.

AnnaLegovah Sat 14-Jun-14 21:15:22

I know and have known plenty. Some nice enough just a bit bumbling, others (like the current head honcho of where I work) are nasty, vile people always looking for someone, anyone to blame for their own mistakes. I wont say anything else, if I out myself it'll be the end of me.

When first in the job market a few years back I worked at a library. The man in charge was the most incompetent person I've ever seen. He was a few years from retirement so would spend the whole day asleep in his office. He honestly did nothing at all but was on about 50k. We never saw him except just before closing time. At 5:20pm every evening he would wander into the main area and stand reading the newspapers, just to make sure we didn't close up a second before half 5. Man was an arse of the highest order but as he was so close to retirement they let him get away with it.

Iggly Sat 14-Jun-14 21:05:56

Alerie is this a central gov organisation?

AlerieVelaryon Sat 14-Jun-14 10:43:29

I must be careful what I say as I will out myself, but in a public sector organisation there is an associate director who knows so little about the technical aspects of the department he/she manages he/she cannot possibly be in a position to assure the board that all is well/not well.

it is very frustrating as an underling I am constantly telling him/her things (including stuff I have previously told him/her verbally or by email) to get the response "well I never knew that". He/she admitted to me that they often switch off in meetings or simply do not understand what is being discussed.

For the good of the people who use the service I do rescue things but is disturbing that this person gets away with simply not knowing/understanding.

Any advice on outing such persons will be gratefully accepted.

pastthemission Sat 14-Jun-14 10:33:14

There is a class element in Britain where naice middle class people get govt jobs on big salaries because they have the right accent or went to the right school etc. It is still there despite the wide boy Alan Sugar element in business.

Oh god yes LizLimone - I'm in charity sector/HE crossover and we are overrun by bad managers who band together with the laziest senior academic staff because they are all the "right sort" of baby boomers together, and all look after each other. Younger staff, particularly women, get the worst deal (as they are not wealthy enough to be the right sort and should have a husband to look after them really don't you know (one of my colleagues was actually told by her manager that it didn't matter that she was working for a pittance as she should have a husband who should "keep" her angry) Yet they are all massively incompetent. My ultimate boss is a man who has basically had a career in a rather naice bit of the civil service because his wife's father got him a job and he was a white man with the right accent in the 1960s. He is actually rather hard of understanding, has no people skills, is a massive sexist and terrible snob, falls asleep in meetings, never gets anything right, can't send an email without there being an error in it, can't remember anyone's name, manages to offend people wherever he goes, the list goes on - but he is paid 75k for trundling around the place creating messes that someone else has to clear up, and aided and abetted by a tranche of other senior managers who are only slightly less incompetent, but whose interest it is to keep everything exactly the same. <weeps with frustration>

catgirl1976 Sat 14-Jun-14 10:04:04

Several people at my work. On six figure salaries. Couldn't run a race. hmm

Ellisisland Sat 14-Jun-14 10:01:27

God yeah I work in HR and could weep when I see some of the wage packets some idiots earn. I have shouted it in meetings till I am blue in the face but being a people manager is a separate skillset and my company has a habit of thinking 'they do their job well let's promote them' ignoring the fact they have no people skills and then act surprised when their team implodes several months done the line! And breathe ....

dingit Sat 14-Jun-14 09:58:48

Colleague of dhs. And conveniently spends much of the school holidays 'working from home'. Christened by us - nob head.

bigkidsdidit Sat 14-Jun-14 09:54:50

This is not a 'uniquely British problem'! Blimey. People are incompetent all over the world. I used to work in Spain and it was far, far worse there!

thenightsky Sat 14-Jun-14 09:51:23

Many years ago, when I was a little green student nurse who expressed suprise that a particularly nasty incompent nurse was given a lovely cushy management job, I was told by an older, wiser ward sister.... 'that's how it goes in the NHS, promoted up out of harm's way where she cannot hurt any patients'.

amimagic Sat 14-Jun-14 08:47:11

I work for the local authority and don't recognise this.

I 'm a first line manager and stupidly busy, my boss is more stupidly busy with really heavy stuff, and our head of service works very long hours and does his emails late into the night and genuinely seems very sharp and competent.

splendide Sat 14-Jun-14 08:25:06

My old boss was a bit like this. Actually really lovely guy but didn't do a great deal of work. He used to just hang out in his office watching TV mostly. He's moved on and his replacement works very hard.

FiveGoMadInDorset Sat 14-Jun-14 07:17:46

Yes, but the little people are revolting, watch this space.

ManchesterAunt Sat 14-Jun-14 07:17:33

My husband's thick colleague - who actually reports to my DH. Recently found to be earning twice my DH's wages!!! shock

Time to insist on a payrise.....

