Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they aren’t out to get you

Dear Evil HR Lady,
I left my company after 6 years of employment about 8 months ago to go back to school and get my MBA. I will admit, I did not leave on the best of terms. I recently found out from several former colleagues who were acquaintances of mine, that HR wants to know where I plan to be this summer for my internship and when my internship starts. HR was asking my former colleagues if they knew this information.

To put it lightly, I am concerned. I don’t know why they care where or what I am doing next. The company is in some trouble right now. However if they want me to come back, I don’t understand why they don’t just pick up the phone and ask me to come back. It feels like they are just keeping track of me to find some way to screw me over. Can you provide any insight?

I needed a bit more insight into this situation, so I emailed and asked: Define not the “best of terms.” That will give me more information and a better guess of what is really going on here.  He responded:

Well for a long time I was considered Top Talent and was being promoted through the ranks. Then I had a meeting with an HR manager who has a lot of influence. The meeting was part of some internal networking program. Well the conversation did not go well. His feedback was that I was arrogant. Anyway, after that conversation I had all kinds of issues. I wasn’t being considered for bigger roles and my raises became substantially smaller so I started applying for MBA programs.

When I turned in my resignation, I basically just said I’m done with this company and I plan to get a job on Wall Street making real money. Many leaders in the business told me to just play the game with HR and request a Leave of Absence, that I love this company and just want to expand my skill set, but I was fed up and had no intention of going back so I told the truth. I got an awesome internship offer for the summer that pays a ton and is exactly in the field and location that I wanted and I’m worried that they are trying to find some way to screw that up for me. I know it sounds like paranoia but that HR organization behaves like they are the CIA.

I had two more questions: Are you arrogant? (Think long and hard before answering this.)  and What tier MBA program did you get into?

No I am not arrogant but I am proud of my accomplishments and I’m not going to pretend like I am not as good as I am. I know I have development needs like everyone else. In my experience, I have always gotten along very well with A players, other top performers. However, B and C players are usually threatened by me and usually find me to be too action oriented and abrasive. I don’t sugar coat and I know how to get results. I am at a top 15 MBA program. I received a full scholarship and I made sure to mention that in my resignation letter.

It’s extremely unusual for HR to follow up with a terminated employee, other than an exit interview. We’re much too busy to track down former employees to ruin their lives. And it’s not like there is a secret HR network where we make lists of employees to never hire. Heaven knows we wish we had that secret network, but we don’t.

(Note to self: start secret HR network.)

This is what I think is going on here.

1. You are arrogant. The fact that you identify yourself as an “A Player” and know that Bs and Cs don’t like you tells me that you’re probably pretty annoying. There are people who have this ability to simultaneously suck up to the boss and screw over coworkers and I’m guessing you’re a person with this talent. This may serve you well, but the reality is that it also make enemies. Which you have.

2. The HR person doesn’t like you. Now, some HR people are actually good at their jobs. I cannot say, without at least meeting both of you, if this is the case with this HR person. He may have been able point out to your boss that while your work was good and you’re smart (undoubtedly true given the MBA program you’re in), that you have social skills problems (good managers need the B and C players to respect them), as a result you shouldn’t be on the fast track.

Or, he could be someone that is intimidated by brilliance and determined to destroy you.

I suspect the former with a little touch of the latter thrown in.

3. Since more than one of your former colleagues has been asked about your plans, I can say it’s not just casual conversation of the, “Hey what’s Jim up to? How’s his program going?” variety. It does seem like he wants to keep track of you for whatever reason.

So, here’s my suggestion: Send a nice email to the HR manager and say:

“I’m finishing up my first year at Business School and I’m excited to start my summer internship at [company]!

I wanted to thank you for the feedback you gave me while I was working at [company]. It was just the kick in the pants I needed to realize that an MBA would help me gain the skills I need to be successful in this business. I’ve really been pleased with this program, especially the [management/finance/whatever] emphasis. I thought it might be helpful to you, as you counsel with other employees to let them know about this option.

