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Since I began working at Hewlett Packard five months ago, I have been moved to a different area, the Materials Compatibility Lab, where I test exactly that, the compatibility of printer cartridge components with one another.

My trainer was an incompetent young woman who has further lowered my estimation of humanity. Not only is she incompetent, she is utterly unaware of it, and doesn't care if she does things wrong. She is unwilling to do her job, let alone do it correctly, and when she does manage to do anything, she generally spends far more time than necessary on the job and still gets 10% of what she does wrong. Given that the acceptable error rate would be approximately .1%, this should give you an idea of just how far off she was.

At long last, she has been... removed. Not fired, but put into another lab with fewer responsibilities, because my boss is unwilling to do the correct thing and rid himself of her. While we may not get someone actually competent out of a new hire, we will, at least, get someone who might care about being incompetent.

But it is not just her. Everyone around me is slower than I am. They do their work less efficiently than they could and should, and are unwilling or unable to improve things.

Back when I was very young, I thought everyone else was as intelligent as I was, and those who fell behind were simply being lazy, not unable but unwilling to do what was expected of them. As it turns out, this was a product of my environment of being around gifted children, as almost everyone I interacted with was - when all you deal with are people who are significantly above average, you come to have a different point of view.

Late in high school, I took a jewelery class because I was interested. It was there I was first exposed to people who would never amount to anything. They lacked the capacity. It hurt me to see them, and it was at this point my mother said (though she denies it now) that this was the way of things.

In college, Vanderbilt, I saw more people who were simply less able. And this is at a high quality institution!

And now, working at Hewlett-Packard, I see more of the standard. Even in such a place, I see even more people who are simply not capable of rising much above where they are. Some are, and all too many, the majority, are going to be forever trapped in lower-level positions because they simply lack the ability to rise. Many lack the motivation as well, but motivation can only take you so far.

The Onion had an article about Obama losing his hope for America, and Jon Stewart made the same joke. I suspect it is true. People are idiots. Many say that those of below average intelligence are stupid, but I think it is otherwise - I suspect the average person is, in fact, below that line.

Some would be depressed by this, but I am mostly annoyed.

Long ago, the Founding Fathers of America feared that democracy would not work for pretty much exactly these reasons - that people were self interested and unable to see beyond that. But they didn't see the even worse truth - most people are unable to even understand their own self-interest, so will do things which sound good to them, even if they are actually bad for them, and never even understand what they did to themselves.

Lie with dogs, and you get fleas. Lie with the masses, and you get stupid emails.


( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
Feb. 28th, 2010 03:17 pm (UTC)

I was lucky enough to land a job where I deal with six co-workers, all of whom are reasonably intelligent. Unless I choose to, I don't even have to turn around and look out at the front desk where the customers (read: general public) are.

Now, if my boss would turn off Faux News and the stock report (let's all yell over each other about our stock opinions) it would be heaven. :-)
Mar. 4th, 2010 12:25 am (UTC)
I have a hard time listening to Fox News; I have to constantly resist the urge to snark at the TV in response to whatever I hear. Whereas the news itself typically isn't THAT bad (though it occasionally is), the entertainment/propaganda programs just make me angry or snarky. Or I just randomly burst out laughing at something completely outrageous.

In the new lab I'm in, no one can agree on what to listen to, so fortunately, apart from the odd 60's tune, there isn't anything of the sort I have to deal with save when people randomly (and inappropriately) bring up politics. I LOVE talking about politics, and religion, and all that, but they're interesting precisely because they matter and can and will upset people. Unless I know everyone involved, I'd rather not discuss it in a place where it can get someone in trouble.

