Why is Your Boss Always Dumber Than You?: PHILOSOPHY ARTICLE

Why is Your Boss Always Dumber Than You?

A friend and I were laughing about our treacherous days working in retail and we both marveled at how stupid our managers were.

“Why is it your bosses always seem to be dumber than you?” My friend asked me. I got to thinking, and I may have figured it out, believe it or not it has more to do with you than your boss.

I think our biggest mistake all these years was blaming the corporations. In truth, when you actually read the bylaws in the employee manual, most corporations have systems in place that ensure fair advancement. If everyone did as the paper told, things would run with ease. The problem really comes down to the human factor. The human factor being the way we naturally allow fear and insecurity to affect our decisions. Instead of blaming the corporations, we should blame ourselves. Why?

A leader needs minions, and his minions need minions, you agree? So how does insecurity and fear affect a leader? He’s at the top, he’s closest to the secrets that make his business unique. The last thing any leader wants is to train their future competition. So, to a point, a certain lack of ambition is a requirement in his potential minions. Someone who’s just good enough to do everything they’re asked, without the intelligence to put it all together into their own business plan.

Using the same logic, a regional manager will hire a slightly dumber District Manager and so on. We stunt each other’s growth, all the way down to the food chain, hoping to ensure we’re never replaced, even if that means making things worse.

Ages ago when I worked in retail, I had a store manager who was so good for the company that we had million dollar weeks almost all the time. He knew how to motivate the workers and keep everyone happy so of course they got rid of him. When I say “they”, I mean the other workers that were hoping to become store managers themselves. Sadly, it worked, some people stepped up, and others were transferred to become store managers at other facilities. In the many years since I worked there, the store still has not recovered from it and regularly loses money instead of making it.

Keep in mind, that’s not how the system was set up by the corporation. Incentive bonuses are given for a person to transfer to a new store or to take up the reins at a store that is struggling and the void left by that person’s absence can be filled by some aspiring leader. People, however, find ways to screw up any system. That’s kind of our “thing”. This great store manager’s mistake? He hired people too smart for his own good. He approached things in a way that made sense, and unfortunately he suffered for it.

The system wasn’t really the issue, it was the people in it.

But then we get to you, someone who sees just how stupid your boss is and you wonder? WHY? Why if stupid trickles DOWNhill, am I seeing stupid looking UPhill? Why are our bosses always dumber than we are? Two choices; fix yourself, or fix everything else. Which do you think we as people always pick first? Right, let’s mess with everything else, because that’s always worked in the past.

When you think about it, the only way to ensure a system works is to put up cameras and microphones everywhere and monitor people’s conversations and daily activities. To do so, you’d need a separate organization for the sole purpose of monitoring this information and reprimanding anyone who causes drama in the work environment. This would ensure that the people who advance aren’t the best connivers and conspirators, but the best leaders.

And when the connivers and conspirators found ways to manipulate that separate organization… well… you’d basically have the United States Government and all its politicians wouldn’t you?

Sadly, fear is what fuels our world and yet fear is the very thing that destroys it. It would appear the only true thing worth fearing in this world is fear itself… OH, nope, wait, we’ve already been down that road as well haven’t we? HA HA. Okay, well maybe then the focus should be on building a utopian socie- nope, communism, tried that… maybe a hybrid? Nope. Socialism. Maybe we should just say screw it and go back to the good old days of milking cows and an honest day’s wor… nope, the depression, that didn’t work either. In the same nature as government, corporations have tried their best, and many large behemoths have fallen.

I guess the only thing left to do is…stop caring. To worry only about ourselves… because if no system works, then we should at least get ahead any which way we can. This… obviously loops us back to the beginning of this article and how fear and insecurity causes people to position non-threatening associates around them so as to ensure their own job security… which hasn’t worked out so well for my old employers.

From what I can figure, detachment allows fear and manipulation to run rampant. It’s when people are detached from each other’s misery that they can add more misery to each other’s lives. So, a theory that I don’t think has been tried could be to put everyone on a rotation. Let a store manager swap with a zone manager, or even a cashier, for a day. A regional manager pushing a broom sounds fun doesn’t it? Just for a day, one day a year. That’s 365 chances in however many stores or offices for people to empathize with each other; great.