Thanks again for your help and advice,


John Doe

Now you might look at that and say, “What a suck up kind of a letter! I’m never going to write that!” But here is what this does.

  1. It lets the HR person know that you’re not scared of him or what he can do to you. What you’re doing isn’t a secret, and you’re not concerned he’ll call up the new company and bad mouth him.
  2. On the off chance that he is interested in bringing you back, you’ve done a very nice networking letter. It’s best to try to put the fire out on that bridge you tried to burn.
  3. You’ve told him he was right. People LOVE to be right. It will actually make him like you more (or dislike you less, as the case may be).

Try at your internship, though, to be a little less arrogant. Get along with everyone. Yes, be a hard worker and straight shooter or whatever, but for heaven’s sake be nice. You need to learn how to gain the respect of the whole office, not just the boss.

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46 thoughts on “Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they aren’t out to get you

  1. I’m going to second the impression that the letter-writer is arrogant. He also displayed bad judgment in the way he resigned — “When I turned in my resignation, I basically just said I’m done with this company and I plan to get a job on Wall Street making real money … I received a full scholarship and I made sure to mention that in my resignation letter.” That’s just needlessly obnoxious; there’s no need to handle a resignation in such an emotionally unintelligent way.

    Now, that said, if I had a bad opinion of a former employee for some reason and they followed EHRL’s advice and sent me a letter thanking me for previous feedback and telling me I was right, it would warm my cold little heart. This is great advice.

  2. I am going to throw my two cents in (with the understanding that I don’t know the full situation without speaking to HR): Arrogant. And annoying. And lacking basic social skills (including how to quit with grace).

    Example of all three:

    “When I turned in my resignation, I basically just said I’m done with this company and I plan to get a job on Wall Street making real money …”

    Even if you are an A player and B or C players don’t like you… don’t burn bridges! Even if the job was the worst job in the world, you say Thank you For the Opportunity and move on… no need to act like a cocky prick about it! Someday you will get a taste of humble pie and all the “glory” that comes from being an ‘A’ player will mean nothing.

    But… what do I know? I’m just a C player 😉

    1. C players are awesome! A players crash and burn. It’s the Bs and Cs that actually get the work done.

      1. I’m not sure this is true. A high percentage of A players do crash and burn by over-relying on their competence at the expense of their personal (moral? social? philosophical?) development. But some A players are lucky enough to receive the kind of feedback that this gentleman received early in their career–and some A players handle it constructively. I can’t speak to whether I am an A player, but I do know that as an INTJ, I most value competence in the workplace. When others don’t share my high expectations, I can come across as arrogant and self-righteous. Fortunately, I have been lucky to have mentors in my life who have helped me identify this about myself–much to the relief of my colleagues, I’m sure. My point is that A players truly become A players only once they’ve achieved some measure of social self-awareness. Otherwise, they are a liability–not an asset.

  3. I bet, based on the way he resigned, that the HR manager can’t stand him and is asking questions about him in hopes that he’ll hear something about his lack of success.

    I’ve had some awful managers, but managed to never burn a bridge when I resigned. If nothing else, he’ll need a reference some day!

  4. Yeah, the arrogance shines through like mad, even before the follow-up.

    That said, I know that I sometimes think to myself “Boy coworker Bill was a giant pain, I’m glad he left for greener pastures. Wonder if he found them” and inquire about coworker Bill. It’s due to a unhealthy need for validation, vindication, and even schadenfreude. I’m not too naive to admit it. However this is done for personal reasons, much less professional. I would venture to guess the HR person is in a similar boat. They really didn’t like you and want to see you turn out to be the person they pegged you for.

    Following EHRL’s advice would allow you to take the high ground for sure, but only if you somewhat meant it. Which I doubt is possible, given your entrenchment in your own greatness.

    Tellin’ it like it is.

    1. That very well could be the case. Also, I have some former coworkers that I would love to know where they are working–because I would never want to be hired by that same company and have to see that person ever again.

