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The Self-Serving Jerkwad Bias

2012-06-23

I recently responded to someone on a Web forum with the statement:

Beware any claim that results in the least work and responsibility for the claimant.

I was immediately challenged to explain where this proverb originated. Sad to say, it’s something I’ve come up with all by myself.

The best solutions to many problems require interdisciplinary effort. For an IT example, you  might draw from networking, desktop, help desk, etc with the right combination of technology and effort.

When you ask an expert, “How should we solve this problem?”, and their response is an elaborate solution that requires the least possible involvement from their own area of expertise, you should be instantly suspicious. If they knew the right answer, it would probably have something to do with their expertise, which would imply some effort on their part. If their expertise wasn’t really applicable, and they were being honest, they’d just say, “I don’t know”.

But when their expertise suggests an answer that they don’t like, and they don’t want to commit to doing any work, they’ll make up some crazy-ass suggestion that puts all the effort on other people. That’s when they are being self-serving jerkwads.

If you happen to work with me, and you’re reading this article, then… rest assured that this description does not apply to you.

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