Where USF faculty, students and graduates are invited to talk about journalism and its problems and opportunities. This blog is not affiliated with the University of San Francisco, nor is the university responsible for any of the opinions expressed herein -- though it is certainly responsible for the people who entertain those opinions, having educated them. They make us proud.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Sad But Pretty Damn True

I recently had lunch in the Mission with two outstanding USF grads whose intent from the moment they walked on campus some years ago was to join the great fraternity -- well, in one case, sorority -- of print journalists. And so they did. I think these people are going to be lifers. We talked of many things, but the point they both made was that about 90 percent of their problems at work involved dealing with incompetent supervisors.

I mean top editors. I mean bosses.

The problems weren't subtle ethical issues. The problems weren't fierce debates about content or editorial direction. The problems were matters of basic competence and honesty.

In other words, the Peter Principle is alive and well. You may not need to become a master of workplace politics to survive and thrive, but you must understand it if you are going to keep yourself off the horns of the bull.

Am I right or am I right?

Addendum: My word. I reread this several hours after writing it, and I must say it's rather a rant, you know, being provocative for the sake of eliciting comment. So let me soften it a bit. I have had bad bosses and good bosses. I have been a bad boss, and I have been a good boss. All that said, there's no doubt all of us will work for bad bosses at one time or another just as there is no doubt all of us will make mistakes for which we should take responsibility. Sharing tales of both "life stories" can be useful, if only to reinforce the fact one's experience is seldom unique.

Now I feel better.

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