Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Peter Principle Proof and Pride

If one finds the out-of-print first edition of the Dimwit Dictionary (aka: Words for Dummies) and leafs to the definition of the Peter Principle, a picture of the Colonel will be found in the margin.

When it comes to recognizing incompetence the Colonel knows whereof he speaks.

Prior to 1968, organizations, large and small, suffered from an unrecognized malady that sapped strength, frustrated progress, and fueled water cooler whisper campaigns.  In that year, however, the eyes of the masses were opened to the truth  --  Dr. Laurence J. Peter, a life-long teacher who never once worked outside of the not-so-hallowed halls of academe, published The Peter Principle, in which he postulated that "In a hierarchy every employee tends to rise to his level of incompetence," and that "Work is accomplished by those employees who have not yet reached their level of incompetence." 


During his long and not-so-illustrious career as a roguishly handsome soldier of the sea keeping the rapacious wolf of repressive socialism away from the door of freedom, the Colonel not only witnessed Dr. Peter's principle in action, he perfected it as a personal pathway to promotion.

The Colonel, as any one of the thousands of you who loyally lap up the literary libations ladled out in posts hereon will remember from frequent mentions, while not as severely handicapped as those most unfortunate and pitiable 'Bama and LSU grads, is nonetheless shackled by a lack of applicable education -- an undergraduate degree in Political Science (the last refuge of desperate students frantic to maintain the college cash flow from Uncle Sam, or Daddy, as the case may be) from Ole Miss, and two masters (MS in Human Resource Management; MA in Strategic Planning) notwithstanding.

The Colonel challenges anyone to come up with a viable vocation, other than academia and the military, in which that mishmash of (ahem) education has any value. 

The Colonel couldn't.

So, the Colonel saws logs and raises chickens.

The Colonel digresses.

One might correctly surmise that during his productive years the Colonel's lack of applicable education might have easily led to either a career as a homeless dumpster diver or college professor.  But, to paraphrase that great philosopher and astute observer of the human condition, Paul Simon, the Colonel's lack of education didn't hurt him none; he could still see the writing on the wall.

And that writing, in bold red crayon, said: 

"Surround thyself with talent and hold daily talent contests."

In orange crayon slightly below and to the right were the admonitory words:

"...and stay out of the way."

The Colonel ain't smart.  But he could read well enough, and was savvy enough to follow crayon course corrections.

The Colonel offers, as proof of his perfection of the art of staying out of the way, a dozen lieutenants, captains, and majors who kept him out of jail and now share his appellation. 

The Colonel keeps up with their careers by stalking their wives' facebook pages -- not many self-respecting active duty Marine officers maintain their own pages. 

The Colonel is quite certain that several of these colonels have yet to achieve their proof of the Peter Principle -- there are stars in their futures.       
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