So, with all the analysis done by corporations… why doesn’t this happen all over the place? It can’t be that original of an idea. Again, we loop back to fear. What if in that one day the whole system falls apart? Right, because since presidents can’t destroy a country in four or eight years, a store manager might destroy a company in one day… duh. Then again, the leaders might get anxious with all that “togetherness” when you think about it. They might be funding a coup, right? All the togetherness and paychecks could add up to a business plan of their own used to break off and make a competing business… which is how we made Feudal Japan. So, shucks if we haven’t already been there too.

To prevent that, maybe create a need in your workers to spend their money, that way they always “need” you. They have the togetherness, but lack the funds. Maybe you act smugly towards their car, or their clothes, or their house so they always feel like they haven’t quite “made it” yet, and they can’t “make it” until all they’re doing is spending their money. That way, you can have a system that is improved without losing your employees or creating more competition… and now we’re at our current economic depression with people spending more than they make to buy crap they didn’t need in the first place.

Wow, thanks to people, you really just can’t win can ya?

So, really the key is for robots to take over the world so everything is coldly calculated and then, finally, things would function properly. Great… “Terminator” and/or “The Matrix” here we come. You may argue that in this new machine controlled world, nothing you do is by choice… but how much of your day is your choice anyway? Wow… that’s how you break the cycle huh? Robots. But that won’t realistically happen for quite some time, probably well after we’re dead.

So, right now, here and now, what the hell can ya do?

If you’re asking, I’d say, forget about the systems and how people ruin them, but accept human nature, it’s the one thing we can’t change.

We’re hierarchal people. Socially; we kind of replicate wolves, with a business being the “pack”. Everyone serves a purpose, and two people trying to serve the same purpose will compete to be the one who fills that role.

Get to know the people you work for. Are you smarter than your department head? Are you smarter than his boss? Keep going up the ladder until you meet someone you have respect for. Save for their experience, you could consider them an equal. Learn from them. What’s their position? That’s where you belong. What would you need to do to get to that position? How many different businesses have that same position? Work your way up to be that individual’s assistant with the intent of transferring to a sister location performing that role. Each is a new chance to get that position. Some of you will get to the top of that corporate ladder and realize, some way, somehow, you’re naturally a leader, others will find they are naturally a Vice President or “second in command” and that’s where they want to be, that’s what they’re naturally meant for. Some belong at the bottom of the food chain, it’s just the way it is.

Forget about status, forget about impressing people, or feeling like you’ve “made it” and ask yourself “Where do I fit?” Where you fit, that’s probably congruent with your purpose as well.

Yet again, we return to the beginning of this article. Instead of blaming the system, instead of blaming people who screw the system up, we should blame ourselves. When the dust settles, if you’re looking at your boss and saying to yourself “What an idiot.” fear and insecurity has already affected your life. You’ve already settled for less.

Sometimes, simply seeing where you want to end up gets you there. Measure your progress in idiots, is the idiot you work for now smarter than the last idiot? Great, you’re moving in the right direction. Keep going that way.

I worked for complete morons, then I got fired by complete morons, now I make more money than those morons, and what do you know? I’m working for someone a lot smarter than those morons. Imagine where I’d be had I realized this sooner?

Well, that’s my theory anyway.

Thanks for reading.


Copyright 2011 Kephra Rubin


About Kephra Rubin

I am slightly dyslexic and have a difficulty with writing. It's because of this that I try to write as much as I can. Lately my writing has improved quite a bit and it's thanks to everyone who reads and posts on my blog. Sometimes it is difficult for me to post as regularly as others do since everything requires a lot of rewrites. Subscribe to my blog so you always know when I've got something new up. Thanks in advance.
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8 Responses to Why is Your Boss Always Dumber Than You?: PHILOSOPHY ARTICLE

  1. SuzyQ says:

    Kudos on you for having the self awareness to know this! 🙂

    Alas, for most of us, we are sheeples. ;P Blaming on others is just plain, easier. Breaking out of the mold takes courage. Loads of it! After all, we are our own worst enemy. Never believing in our own strengths, thoughts, opinions and most of all, our individuality. And most damning of all, way too judgmental.