      1. Oh Lord, me too. Fortunately the worst ones are firmly entrenched in their little fiefdoms at exjobs and are unlikely to pop up on my radar anytime soon. Especially if I can manage to leave my current city, which is the eventual plan. At least if I run into their evil twins elsewhere, I’ll recognize them immediately.

  5. I would suggest that the OP isn’t an A player if they don’t get along with B and C players. A true A player raises the skills of the entire team. That doesn’t mean that the C players don’t drive him nuts (they can) but a true A player will work with that.
    It isn’t all about *your* acheivements. It is about raising the bar for the entire team. That is a true A player.

    1. I was going to say exactly this. A players work well with everyone and can make it rain in the middle of a desert. That’s what makes them so good *and* so rare. OP is not an A player.

  6. Yep! EHRL nailed this one. I mean the OP writes, point blank, that he’s not liked for being “too action oriented and abrasive”. Hint, it’s not action that people don’t like. If you know that you’re abrasive and think (as you obviously do) that your brain compensates for it, a lot of hardworking but not as intellectual people will think you’re an arrogant d-bag, so to speak. That abrasive attitude tends to keep people from being promoted beyond mid-management because real leaders and potential C-suite talent have to, at least, seem friendly to the average worker or there’s no respect at the bottom for those at the top – at that level intellect isn’t the deciding factor anymore. If you want to really work your way up post-MBA, just remember little bit of tact can go a long way.

    1. That is also an excellent point. People like action and if you are also good at what you do they will tolerate some level of abrasiveness, but if they stop tolerating it, it means you’re jerkiness is overshadowing your skills.

  7. We’re assuming here, that the OP’s characterization of just how, and to what degree, the HR person was asking about him, is in fact, accurate. Given how arrogant he clearly is, it’s certainly possible that the HR person simply asked about him, without really digging for information on his whereabouts. I just see no valid reason for that to happen, and kind of doubt it actually did.

  8. May I point out that if you ( the OP) were truly an A player, you would have gotten into top 3 or top 5 schools, instead of one of the top 11-15?

    And EHL, given how he wrote the letter, if he had gotten into the top 3/ top 5, we would have heard about it.

    I am a hard worker and straight shooter as well, but I also genuinely respect my colleagues and those lower in the food chain. Everybody has some skills that try as you might, you cannot best. The trick is in identifying what it is and trying to learn it yourself, and better still, trying to channel it for the good of the team and company.

    Just because someone is a B or C in this job, does not mean that they will be a B or C in every situation.

    Also being honest does not mean being a jerk.

  9. Just to be fair to this guy, it’s entirely possible that he *did* get into a top 5 school, but went to the top 15 school because it gave him a great scholarship.

  10. I would encourage all confused “A” player to reflect on a post by Steve Roesler: http://www.allthingsworkplace.com/2012/04/what-do-i-want-to-be-or-what-do-i-want-to-become.html

    Being successful does not require a Sherman-like “March to the Sea.” Truly effective leadership creates waves of success from the people around them.

    He might want to read “Tribal Leadership” by Dave Logan et al. (http://www.triballeadership.net/). The “I’m great and you stink” strategy, while perhaps massaging an insecure ego, does not move a company forward for long because ultimately that culture means you have a lot of aspiring psuedo-“Type A”s beating each other about the head and shoulders and getting a lot less done than if they actually worked with each other. Life is not a zero sum game.

    I hope the gentleman, grows to understand himself and does learn to lead successfully. The world needs it.

