Miss Blag

She’s young and smart – smartly dressed, that is!  She often wears suits, she always wears high heels.  She frequently appears in a just-too-short-to-be-appropriate-at-work skirt, and spends the whole time tugging it downwards, as women who wear very short skirts always seem to be doing (bit of a mixed message, if you ask me).

She tends to favour wearing a small coloured scarf tied tightly round her neck, which makes her look like an air hostess.  (I considered calling her ‘The Air Hostess’, but that would be insulting to air hostesses!)

Nothing wrong with looking good, but in this case it goes with an overblown sense of self-importance that surrounds her like an aura and gets up people’s noses!

She’s only had a couple of years of work experience – in sales – but she behaves like she’s the expert on everything.  She always knows the answer to every question (or thinks she does), is always first to volunteer for any task that promises to look good on her CV, regardless of whether she’s remotely capable of doing it.

She makes a point of informing you at the earliest opportunity that she has a Masters degree, but this doesn’t impress me because I’ve seen her atrocious writing style.  I was asked to check a piece of her written work and the amount of red ink I was forced to cover it with was embarrassing.  Numerous basic mistakes, heaving with ambiguities and statements reflecting poor judgment or lack of sensitivity – it was like a schoolchild’s essay, only worse.

Her emails are just as bad, there is never one without a sloppy error in the very first line.  I had to insist she reprint some labels because of an apostrophe being in the wrong place.  Not only had she not noticed, she argued against it, not even aware of the embarrassment I had saved her from!  (Especially since the error related to Directors’ vs Director’s – and it was the Directors who would have noticed it!)

How do people get themselves employed, never mind promoted, when their underlying skills are so weak?

I know the answer – it’s ‘blag’.  Talking your way into things, blowing your own trumpet.  I suppose it’s the confidence of youth, but some people just have such an overwhelming sense of their own brilliance, they’re completely removed from the reality of their own limitations and weaknesses.

That’s my objection to her, the fact that she has no self-awareness, no humility, no ability to admit or concede her mistakes.

She has got herself promoted recently by virtue purely of giving an impression of confidence, of adopting the manner of someone who is important, who knows what they’re doing, and who knows what’s going on.

But I’ve seen her mistakes!  Virtually everything she does, she does wrong!  She’ll send out invitations for the wrong dates, correcting and reissuing them endlessly.  She’ll forget to include people she’s been asked to include.  She’ll use the wrong version of a document even though you’ve warned her, informed her of the right one.  When asked to make amendments, she will invariably make mistakes and have to be told to amend her amendments.  She will make glaring errors when following a complex process and be unable to see the point, to understand the significance of the things she has done wrong or in the wrong order.

Of course she’ll be utterly inconsistent in her presentation – ask her to change something in one place and she’s guaranteed not to spot the reoccurrences elsewhere.  And when her blunders are gently pointed out to her, she will deny them and argue to your face that she is right, or is only doing what she has been told!  I have pointed out obviously duplicated sentences to her in some proofreading which had not been done properly, and she just stared and stared at it, refusing to acknowledge or agree to correct her mistake.

I have absolutely no confidence in her ability to do anything properly!  I would not give her a reference, if ever requested!

But what makes you unsympathetic to her underlying weaknesses (which surely will come to light and be her undoing in the end), is the fact that alongside them she exhibits an incredibly aloof and pretentious manner!  I’ve heard her repeatedly corrected and disagreed with in meetings by someone older and wiser, and her response will always be something like, “Well of course I see that, but the point I’m trying to make is…” or “I’m simply trying to say that I believe it’s important that we…”

She always has to have her say, however inane her comments.  She really does come across like a teenager making immature observations in adult company, with everyone embarrassed but not wanting to tell her to her face she’s being stupid and ridiculous.

What has annoyed me most is how quick she is to take authority onto herself, even when she hasn’t been given it.  I’ve heard she is delegating tasks to people who don’t report to her and to whom she has no right to delegate!  When I was asked to supervise her just after she started, I tried to do so without being authoritative.  Rather than demand that she change something, I would pussyfoot, gently suggesting whether perhaps she agreed that something would look better in a different way.  But as soon as she finds herself in the position of organising something, not only can she be heard telling people, “I’m running things now,” at every opportunity – she doesn’t hesitate to start telling other people (including me!) what to do!

When giving out staff duties sheets before an event, rather than relate to people as colleagues (in fact, as superiors, which most of them are), as has always been done in the past, she summons people to a meeting, and starts to pontificate, “The reason I have asked you all here today, is so that everyone understands what they need to do…”  Er, yes, they’ve all been doing it every year since way before your time, love!

I’m sure I’m being unfair, it’s just that those of us who are perhaps under-confident find it difficult to deal with people at the other end of the spectrum.

I suppose she’ll grow up at some point.  I’m sure she’ll go a long way, because a confident manner is probably one of the most useful things to possess in today’s cutthroat business world.

But to me, she’s like one of the people from the TV programme, “The Apprentice”.  The stereotype pushy young thing who is extremely good at self-promotion and going on about how absolutely wonderful they are at everything and how deserving of acclaim and recognition, whilst at the same time visibly demonstrating that they are actually pretty average, if not utterly useless.

If Miss Blag was actually any good at anything underneath, I might admire her.  But unfortunately she’s all blag and no substance.  I expect to see her on “The Apprentice” very soon!

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