    God forbid, let me not be one of those! or at least, grant me the wisdom to know it 🙂


    • Kephra Rubin says:

      I remember working in that retail job and bitching about this that and the other thing. I released an album in between spurts of homelessness, WOW, didn’t make a dime. In fact I think it took me three or four years just to break even. I did write a book that made some profit, that was cool, I made that cash quick too, but obviously not enough to get anywhere. However, because of the lessons I chose to learn, I’m further ahead in life than I ever was and the opportunity to try again is here and it’s not a moment of “what can i possibly do?” it’s a moment of “What should I do first?” Because I have some options. Where I started out in life? Yeah, no options of any kind. Now I’m writing another book, and I’m doing a better job than ever before because I learned from the beatings I took along the way.

      It doesn’t happen over night. But if your outlook is weak, it just doesn’t happen.

      On a whole other can of peaches, self doubt is such a bitch ain’t it? I suffer through it. Sometimes I’m literally shaking and screaming in my own head “DO IT!” just to get things that someone else might see as no big deal accomplished. It’s not easy, but perhaps it gets easier.

      Anyway, you rock, I’ll put another gold star on your tab (smirk) We can settle up later.

      “Ta” lol, is it weird that I’m picturing you carrying a shopping bag and talking on a cell phone while saying that? Is that racist?

  2. Steve says:

    I think people in your life play a part in how you turn out. Without support it’s tough to know what the right choice is. It’s one thing to say it, it’s another to do it. As far as I’m concerned you’re just talking.

    • Kephra Rubin says:


      I’m gonna say it like this and then we’re going to move on. There’s three kinds of people in this world. There’s the ones who call bullshit on what everyone says and can’t possibly believe how anything is possible. There’s the ones who agree with what everyone says. And then there’s the people who actually think for themselves and extract whatever useful information they can from the world around them.

      Number one is usually most commonly referred to as a royal douchebag who doesn’t have any real friends, just people who keep him around out of pitty. While number two is more lovingly referred to as a great big pussy, letting anyone who will give them the time of day walk all over them.

      Guess which category you’re in genius. I’ll give you a hint, it ain’t the third one.

      If a man believes he can’t, he can’t… then again… he isn’t really a man at that point, is he?

      Great job though, way to stand up to ME and prove to everyone reading that you’re life being a great big waste of time is everybody else’s fault. You totally convinced me. Totally.

      Thank you, thank you for opening my eyes to the ways of the pussyness. Now I can go on happily spiraling downwards into the oblivion of a sexless life of fake ass friends that are never there when the chips are down with no future in sight and no stories to tell my grand children.

      THANK YOU! I’m so glad you stepped up and made such a constructive and valid point about how worthless the entire world is and how pointless expelling effort to succeed really is.

      My life just got so much easier now, thanks to you!

      Do you have a book? Is there some sort of, I don’t know, goat skinned necranomicon of fucking WISDOM that I can go out and buy right now?

      Because I would buy the shit out of that, right the fuck now.

      Perhaps something with a small workbook section in it with lots of multiple choice-to-misery questions? No? Maybe?

      Or like… a little area with black and white pictures of male vaginas that i can color with some… fucking… crayons, or pastels or some shit?

      No? Nothing? Well what the fuck do you have?

      Inspire me, bitch.

  3. Andrey says:

    This is why I became a Realtor. Oh Lord I wish my timing was better. Great post. It hit very close to home.

    • Kephra Rubin says:

      Well, ouch, lol. Timing is definitely a bitch for that choice in career changes Andrey, there’s no denying that. All I can say in response is that there’s tons of stories of people who suffered before succeeding. Believe me, people love to point and laugh at the one who’s on his ass. But when you stand back up, that’s when they all start to cower in fear. Sadly, most of the world is composed of weak people who will never amount to anything worth remembering. Sadly, this is necessary for people who have dreams they’re strong enough to pursue. In the end, Generals need canon fodder, and business owners need minions. The market always turns around, the biggest piece of financial advice I’ve ever been given is spend when the economy is down and save when it’s up. When the economy does finally turn around, forgo the swimming pools and fancy cars. Besides, it usually pisses people off when you show up in a BMW because they think you’re getting too big of a commission! LOL. Then, when the economy takes another dive as it seems to do every ten years or so, that’d be when you get to name your price for certain luxuries. Most of the Realtors I talked were foolish in that they rode the wave and didn’t realize that all waves come crashing down. They really thought it was going to be that way forever. Save, save, save when everything looks great and then spend spend spend when it looks like the worlds falling apart, lol. Well, that’s my two cents anyway. I have faith in people’s ability to persevere as I’m sure you will as well.