  11. First off, Evil HR Lady pretty much sounds like your typical, I-have-it-all-figured-out HR moron. Funny I felt HR Lady’s comments were far more arrogant and self righteous than the person asking the questions. I can imagine this HR moron at the old company is stalking him, because certainly he was dealt embarassment of chasing away a good employee. Then look at all these idiots piling on the criticism because he is an A level or picking at what level MBA program he got into. It is ironically the same jealousy he dealt with at work. You know why? HR staff are by definition the C if not F staff. At my previous employer they all had degrees from the crap of the crap schools, were this same cackling morons who thought they knew everything – but in fact knew nothing. Most real staff would roll their eyes at these waste of skin. My advice to the person asking the question, don’t dare write that ridiculous letter that this fraud asked you to write. Simply forget about that company, push aside your paranoia and charge ahead. I can guarantee you will do more than someone like Evil HR lady as done in her life, or any of these other HR fanboys/girls. There is are just so many reasons why HR is the most despised profession there is. Flame away all you want, but the intelligent people know what you are… the people who can not teach or do…

        1. You are both wrong, but case in point, more I-have-it-all-figured out idiots? HR employees as well? I’m more likely to be the one who is right on that assumption.

          1. So how is MBA school, and your search for real money on Wall Street going? Shouldn’t you be studying or making transactions with your high powered clients?

            You’re so obviously the OP that it’s ridiculous to think you’re just some random troll to come back to this specific post time and again, days after it was published.

            It’s not some loss on your part that we’ve established that you’re simply not clever. So at least be honest and update us with your progress for real money and A level success!

            1. Dave, you have given me the best laugh of the day. The reason is you fit the personality type of the HR rep PERFECTLY. HR reps love to play pseudo-psychologist and wannabe-detective and it is just another reason why the “profession” is so despised. I love how you are so absolutely sure that I’m the original poster, but sorry, you couldn’t be more wrong. Of course I can’t prove this to you, but just how sure you are right only goes to show that you are an idiot. I on the other hand am very confident you are an HR rep by profession, but I wouldn’t blindly believe this is true without a doubt because I really have no proof. I’m waiting for you to answer my question though regarding your profession, because I sure do have a hunch I”m right!

              What is even more funny is that I’m quite sure the owner of this blog should be savvy enough (ok that may be a stretch) to know if I’m the original poster or not, and I have a good feeling that she does know I am not the original poster. However, she has failed to simply come out and say that, and I feel that is actually deplorable. I suppose that would spoil the idea that it isn’t the masses that feel HR reps are full of it, just your one particular “OP” or “troll”.

              Even though I’m kicking myself for wasting time even replying to the waste of brain cells on here, I’ll tell you exactly how I got to this website. Some colleagues and myself were laughing about our own nasty HR rep experiences through the years. I later did a search (I don’t know, HR is evil maybe?) and this website came up. I first thought this was a website making fun of HR reps (hence the name evilhrlady). I then started reading this article. Even though I despise 99% of the HR reps I have come across, I actually did remain open minded enough to see what this evilhrlady had to say. Reading through the bulk of the article was actually ok and I had a decent opinion of her thoughts. I had the same impression as many others had when the original poster said he/she went to a “top 15” MBA school. I imagined, ok, must be #14 or #15 and even wasted a few minutes to try and guess what University. So then finally I get to evilhrlady’s summary, and wow… BINGO, THERE IT IS, that classic HR rep self-righteous attitude that we all despise (and WOW, the idiotic advice). Then on top it all off, the pathetic sniping at the original poster from her fanboy/girl crowd in the comment section. So, I thought I’d let you morons have it. Of course this is akin to jumping in the mud and rolling around with pigs, but hey, we all make mistakes!

              So dear Dave, all you have accomplished is to show me that you are even more likely to be an HR rep and that you are infected with the jealousy that is so typical of HR reps towards the folks out there in the world actually doing something. I hope that the original poster comes and reads what you are saying, because you are obviously stinkin’ jealous of that dude.

          2. My dear Ana,

            Why on earth should I defend you? You’re brilliant enough to hold your own, I should think. I am just a poor, incompetent HR person. What possible use could you have for my defense of you?

            Better that you find another genius, like yourself, to tell the rest of us what the reality is.

            You find my lack of defense “deplorable,” while at the same time you continue to insult me. I thought, perhaps, that even in brilliant Silicon valley, they teach people logic skills. And it is illogical to think that you can insult a person and her chosen profession and at the same time expect her to come to your aid.