You'd think they'd know this, particularly the conservative folk who are most likely to get in trouble (as this is a liberal place, and a high-tech company; unfair, perhaps, but probably true). Yet they are the most likely to do so. Save for the atheist in charge of the lab, who decided the first day in the lab to try and start up a conversation about why God doesn't exist in front of everyone. Because as we all know, THAT won't offend anyone. I don't mind, of course, being an irreligious liberal atheist myself, but I was thinking the whole time as I tried to respond in as neutral a manner as possible that this was a really dangerous conversation to have in the middle of a lab with 9 people in it, 3 of whom are conservative Christians. *facepalm*
Feb. 28th, 2010 04:16 pm (UTC)
I think there are very different definitions of "amounting to something." It also sounds like mine is very different from yours. And I've also not lost hope for humanity. Individual humans, yes, but not humanity as a whole.
Mar. 4th, 2010 12:28 am (UTC)
Well, you see, I have high standards for people. I expect a lot of them. When they fail at what I consider to be basic things, that's a problem. This isn't even college stuff; this is kindergarten stuff. Is it really that hard to ask for help? To communicate with other people? To tell the truth, especially when lying will be caught immediately?

I mean, this isn't exactly rocket science.

I know I have a very different opinion on the world than you. Let's face it: I'm a Wikipedian. I'm all about notability. And most people will never be notable by those standards.
Feb. 28th, 2010 09:23 pm (UTC)
Try working retail. Been in retail for around 6 years now, and you'd be amazed at the people you meet.

People often just sit and stare at me if I'm scrubbing a fish tank (can't hear them my ear is next to pipes), and when I finally notice them they end up angry because I didn't help them, when they didn't ask to begin with.

I get people who I ask "Can I help you with anything?" and they either outright ignore me or glance at me and don't say a word. Then they proceed to run to the cashier and ask for a page for someone at the fish wall (I'M ALREADY THERE AND I JUST ASKED THEM!).

I get people who buy 12c goldfish because they're 12c and expendable, but then consider the 2.99 goldfish more "alive" because they're 2.99.

The questions I get are unbelievable... "does it eat?", "does it need water?", "can I mix together a rat and a mouse in the same cage?", "can these bite?", "do you think this and this look good together?"...

I lost faith in humanity my first year of retail lol. Only reason I've kept with the job is because the smart people I deal with, who actually care about the animals, really brighten my day. And I also get paid about 10.44 an hour, which for part time is incredible considering my business. I clean cages mostly and only deal with the public for around 1-4 hours.

The "average" american can't read well, can't do math, can't think for themselves, and doesn't give a crap about anything other than themselves, objects and people/animals included. The world revolves around them and their simple-mindedness. It's sad. It's also sad that they breed like rabbits.

Hopefully their kids will realize how retarded their parents all are and do a 180.
Mar. 4th, 2010 12:40 am (UTC)
Well, people sitting and watching someone is a common sign of looking for help. A lot of people are unfortunately reluctant to ask for help, so you have to look for their signs of "I want to ask for help but am too socially inept to do so," which sucks a lot.

As for the goldfish thing, its hardly surprising. We all put value on life, and when you do it so directly, it makes sense for them to think of it that way. Its very cold, of course, and not entirely "accurate" in the sense that one is more "alive" than the other, but one is certainly more important than the other, at least as far as they're concerned.

Does it eat, does it need water... those are stupid questions. The others are less so, and they say there's no such thing as a stupid question, as the real stupidity lies in not knowing and NOT asking. I couldn't tell you the answer to "can I mix a rat and a mouse in the same cage?" without consulting the internet (though offhand I'd guess not, and from an internet search, it appears to be "bad idea, but some people do it anyway and get away with it", about what I'd expect) - it really isn't common knowledge, nor obvious to people who haven't been around animals much (or at least small ones; I suspect most people don't really even know what the difference between a mouse and a rat even is). "Can these bite" is a more interesting question. Most anything with a mouth -can- bite, but the real question is "will it hurt?" A lot of things cannot really hurt a human with a bite, though its a good bet that anything with teeth probably can. "Do you think this and this look good together" is more of an opinion question than anything else.

One person's stupid question is another person's basic knowledge. Someone asked me how to make a graph in Excel the other day, in a job which requires you to know how to use it. Of course, a lot of people don't understand that there's a very easy trick to learn how to do anything on the computer (called "Use Google"), but there you go.
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )