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.