Summer Job

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The Peter Principle. Have you ever heard of it? It is a belief that in a hierarchy you are promoted until you reach your level of incompetence. There are many places where this principle comes to pass, in businesses, work and school. One place that I saw the Peter Principle put to work was at my own summer job working as a lifeguard at an outdoor pool. There, you could start out as a lifeguard, move up to head guard and then to supervisor. But, some people were just not fit for the higher roles.

One way that one became incompetent to become a supervisor was that they could not take charge. This lifeguard could be great at doing their job, scanned the water often, made sure the rules were followed and knew all the different techniques and things needed for rescue. But, when put in charge of all the other lifeguards, they would fall out of place. For example, this lifeguard that had been moved up was used to being told what to do from his higher leaders and it was easy for him to follow. Now being the one telling others what to do, he really did not know what to say.

Organization was another big thing that this lifeguard who had been moved up to supervisor had trouble with. As a lifeguard it was easy for him to be organized, he went to all the meetings, came to every shift on time and attended all the in-services that were held. Definitely a top employee, which led to a promotion, which then led to his incompetence. Because now he was in charge of planning those meetings and tracking whether people were there at every shift and if they were on time, but that was not in his nature, he was not able to keep all those things organized.

In this situation at my work this lifeguard that had been promoted to a higher paying job could not fulfil all the responsibilities needed for it. I could see that someone very competent in there job before, could be moved up in the hierarchy until they reached their level of incompetence, which is the Peter Principle.
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