What the fuck is even going on at most companies?

Work Sucks

Just a quick rundown:

Seriously, though. What the ever-loving shit is happening in these organizations? This isn’t complicated. Get people. Train the people. Respect the people. Give them opportunities. Make money as a result of their growth and the product/service’s growth.

There’s way too much bullshit and ineffectiveness at most places.

Could you imagine going to a CEO and telling him he had a 95% failure rate in his business? He’d smack you in the mouth. But you know what? He does. Hiring and strategy (see above). Now tell him, “Oh, you’ve got a 82% failure rate among the guys and women who manage your execution-level workers.” He jab a knife in your thigh. But it’s true. And we’ve all worked in those places.

An operational or fiscal failure rate of even 0.00001 would probably get an all-hands meeting called and people flown in from various locations, but the stuff above just keeps happening.

Now, I know automation is coming and the robots may take 1 in every 2 jobs. So people may phase out of work eventually, but probably not entirely and it’ll take a bit of time for that to be a reality in most orgs. We can get this right. But we don’t. We honestly don’t seem to care.

And here’s the true bullshit from the “thought leaders” and influencers and futurists and future of work experts: you absolutely cannot have a conversation about any of this stuff — what work should look like, etc. — without starting from the above. This is the reality for most people. No strategy, terrible managers, hiring whiffs left and right. Any discussion of where we could go has to begin by acknowledging how presently eff’ed we are in a lot of companies. See above.

/Sunday rant/

Want to make this better? Let’s do that.

Ted Bauer


  1. Hey Ted,

    As always, its entertaining to read your blog. The stats you provide seem difficult to believe. I am not contesting them, just wondering if “Oh, you’ve got a 82% failure rate among the guys and women who manage your execution-level workers.”would be an accurate statement to make. That aside, being an eternal optimist, I would like to find out how a mid level manager get this feedback to upper management, without the ‘knife to the thigh’. We all want things to change for better, some want to rise up to the challenge and make it happen… the question is how to devour this whale. I feel the answer should be closely tied to the lack of EQ in the hiring processes as well as the people we promote… but I digress.

    The question is, ‘Want to make it better? Lets do that…’ but how?

    • The answer IS tied to lack of EQ in the hiring process. We still hire on competence and functional expertise, even though job roles and business models shift on a literal dime in most companies. So why don’t we hire more broadly — i.e. good people who want to learn and maybe aren’t perfect at A but can learn B? I know that’s harder to assign a process to, but that’s probably what we need.

      • I think in addition to lack of EQ in the hiring process, there’s also a lack of IQ 🙂

        I think we THINK we hire for competence and functional expertise, but what really happens is we hire based on our perception of another’s competence and functional expertise, allowing ourselves in the process to be wowed by a good self-brander/marketer/white-collar magician who may or may not actually posses the qualities they profess to have.

        (a lot of this could, by the way, be the byproduct of our current overfocus on “branding” to the exclusion of substance—yes, being able to confidently “sell” your professional skills is important; no, we don’t need every blogger and their brother to recapitulate boiler plate talking points about self-promotion albeit in a slightly prettier UX)

        I agree that we overfocus the importance of these areas—when we take a step back and realize we’re hiring based on what some person farted out onto a piece of paper or digital document and regurgitated inauthentically during a canned interview/interrogation process, what SHOULD happen is we realize “oh shit, maybe we’re too fixated on qualities that we’re not really great at assessing in the first place”.

        I agree we should value more curiosity and the ability to learn in a hiring process. We should also be a little less risk-averse and acknowledge that life isn’t a series of “do this and then this happens!” moments that insurance radio commercials would have us believe.

  2. Sadly, this is true in a lot of the companies I’ve worked for.

    The worst thing is when you DO speak with the management team, but the ship is just too heavy to turn.

    I’m going freelance next month.

  3. Maybe a lot of the failure has to do with companies not valuing their employees so they can promote from within. If you are a manager and see some promise in your younger employees, maybe you could promote them since you see what they are capable of instead of trying to draw in outside talent. I wonder if business was this FUBAR before we came up with the 401K job hop system and employers actually wanted you to stay for your entire career?

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