Tuesday, April 04, 2006

The Fat Bearded Know-It-All

He may not be fat, and he may not have a beard, but he sure does know it all. There is at least one of these in every group in every division in every high tech company, and probably in all other industries as well. The fat bearded know-it-all may not be in charge; in fact, he usually isn't. He may not be the highest paid, and he may not be the most respected, but he is usually the most listened to.

The most listened to, that is, in terms of absolute time. The fat bearded know-it-all typically dominates every discussion. If he doesn't begin it, he ends it, because it's quote orthogonal. If he doesn't end it, he continues it, to make sure his contribution is at least above eighty percent. If that doesn't resolve anything, he takes it "offline", and if he doesn't take it offline, he follows up with a raft of emails. The meeting is never allowed to "rat-hole", unless he is the rat, and it is his hole.

He is the first to arrive at the meeting. He is early, so he can take the best seat in the room - the "man seat". He has a host of biting comments prepared and marshalled for every occasion.

The fat bearded know-it-all has solutions before there are problems. He answers every question before it is posed. He anticipates and forestalls all objections. Did you know, he is a chess master, a tour de force cyclist, a video game master who by the way knows the words to every song by Steely Dan. Nothing escapes his attention. He is the man who would want to be king if it were possible in this day and age.

Let no one else have a say in the matter, and let the matter be closed. If he has done it, it is done. Perceived flaws in his work are merely flaws in your perception. That bug in the software? Purely by design. That question you asked is just the kind of question he never wants to hear again, from anyone. He makes it clear, for the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, but all of it belongs to the fat, to the bearded, to the one who knows it all.


Mr Angry said...

Spooky accurate. I work as a contractor so end up in a lot of places and you see these types all the time! The last one I had to deal with actually had the audacity to have a sign in his cubicle reading: "I'm paid for what I know, not for what I do."

I don't think he should have gone to such lengths to draw attention to the fact that he didn't actually do anything.

pint-sized said...

If it makes you feel any better, the reason that the Fat Bearded Know-It-All is so well prepared, so opinionated ad so god-damn annoying is because he has no friends- I work with one every day and this wonderful fact of his lack of any friends is the only thing that realy keeps me going.
Have a good day