            For what it’s worth, the writing styles aren’t the same and neither are the IP addresses. However, you do have a very similar arrogance problem. Your HR person can probably help you with that.

    1. You guys are all awesome. I’ve been without internet access for the past 24 hours so this was a super fun thing to read!

      1. Yeah, super duper fun for you! HR lady gets backed up by her fans.

        The mentality of HR folks is really somewhere around high school. This makes sense considering they really have no meaningful education or useful contribution past high school! Lol

        Sorry HR folks, the real workers out there just hate you. 🙂

        1. I work in Marketing.

          Let me tell you something.

          You may think that you are a genius. You may very well have IQ beyond 150.

          You may have seen Steve Jobs and many other CEOs getting away with treating people who work for them without courtesy. You may have seen people who are millionaires in your work not have the best of people skills.

          If you were as good as they are, you would have already made your first million by the time you are 25.

          If you have, then you would not have been asking EHRL for advice.

          Given that you are asking a blogger online for free advice, you are not as awesome or smart or intelligent as you think you are.

          If you are a woman, I feel ashamed that you represent my gender.

          If you really think you are as amazing as you think you are, share your linkedin profile in this blog. I am sure a lot of us want to know who this new Steve Jobs 2.0 is.

          1. You mean multi-millionaires aren’t writing me regularly and asking me for advice?


          2. Oh, aren’t you a nasty one. :] Well Surya, prepare to have a taste of your own medicine since you’ve attempted to make things personal.

            First of all, your amateurish comments like “The OP doth protest too much” or “If you are a woman, I feel ashamed that you represent my gender”. Really? Pathetic.

            However, the most pathetic thing of all are your attacks towards me as if I’m the original poster. Sorry honey, but I am not. It is funny how self-righteous you are, but you are slamming this original poster who is not even here posting!

            My background is in applied physics and material science. No, I was not a millionaire at 25, I was working on my doctoral degree at Stanford. At 30 years old I earned my first million, but I am no millionaire (even though I have a nice chunk of change in savings through IPOs here in Silicon Valley). For all of this, it is not genious, I was BLESSED with the opportunity to do what I love. I don’t look down or up to people who are rich. I actually have little respect for the MBA degree and have stated openly I will never pursue one. I feel one trains in science and the arts — this goes back to the Greeks. You don’t “teach” business. I also despise the Wall Street culture of quarterly profits (so I think it is even more funny you think I’m the OP); WS is akin to short-term thinking and has no business in the world of creativity. That said, I have respect for many fields, from science to engineering, from the medical profession to artists, musicians, etc. Many of these people are indeed geniuses and will never be rich, but they have my utmost respect. People who will never have my respect are HR reps, because I’ve found them to be the lowest of the low and their behavior can be summed up so easily in the advice that evilhrlady gave that poor poster or idiots above like Dave (and yourself!). In fact just today I was talking with a scientist from Japan who was in shock when I told her that there were actual degrees in Human Resources. I think she still doesn’t believe it!

            and you ask me to post my LinkedIn profile? What kind of idiot is going to give random people their personal information? Oh, by the way, so I was just looking at your LinkedIn profile Surya S…… (see how nice I was to respect your privacy on here). LOL!

            So, as I continue ripping you a new one, lets see. Bachelor of Technology, Electronics & COmmunication from Cochin University of Science and Technology. Bachelor of Technology, eh? 😀 and from a truly mediocre university, no, MIT it is not! By the way, you capitalized that “O” by mistake, you may want to fix that. You’re welcome. Then after a year started working on an MBA, Human Resources & Organizational Behaviour from XLRI Jamshedpur. I guess if you go to a mediocre technical school, bailing out and going into HR only makes sense. Then you dived in and worked a bunch of HR jobs and most recently started doing marketing in Germany. Hey, I pat you on your back for moving from the utterly worthless field of HR up to almost-worthless field of marketing. Say, I knew that Germany was desperate for people in IT, but really, that desperate?

