Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Mediocracy. A post in code.

Fritz and I are having lots of conversations lately about mediocracy. Both of us now find ourselves with people in our daily employ who we feel could be doing much more, but seem content and unwilling to step beyond minimum requirement.

I guess it helps to frame this argument by confessing that both Fritz and I are first-born overachievers. We take a lot of pride in, not just completing a task but, completing it really well and maybe taking it one step further. I love the feeling of surprising someone else by my extra actions. It really motivates me. I tend to feel lost and frustrated in situations where there's no standard to exceed. (Like Stay At Home Parenthood.)

But clearly, not everybody feels that way. Thanks to years as a Stay at Home Parent, I'm pretty aware that some of my own kiddos don't motivate in this way. It's good that I got the kids I did, because they've really made me a kindler, gentler, more accepting person. I'm more willing to cut people slack and reconsider situations. I'm now a well-developed empathy machine: and that doesn't come naturally to an overachiever - so thank you, stay at home parenthood for teaching me this.

(Noah programmed this robot to bring cold drinks from the kitchen to the table.
It also has an electric fan on the back to keep the drink cool during transport.
And it's wearing a bowtie, like all the best waiters, of course.)

HOWEVER. There's this line that exists when you are actually paying people money to do their job in a mediocre fashion. And you start to wonder how much mediocre is worth: in terms of both dollars and also in terms of lost opportunities. If mediocre means you put in effort and money and time, and your return on investment sits warm on the stove, but doesn't simmer and certainly doesn't boil - is it worth it? When do you say, my effort and time and money should have yielded a greater return? I could have used my resources more effectively....

Fritz says that he's so sick of debating the merits (or lack of merits) of mediocracy, both with me and with his colleague, that he's ready to cut loose all the mediocre in his life and be done with it. Just the conversations about mediocracy are taking too much time. That's why I'm posting here. Because Fritz doesn't want to talk about it anymore. And I continuously wonder if Fritz and I are too skewed in our innate perspectives.

I think I'd be fussing less if I had a job and was working. Unfortunately, I don't seem to be able to control that, as much as I try – and I am trying! So when do you cut your losses?

1 comment:

Pregnantly Plump said...

It's frustrating dealing with people who are happy with mediocrity, or are let's-put-in-the-least-amount-of-effort. In my case, they know there are others who will pick up the slack. I finally got fed up with one of the least amount of effort folks, and didn't give him a choice to not do anything. I signed him up to do something, and he actually showed up! Now, the exteme minimal amount of effort is still frustrating, but at least it was something, right? I hope Fritz' colleague issues get better.