Why Do Terrible Workers Get the Good Jobs?

Laura Eve
4 min readOct 30, 2022
man and woman in professional clothes giving each other a high five
Photo by krakenimages on Unsplash

We’ve all met one, perhaps we’ve even been one from time to time.

What am I talking about? The terrible worker, of course!

But how and why do such terrible workers seem to get the best jobs? This has been a question that has been plaguing my mind for quite some time.

No matter where I work, there is always at least one totally incompetent member of staff, and usually, but not always, these are the staff at the top of the chain.

How do they get there and how do they get away with it?

Here’s my theory about why terrible workers get the best jobs

1. They’ve got something on the boss

During a previous job at a European start up, I worked with a narcissist. In all honestly, I’ve never worked or met with anyone so truly awful in my life!

This person had the manager wrapped around their finger. They flirted with them, continually messaged them out of work, and lied about them to get what they wanted.

They introduced the boss to their family when they were in town, all the while pulling the manager deeper into their fold.

The result? This person could get away with murder and managed top create the most toxic environment I’ve ever worked in.

This terrible worker kept their job and got to do practically nothing because they had manipulated their manager. They rang in sick often, accused people of bullying them if they just asked them to do the basics of their job, and they manipulated people who were stressed and burnt out.

All of this behaviour masked the core problem — that they were sub-par at their job.

2. They are privileged

In my current company, a lot of the ‘people at the top’ seem to have been privately educated. As a result, they have an air of confidence even though they are utterly terrible (and everyone talks about it) at their jobs. They also have a lot of contacts — nepotism breeds nepotism!

Often with this type of person, there is an element of expectation. They have gone through a very safe life of always knowing…