            So to be fair sharp-tongued Surya, your mediocre career isn’t that bad, I’d bet it is a lot better than most of these other HR people on here. Still though, and I can tell you are very proud of your LinkedIn profile — I’d be utterly depressed if your resume was mine.

            Oh, and by the way, this has been a nice introduction of your name to Silicon Valley. You know, it is a large valley but it is actually a very small community. I’ve shared your comments and profile with a few people already. With your new career in marketing you may think any publicity is good publicity. No, it isn’t.


            1. Still too chicken to share your linkedin profile, I see.

              As you can see from my linkedin profile, am from a top B school in India, and Silicon Valley was never in my plans. And don’t worry, I would not want to work with you or the likes of you ever in my life. So we will self select each other out.

              Troll doth protest too much.

            2. And with this particular post, Ana loses any credibility he may have had — this kind of personal nastiness makes it really clear someone has an agenda or their own issues they’re working out here. Easy to dismiss.

            3. Wow. Just wow. OK, I’m in Silicon Valley, and I’m NOT impressed with ANA. The abusiveness is off the map. ANA, you are an embarassment to every female engineer/technologist out there. Grow up. And Surya, most of the Silicon Valley women are quite nice. Most.

    1. and see Surya, this comment is where it becomes clear you are full of it and an insincere person. You ARE HR folk, so your comment is nothing but self serving and pathetic. Even above when you said “I work in Marketing”, you purposely left out the fact that your background is actually HR. Hypocrisy at its finest.

  12. Favorite things in this thread to date:

    (1) This ANA person basically rips EHRL for being one sided, when the article explicitly states that she can’t for sure diagnose why the OP wasn’t promoted since she doesn’t know the HRM involved, but concludes it’s probably a combination of the OPs *self admitted* arrogance and the HRM’s only insecurities

    (2) ANA’s experience, as described by him, seems to only be in and around the Silicon Valley tech sector, and somehow he knows what everyone else thinks about every other HR person. We are all a little different and have different roles and talents. (Yes, I said “We” because I don’t really care if you judge me for being in HR).

    (3) The truth is that the HRM in the original posting was part of a conversation with the OPs acquaintances (and maybe some former coworkers who didn’t take well to his abrasive attitude) so maybe the story relayed to the OP was a bit distorted or a conglomeration of several people’s comments and/or questions regarding his placement.

    (4) As ANA points out, the business world is quite small, in any field, especially if you’re staying within a somewhat closed area. In the two years since my last position I’ve run into more people that USED to be at Company XYZ or what have you and while they will never have the power to hire me, giving the hrinng manager the wrong impression could cost me a job. As much as the OP is upset about not getting promoted accordingly at his current job, maybe the lack of promotions or pay raises had more to do with the business as a whole than him personally. I know our raises have been capped at cost of living for the past 2 or so years even though I’ve been rated a Top Performer for 2 years in a row, including my first year evaluation) and my managers submitted for more $$.

    on, and just so you all know – HR really has little say in most companies about who does and doesn’t get hired. Once that resume goes the to hiring manager, we are the ones who communicate their Inquisition.

    Just food for thought.

    1. This I agree. HR can caution against or explicitly say no against hiring certain candidates – and this is why even if your mental makeup is that of a jerk, you have to be nice to HR! – but the final hiring decision is made by the hiring manager.

    2. I’m not a he, I’m a she. Even though I currently work in Silicon Valley doesn’t mean my experience is only in Silicon Valley. The disgust towards is universal from the automotive industry in Detroit to the aerospace industry in Denver.

      I’ll leave you all to compliment each other and your mediocre professions, but sorry to break it to you, the majority of the real creators out there think of you as the lowest of the low at companies. I believe the insecurity of most HR reps is because they fear that most staff think this way — and yes, they do.

  13. I am from one of the top B schools in India.

    And I see you did post your linkedin profile here….

    Oh wait, you didn’t.

    And troll doth protest too much.

