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John Paul Cook

Cumulative Irritant Theory

This is that one day of the year when authors are given license to write just about anything. This year's topic is the Cumulative Irritant Theory or CIT if you prefer. I developed this theory during a protracted recession in the 1980s. I witnessed many layoffs and started noticing a pattern, one that didn't fit with what I learned when I was in graduate school getting my M.B.A. In school, I was taught that performance appraisals were useful tools that should be used to determine which low performers to terminate when economic circumstances necessitated such actions.

What I saw time and time again is that when layoffs occurred, some high performers would also be laid off. I didn't understand that at first. But after a period of time, I noticed something about the high performers who were laid off. They were a pain in the neck, or some other anatomic locus. What I realized is that these people had irritated management time after time and quite simply, they were a thorn in the side of management. Getting rid of them just felt good. That's when I realized that irritating the boss or anybody else is like radiation damage. It just accumulates, it nevers goes away. When it reaches a certain threshold and it's time to lay people off, the most irritating people go.

Published Friday, April 1, 2011 11:26 PM by John Paul Cook
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About John Paul Cook

John Paul Cook is a database and Azure specialist in Houston. He previously worked as a Data Platform Solution Architect in Microsoft's Houston office. Prior to joining Microsoft, he was a SQL Server MVP. He is experienced in SQL Server and Oracle database application design, development, and implementation. He has spoken at many conferences including Microsoft TechEd and the SQL PASS Summit. He has worked in oil and gas, financial, manufacturing, and healthcare industries. John is also a registered nurse recently completed the education to become a psychiatric nurse practitioner. Contributing author to SQL Server MVP Deep Dives and SQL Server MVP Deep Dives Volume 2. Connect on LinkedIn

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