rockstar.esq Posted January 11, 2017 Share Posted January 11, 2017 A while back I had a weird experience. An ex-colleague who works for a company that repeatedly screwed my company over called to offer me a job. He was surprised to find that I held him in contempt for his part in the dishonesty and malfeasance. He maintained that he was personally innocent and insisted that he wasn't aware of any wrongdoing. It must have bugged him quite a bit because he searched his old emails to find out what happened on the last job we bid together. As he rattled off the chain of events, he ended up telling me that I won the bid but "the guy's above him" decided to hire my competitor! In the rush to prove his innocence, he proved he knew the bid was rigged. It's fair to say that neither party got what they expected from the conversation. Nevertheless it's been bugging me because I figured that cheaters knew they were taking an ethical short-cut. Once the curtain was pulled back, I thought he'd quit feigning innocence. What I got was indignant incompetence. He was actually upset that I would think he was dishonest. After all, he told me the truth...about screwing me over! The other day I stumbled upon a reference to the Dunning-Kruger effect which finds that incompetent people aren't able to recognize their own lack of skill because they're incompetent! Reading more on it, I felt like maybe this explained quite a bit of what I'm seeing. Then I got to a depressing part. Apparently Dunning and Kruger found that highly skilled people underestimate their skills because they assume any given task is easy for everyone. It seems as though only the average people should feel confident that they know what they're talking about! This got me to thinking about how rarely people square the outcome of their decisions with their intentions. Outcomes affect others, yet people tend to believe morality is a function of good intentions. Maybe my ex-colleague figures he's a good person because there's no malice in his dishonesty. Why should I take it personally, when he screws everyone?!? There's a saying known as "Hanlon's Razor" that goes: "Never attribute to malice, that which is adequately explained by stupidity". I realize it's trite, but there's a lot of truth there. I've found it difficult to separate malice from dishonesty. For a long time I took it personally when someone cheated me out of a desperately needed job that I'd worked hard to win. At the same time I sunk a ton of time bidding to honest companies who were too incompetent to win a job. In my head, I figured the "good guy's" were doing their best, while the "bad guy's" were out for blood. While I still have more affection for an honest fool, than a kindly cheat, I have to admit they're equally bad. Knowing that, it's my responsibility to proceed accordingly. Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
Join the conversation
You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.