Many of us have seen The Office. As brilliantly portrayed by Rainn Wilson, Dwight Schrute is one of the show’s most memorable characters. He’s a “weirdo.” He dresses weird, he behaves weird, he communicates weird. We recognize his character for his many flaws and idiosyncrasies: his lack of social skills or common sense, his love for weapons and the justice system, his many attempts to get promoted, and his rivalry with fellow salesman Jim Halpert, played by John Krasinski. And we all know at least one weirdo at work. Or, maybe is it you?
Schrutes are easily identifiable by their appearance: a weird haircut, with awful bangs, big sideburns, thick eyeglasses a double-pleated corduroys pants with a telephone holder attached to the belt. Usually, they carry something around that seems to be not from this century, or not from this world. What most people don’t remember, though, is that in every season Dwight Schrute has always been the highest-ranking salesman with the best results at Dunder Miffin.
Why do Schrutes don’t get promoted?
For many reasons. One of them is that people simply don’t identify them as leaders because their fabulous and groundbreaking performance doesn’t get noticed. Or simply because they are ticking time bombs. Obviously, they don’t control themselves, and others just fear, “What’s next?”
And if a Schrute does get promoted? In reality, they very often get something I call a “fake promotion.” Their leaders are aware of the great performance those people often deliver behind and beside their weird appearance and behavior. They don’t want to let those results go, and, driven by their own personal agenda, they want to profit as long as possible while accepting they have this weirdo in their team. Therefore, they create fake positions and fake promotions for them. Promotions that don’t exist on any organization chart. Just remember in how many seasons Dwight Schrute, the best sales manager in the branch, became the second or third in command as assistant to the assistant to the regional manager.
My answer to this dilemma? “Un-weird” yourself as much as possible. Get in tune with the culture of your office. Be a team player.