    1. Top 5 “in India” so says Wikipedia. But really a non-player in the world, much as yourself.

      Your constant cliche statements like “doth protest so much”, just make you sound stupid.

      Anyway, I’ll let the HR folks get back into their little world of making themselves feel like they are something important. :]

  14. I stumbled across this thread actually researching a quote. And had to add my verbose and somewhat on topic 2 cents.

    The poster does sound arrogant on some levels I think there is some bad on both sides. Yes, he/she needs to learn to get along better with his co-workers and tone down his opinion of him/her self (at least to the outside world).

    Also.HR probably is fairly useless at his company. (I am not saying this is you EHRL).

    From my experience HR is a group to be avoided in most companies, I have run into a couple exceptions where they have been friendly, helpful, and seem to actually the employee’s interest in mind (almost as much as the company’s).

    I have on the other hand encountered far more of the either useless (can’t answer a question or just refuse to do any work) or so superior (well how can you possibly not know about and understand this convoluted explanation of this little known clause on page 168 of the employee handbook) HR people than the ones who actually know their job and want to balance the need to be a company cog and actually help the employees out here and there with issues.

    That said I think burning bridges is an extremely bad idea. If you are an A (at least ability-wise) you aren’t an A employee if you can’t work with the B’s and C’s. I was lucky when I was programming to work in a department full of A’s, most of which were actually very cool and helpful. The A’s that weren’t helpful only 1 or 2 of them were the type you needed to put off in a corner writing code and god help you if you needed to ask them something and weren’t a 100% accurate with every detail of question. There is nothing more annoying than someone being intentionally obtuse because you are a word off in your description of something (because you have never worked with it or been exposed to it). These people IMO are useless regarding how sharp they may be and if I were a manager I would not want them on my team. The were a few B’s and C’s as well, but not a lot. The C’s mostly got weeded out in a couple rounds of layoffs.

    There were a couple B’s that though not nearly as sharp as the obtuse A’s described above that would bend over backwards to help anyone and a couple C’s that would do anything they were asked if you asked the right way. IMO both of those groups were far more useful than arrogant obtuse A’s.

    On the other hand the statement that B’s and C’s get the work done is also a bad generalization. I worked with B’s that were good at their job, but were “too busy” to learn that new piece of software (because they wanted to point out that I wasn’t busy enough not realizing I was getting far more work done than them by working smarter and being a better programmer – YES I KNOW I HAVE AN ARROGANT SIDE). But, they could have cut out probably 3-4 hours a week of their ‘HARD WORK’ by using that new product which would have taken maybe an hour to learn and an hour to setup to do that 3-4 hours of work for them every week in about 10 minutes. And even after a couple of us mentioning that they could use that product to save time they were still “TOO BUSY” to learn it. Those B’s aren’t the kind you need because of their ‘no matter how fast I dig the hole keeps getting deeper’ thinking makes them only semi-useful and I’ve encountered a fair number of these.

    Also, I’ve seen C’s that everyone hated working with that did good work for me because I knew how to read their responses. I worked with a guy, I’ll call him Jim (because that was his name) that everyone bitched about managing because he wouldn’t tell them if he didn’t understand something. The first time I worked with him and explained something I said (watch this magic) ‘Jim do you understand that?’ and he said (hesitantly) “Um, yeah I think so.’ and I said ‘Would you like it explained again?’ and he said “Yes’. And after that if he hesitated in his affirmation I explained things a second or third time (in a slightly different way) and he never went off track with his work for me. Those C’s are useful and can do a lot of good work if properly directed.

    I just wanted to point out that no matter A,B, or C (D’s can just go to hell probably talking to their kids or spouse on the phone while doing mediocre work at best) they can be super useful and helpful or a waste of space. Yeah, it helps to have a few B’s and possibly a few C’s around (because they’ll do some of the less interesting work without complaint), but the most important issue is the type of person regardless of ability (damn I wish a lot of managers would get that and that thank you can go a looong way sometimes), Thanks for the thread it was an interesting read though completely off topic from the info I was looking for LOL).

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