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It’s So Simple!

“I could do your job.”

Have you ever had someone say that to you before? I don’t get that a ton anymore (though many people think they could write every day). When I was a recruiter, I got it all of the time.

“Oh, I’ve hired people before.”


“Seemed pretty easy to me.”


Now, I know I’ve thought this before about other people. Perhaps when I’ve been frustrated at a customer service person on the other end of the line, I shake my head and wonder, “Over 13 million people are unemployed and you still have a dumb, simple job that anyone can do?”

If you’ve ever tried a home improvement project, you probably had that feeling right before you screwed something up. “This is so easy,” you think to yourself. Then you’re back at The Home Depot buying another door knob because you somehow broke the other one. That’s not necessarily based on a true story.

I also think back to this quote from one of my favorite movies Office Space:

“You know what I can’t figure out? How is it that all these stupid, neanderthal mafia guys can be so good at crime, and smart guys like us can suck so badly at it?” — Michael

In our quest for answers, the simplest answer isn’t always the right one. But they are often the most attractive. For example, many jobs that seem easy on the surface have a lot of specialized skills involved. When someone isn’t doing a great job helping me out, it is easier to think that the person is just incompetent. What may more often be the case is a bad training programs, bad systems, bad managers or a bad company.

One of the things I still have issues with is figuring out if something that I’m covering is a simple issue or complex one. Many seemingly simple issues are complex ones and complex issues are often simple ones in disguise. I’ve had to unlearn my natural assumption to reduce complicated issues into simple ones. Digging deeper usually reveals the answer pretty quickly but I wish I had a better sense of it all.

Simplicity is great but it can also be based on some really flawed assumptions. Those assumptions can get in the way of understanding the true nature of the world around you.

That easy job is actually difficult. You can’t do as many things as you think you can do. You can be smart but still be a bad crook. Simple problems hide deeper issues.

It’s simple: not everything is simple.

By Lance Haun

Strategy for The Starr Conspiracy. Former HR pro. Portland guy (Go Blazers!) and WSU alum (Go Cougs!). I get to write about what I want here.

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