The Haught guide to know-it-alls

Picture 20There are three certainties in life: death, taxes, and that at any give time at least one person in your office, with absolutely no experience in your field, will believe he or she knows how to do your job better than you do.

Occasionally they will be genuinely brilliant polymaths, who have only now decided to dip their hyper-talented toe into the water of your particular discipline. In most cases, however, these people are barely able to keep their heads above the scum-topped liquid of their own career puddles despite wearing an inflatable giraffe ring around their waist at all times (sometimes metaphorical, often not).

This latter set are worse than loud office sneezers, corporate wank-word dispensers and even the colleagues who put five cent pieces in farewell collection envelopes.

They approach our “issues” (problems we didn’t know we had until they blundered their way over to our workstation with that look on their face) with the practicality of a TNT-toting cartoon cartoon character, the insight of a reality cooking show contestant and the analytical nous of coagulating porridge.

Context, deadlines, nuance and the rules of simple arithmetic are foreign to them. They are the backseat drivers of the workplace and will tell you to do the your-job equivalent of a handbrake turn in the middle of a five-lane freeway without irony or humour.

And just when you think their symphony of condescension has reached its crescendo they conclude with: “…but that’s only what I think” or “…your idea could work too” or, best of all, “…anyway, whatever”.

You know the sort. Everyone does.

Gain strength from the knowledge that it’s not just you who has to put up with them.


An edited version of this article first appeared in the MyCareer section of The Age and Sydney Morning Herald. You can read Benign to Five in those papers every Saturday.

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Comments ( 3 )

  1. Replyfunkykingston
    Anyone in a vaguely creative job knows these pedants only too well. Thanks to the reduced cost of technology, any minge with opposable thumbs feels they are the second coming of Paul Rand or some other design luminary. "Oooh make the red more red", no, how about we pull your fingernails off.
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