Have you ever worked somewhere, and you encounter someone that is so epically clueless or so clearly out of place that you wondered to yourself, or allowed, “how in the heck did this person get here?” The fact that they are a coworker absolutely blows your mind. You rack your brain over the logic but there is no legitimate reason you can come up with that would explain their presence. You know there must be some mistake because this person is incapable of performing the function for which they are there and the level of ignorance you are encountering defies human understanding.
We have all been there. We have all met this person. Please don’t misunderstand my intentions here. This is not addressing the specific individual in terms of personality, likeability, popularity, or any other form of judgment that is not based on morality or ethics. I am talking about people that are clearly incapable of physically or mentally handling the tasks of the job they are supposed to be performing. It is not an attack on their character. It is about the right person for the right job with the right qualifications and the right ability to do the job. So much “right” involved, yet you will often encounter someone that is so wrong for the job. The answer is simple, yet complex. There is no filter in existence that is %100.
No matter how many interviews, tests, training programs, hurdles, that you put in the way to weed out the unfit, there are always those that slip through the cracks of the filters. You might be thinking, “well, if they pass then they are fit right?” Wrong. No system is completely fool proof and there are plenty of fools that make it through the interviews, testing, and training, only to be discovered in the workplace, they are a fish out of the water. If you have never worked in an environment where this is the case, lucky you. In many cases, it is harmless. Very annoying, irritating, frustrating, mind blowing, but harmless. In those cases, all you need is a little more patience.
Unfortunately, this is something that I encountered more often than I would have liked during my time in the military. As I am sure you can imagine, probably not the best place for something to slip through the cracks. The military puts a lot of time, money, and resources into doing its best to filter out those who won’t be able to function in the military as intended. Even so, the military system is not perfect. While they do a fantastic job of weeding out a majority of those who will not be able to handle the stresses and requirements of service, there are still those that get through. Whether its technicalities, other service members doing such a good job of being teammates that the signs go unnoticed by the instructors, paperwork magic (pencil whipping and/or ignoring red flags), etc., the list goes on.
There are times when compassion and understanding are needed. Not everyone handles things the same. Some people require extra training or guidance. Maybe they don’t fit right then and there, but their passion and will show that the potential exists, it just needs more tending. These are the instances where a diamond in the rough can be formed. While not impossible, it is very rare. Furthermore, the time or manpower may not always be present to cultivate these hidden possibilities. It will always be a case-by-case basis. I am not suggesting that the people who don’t belong should be mistreated or cast aside. This is merely a warning. I am a firm believer in everyone deserving a chance, however, it should not come at the safety or expense of others. In many cases, it is just irritating or inconvenient, but not always.
In any kind of emergency work, whether it is law enforcement, medical, fire fighters, the military, security, etc., the unfit can potentially cause more harm. Hesitation, lack of experience or skill, an absence of confidence, failure to understand capabilities and personal limitations, can all lead to a very negative outcome. Not just for the individual, but for everyone around them as well. Think about it. Do you want a soldier with a firearm that doesn’t know how to use it? Do you want the person in the ambulance with you to not know CPR? Do you want a responding firefighter to cower from fire? While everyone deserves a chance to be what they want to be, everyone else deserves someone in those positions that knows what they are doing.