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Why is Incompetence So Annoying?

I don’t know about you, but I find incompetence on any level, in any situation vexing, from slightly annoying to downright offensive. Clearly, when I think rationally about this, someone else’s incompetence really has nothing to do with me, but as it often impacts the quality and outcome of my experience, it ticks me off. (Note: Though I’m striving fervently towards enlightenment…I am far from the state of calm acceptance.)

Have we slid so far into our tolerance for mediocrity that we no longer balk at inadequate?

From surly customer service reps to wait staff who have no people skills, you wonder why these people chose jobs where they have to talk to people. It boggles the mind.

We have so many wonderful teachers out there; why do we tolerate lousy ones?

Why would you keep a manager that is so smarmy, no one wants to work for him?

Even stupid commercials annoy me… Who the heck is writing these things? And don’t they have any “real” people to test them?

And speaking of writing…as a writer, sub-standard writing in any form really tweaks a nerve. If you can’t spell or don’t know the difference between there and their, you shouldn’t be writing… and certainly no website or magazine should be publishing your drivel. Don’t even get me started on some of the crap I see on the bookstore shelves… I don’t care how big your platform is, if you can’t string a proper sentence together and offer coherent information, then you don’t deserve a book jacket.

I find I’m feeling a bit better now that I have spewed the lava of my frustration all over my readers. Glad you’re out there and tolerate a tad of venting now and then.

The silver lining here is that among the sea of the inept, the stellar shine brightly. I now make a matter of principal to praise those who are exceptional at what they do. And bring it to the attention of those in a position to reward that excellence whenever possible.

Excellence should be the norm, not the exception.

What are your thoughts on this? Do you find incompetence frustrating or do you take it in stride?

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6 Responses to Why is Incompetence So Annoying?

  1. lmgreenfield November 12, 2012 at 1:24 pm #

    Re:”Excellence should be the norm, not the exception.” Perhaps competence should be the norm, excellence something all or most should strive for, and incompetence should be unacceptable, or at least not rewarded as it now sometimes is.

    • Royale Scuderi November 12, 2012 at 2:29 pm #

      I can get on board with that. Thanks for chiming in!


  2. Oscar Gonzalez November 15, 2012 at 9:45 am #

    If excellence was the norm, then it wouldn’t be excellent. Strive to do this for yourself and you’ll rise above all the challenges you say you encounter everyday. And sometimes you should put yourself in the shoes of the “incompetent” people and wonder why they’re incompetent Incompetence isn’t the same as mediocrity. Incompetence may be a due to a circumstance the person finds themselves in, while mediocrity is a choice. I don’t tolerate mediocrity, it shows apathy. Incompetence can be corrected. And definitely work on that road towards enlightenment, it’ll do you good. Compassion, understanding and not judging others by our own standards will bring us all a richer life. :)

    • Royale Scuderi November 15, 2012 at 9:09 pm #

      I see your point. I think I view incompetence more as an unwillingness to put forth the effort to do better than an inability to do better…and that just irks me. Still not enlightened enough yet:(

  3. Wendy Cobrda November 15, 2012 at 12:14 pm #

    Royale, I must admit, sometimes I’m right there with you. Unfortunately, lately, I’ve been less than stellar at things I attempt to commit to. I know I have a *reason* but doesn’t everybody? Grrr. Your post is making me think about what I can and cannot commit to. I hate going half-in. Thanks for the rant. :)

    • Royale Scuderi November 15, 2012 at 9:11 pm #

      You know, I suppose you have a point about everybody having problems. It’s not the people who are trying that bug me, it’s the people who don’t even care to try to do better.

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