Passing the Bozo

Ever been on a project where everyone smiles and says, “Oh, you’re on the Chat Server 2010, isn’t Abe on that project.”

This is generally the sign that you’ve been assigned with one of the company bozos. These are the employees who are generally incompetent, don’t care, don’t play nice with others, etc. Line managers love to migrate them over to other teams or large difficult projects where perhaps they can blend in with the scenery.

I started to run into the bozos as I worked on larger million dollar plus consulting engagements. At first you just assume they’re a little behind the curve on the technology or need a little more care and feeding to motivate them. Then as your efforts largely fail, you realize another manager somewhere has taken the easy way out.

Essentially for many managers invoking disciplinary measures or actual firing someone is the worst possible part of the job. In many ways it is, but this is of course one of the tradeoffs of taking on a management position, you actually have to make some difficult calls.