  4. Andrey says:

    I like what you said, but I’m not sure what to say back. I’m not that much of a writer. I know things will get better. I’m a little insulted you made so many assumptions about how I live my life, but I admit I do drive a Beemer. Why do it if you can’t flaunt it? That’s the American dream right? How is that wrong? I had investments and they crashed with everything else. I was saving and maybe I could have saved more, but I have kids and I want them to live in a nice house. When the market turns around I’ll be able to pay for it! ha ha.

    • Kephra Rubin says:

      I love that you said this. Everyone? This is how intelligent people have a discussion, lol. First i want to apologize for the way I said what I said to you. Sometimes i get so into my responses that I forget a lack of body language and tone of voice will change how something is perceived. I only meant to say that just because success doesn’t come overnight doesn’t mean it doesn’t come. We all fail or hit “bumpy spots” but only some of us try again and remain confident in ourselves, and you’re trying again, so you’re a confident person. Trying again is the only way to ensure success. You don’t sound like you’re giving up, so perhaps the freedom and independence being a Realtor provides you is something you love and will not give up on. Sounds like a great fit!

      I want to diverge for a moment because this all relates back to the article wonderfully by providing a nice litmus test for gauging how much you care about something, your willingness to keep trying. I just want to take a second to touch on that.

      People talk about fear of success, and maybe that’s real. However, not always, but in some cases; it’s our heart saying that it’s not the right fit. I’m fortunate to have very genuine friends who love me enough to tell me when I’m completely full of crap. We all sat down and talked about how we’re having a hard time succeeding with our dreams and when the topic got to me, we decided that it was time to pick ONE thing, and succeed with it. I fought this because I said I couldn’t decide between all my talents, which one i loved the most because I loved them all.

      I write poetry, books, movie scripts, scripts for a TV series I want to do some day, I have tons of inventions and designs that I want to one day realize, I also have personal ambitions in martial arts, exercise and marksmanship as well as some hobbies and a desire to maintain a healthy social life. Even for me, that’s a lot of crap. However, once we used that litmus test of “You love the thing you never give up on.” It became immediately clear that my number one passion is writing, specifically books. It’s the one area that I have the most planned out and partially completed. It’s the thing I get most excited about.

      So, “practicing what I preach”, I took a look at the state of things and decided I deserved better. However, in this case instead of looking at my boss I was looking at myself and seeing an idiot, lol. I’m happier now, I’m more focused now, and I have less stress. It works, the concept just works.

      I got off on a tangent there, but this chat brought up a point worth expanding on. Again, I didn’t mean to insult you and I apologize, I’m grateful you took the time out of your day to reply, but I even more grateful that you responded openly and honestly and didn’t disengage from our conversation when you felt hurt by what I said.

      I’m so glad I started this site, because I had honestly lost hope in the world. Specifically it happened the day I discovered the Jersey Shore TV show. The celebration of stupidity had me not only feeling down about the world in general, but also annoyed. I tried seeking out “educated” people, but It’s amazing how many stupid educated people there are in this world.

      This site brings independent, passionate, logic based thinkers together for the stimulating conversation that we lack in our every day lives. I think it’s beautiful.

      If success is measured in money, well, I guess I’m not really succeeding, lol. Genuine smart people are few and far between. Jersey Shore is definitely more profitable than kephrarubin.wordpress.com… especially since i don’t make any money doing this, lol. But it makes me happy damnit, lol. I’m definately succeeding at that.

      Who knows, maybe all 8 of you that visit my site will buy my books and I’ll be able to put money into this project and do cooler stuff, that’d be sweet. Regardless, I can’t say enough about how great it is to have conversation from a variety of people and not have it follow the same empty formula. I honestly get surprised from time to time, which rarely ever happens.

      Who rocks? You rock. Okay, i’m done with my tangents. Thanks again for the post!

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