Iggly Sat 14-Jun-14 07:15:59

I don't think this is a public sector thing. Why would it be?

dementedma Sat 14-Jun-14 07:10:33

I am lucky to work in a small company with a wonderful boss and genuine leader. ( sick with worry that job is under threat now because of other issues). Boss gives us all freedom to do our jobs the way we want to (within reason) but is always there with a gentle nudge back in the right direction if I start veering too wildly off track. He has encouraged us all to be a lot more confident in making key decisions - " better a wrong decision than no decision" and supports us every step of the way. I have worked for corporate wankbadgers before and this guy is a breath of fresh air. I think I might have a teeny weeny crushette!

Littleturkish Sat 14-Jun-14 06:47:59

I'm in teaching and a good friend of mine just had another promotion and I just have to scratch my head and wonder why.

She's lovely, but can't manage people, she has no original ideas, made some pretty dubious decisions impacting on the future of students and didn't intervene when someone (admittedly above her) was making some bad decisions.

I got a 'we want to keep you but keep you teaching promotion'. Poor teachers get performance managed out at my school. She would never have been promoted at my school.

Poor leadership at the top trickles down, maybe?

LizLimone Sat 14-Jun-14 01:58:38

My previous job at a university was full of incompetents, mostly at the senior administrative level, my direct bosses, but also some professors who were coasting along on 10-years old research. My direct boss was terrible, on about 65k, did nothing all day but talk rubbish, read the news online and go to pointless meetings.

He was a white middle-aged man though so no-one questioned his competence. In the end he blamed me for any problems, kept his job while I ended up having to leave under a cloud! Lesson learned: never work for an idiot again.

I agree with a pp that British management is uniquely bad, especially in the public sector. There is a class element in Britain where naice middle class people get govt jobs on big salaries because they have the right accent or went to the right school etc. It is still there despite the wide boy Alan Sugar element in business.

UK public sector management jobs are largely welfare for the middle class, as I used to say in my UK public sector management days! Now I'm living in the US there are still bad managers of course and people promoted above their abilities but most people are grafters here, they put the hours in. I don't see the same sense if entitlement that I encountered among British managers, this idea that 'I'm a naice middle class person, I DESERVE 60k p.a. and a company car because I'm worth it!'.

williaminajetfighter Fri 13-Jun-14 23:54:15

Just to add an example my last manager was focused on her status and her interest was on the staff/managers above her. So much so that she refused to talk or acknowledge any staff 2 grades below her. She was a 10. She would talk to a 9 but no one 8 or below. She would not say hello to them or even nod at them if she passed them by. They were invisible to her.

She was recently promoted from an 80k pa job to a 150k. Nice

williaminajetfighter Fri 13-Jun-14 23:49:31

I see this all the time but particularly in advertising (worked in this sector in my 20s). If you're good looking and chatty and can charm clients you can move up quickly. Who cares if you don't actually know what you're talking about when you can win them over with adjargonspeak!!

Having worked for a local authority I can tell you there are no worse managers. Trained in management by equally bad managers, dumb, wildly overpaid. Let's just say that local authorities don't recruit from Harvard so you have pretty mediocre people settling in and moving up and often they stay long enough to take advantage of gaps in staffing to move up to the point, as others have noted, of not being able to do the work.

Seen the same in Higher Education. Let's be honest -/ who really wants to go into HE admin? The managers are overpaid, half of them are job sharing or on wierd part time contracts and never around and ultimately they care about how they look from above not below.

Time and time again I'm always surprised that it's the managers who don't care about or support their staff and who have a stony disregard for anything but how they are perceived that get ahead. I keep thinking these managers will be 'found out' but time and again the narcissists, overconfident and the arrogants get promoted every time over the hard working, the considerate and the mucking-in managers. I've come to the conclusion that the latter are seen to be too 'soft' and not hard enough for senior management roles.. But the Idiots are bulletproof and can hack it at the top.

Viva la revolucion...

CrotchMaven Fri 13-Jun-14 23:37:07

I totally agree that it's not easy to get the role I describe. And I thank my lucky stars every single day that I have one. I am not that well paid (I know that my skills should be rewarded at significantly higher levels), but I adore pretty much every minute of my day. I get to play with the train set, as I say to my boss. And because the structure is flat, so do my reports, pretty much.

wafflyversatile Fri 13-Jun-14 23:22:03

Yep, but not just managers, just having whatever responsibility but no autonomy over how to do the job. I like working for smaller orgs because I have more autonomy over how I do my job.

BikeRunSki Fri 13-Jun-14 23:20:42

I was referring to public sector in my previous post.

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