Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Being Smart

I was discussing with several of the mid-to-high management people how much of the Target employee population breaks down into the two extremes of "too smart to be working at Target" and "too dumb to be working at Target".

One of them went off on how if people are so smart, how come they can't get their jobs done.

And his point does have some merit behind it. In fact, I often cited a similar principle to Peter about how he thought his college courses were so stupid and yet he was failing them more often than not.

But there was something wrong with this premises, especially when it was applied to working at Target.

And I couldn't figure it out well enough to articulate it right then, which is a prime example of why I like doing all human contact through the internet instead of sitting together in person, because then I can take 2 minutes to think of what it is I want to say, and the conversation waits for it. And there's google AND spell check, both of which are very important for me not to sound like a blubbering fool much of the time.

And now that I have figured out what it is I want to say about it, there is only you few devoted readers to hear it.

Oh well.

Being smart doesn't automatically make you really good at everything, especially not if you consider all the different ways to be smart.

Someone can be incredibly smart in their ability to remember everything they read.

They are not un-smart because they suck at algebra only slightly less than they suck at playing soccer.

Someone can be incredibly smart in their ability to solve problems and visualize new concepts.

They are not un-smart because they have trouble remembering popular song lyrics.

Someone can be incredibly smart academically from all their years of schooling and have earned numerous advanced degrees.

They are not un-smart because they don't know why their car is making a thunka-thunka noise every time they drive up a hill.

Someone can be incredibly smart in their ability to understand the world around them.

They are not un-smart because they lack all the social skills to successfully operate amongst people in it.

So I still maintain that someone can be too smart to work at Target, and still not overly successful at their particular job.

And Albert Einstein totally agrees with me.


  1. I spent many many years working retail and I hated most of the jobs because they didn't challenge my brain. Sure, I'm smart, but I don't have to be smart to put clothes back on the rack, clean out a fitting room, or ring up a customer. So very lucky I get to do something that stimulates the brain.

  2. Very true. Also, there's a big difference between "book smart" and "common sense". I find the latter more helpful.

  3. Very good points. And I love that Einstein quote.

  4. yep, einstein had it quite right! as do you...