Its not ignorance I despise. We're all ignorant of things we have no knowledge of - but its those holdouts who choose to either remain ignorant or somehow refrain from knowledge (those who actively block understanding perhaps believe ignorance is bliss and will somehow lead a more fulfilling life) which grate on me the most, because of the obstructionism which invariably follows.
My first joint assignment I was absolutely floored that they put an Army Staff Sergeant in charge of us because he was of higher rank - only because in the Air Force we attain rank differently, that is, under a different set of circumstances than those in the Army do. All of us Senior Airmen had been in for 4-years. Our progression was made up of Time in Rank, Time in Grade, and testing scores of the knowledge of our career field. The SSgt. who was put in charge of us was 2-years out of school, but he'd done really well on his push-ups. Bitter? YOU BET! To this day I say you cannot effectively lead an intelligence squadron based on physical fitness alone.
Same thing with managers. I really respect those of my managers who have a working knowledge of the work in which we do. The others? It has always ended badly. And yet they're the ones responsible for making the decisions. Take storage for example...
Every time I've been involved in a storage solutions sales orientation, sales guys outline their products utilizing the Project Triangle. This assigns speed, redundancy, and cost to each point of an equilateral triangle ending with the statement to the IT Manger to "Pick any two."
Every single time, without fail the manager states, "I want all three!"
Enter the pre-sales tech guy who smart salesmen rarely travel without. The pre-sales tech guy explains in a high-level overview that each of the sides of the triangle are interrelated. That is, for the unitiated, THEY'RE REPRESENTED BY A TRIANGLE FOR A REASON. Any two can be accomplished at any time, which will mathematically result in the third one being omitted. Its not magic, really. Let me explain.
- I can build you a fast, low-cost system, but it won't be redundant.
- I can build you a low-cost redundant system, but the very nature of that redundancy will be slow.
- I can build you a fast redundant system, but that's going to double your hardware costs, and won't be cheap.
And yes, its in this defining moment that the accidental manager looks thoughtful, then replies, "Unacceptable!" And suggests that maybe another vendor would be able to defy this logic as if it were merely a statistical anomaly.
This identical scenario has happened to me many, many times.
The pointy-haired boss is not a myth. He is out there.