I was reading an article yesterday on all the different nut cases that show up in the workplace. It was sort of a tongue in cheek look at workplace sociology. The classification was rather obvious, including the clown, the revel and several others.

The author missed one.

 As I mentioned in the reply section, “How about the know-it-all?”

Know-it-alls, thankfully, are not all that common, but they will make their presences known. They’re the ones that have an answer for everything, and they’ll find ways to let everyone how important they are because they own all the information in the universe, and they have a personal mandate to share it –with everyone.

 You can spot a know-it-all in every type of social situation. For example, if you’re cross country skiing in an out-of-bounds area in the local mountains, and you find yourself hoplessley lost, the know-it-all will pop up from behind the nearest log to tell you how to make a better martini.

Know-it-alls are always ready to give advice that is usually untested, wrong, or dangerous. For example, while driving, they’ll make proclamations like

  • Why do a shoulder check when you have rear view mirrors?
  • Forget the 4–Way Stop procedure. Just stop and go!
  • You’re allowed to make a left hand turn on a red light if nobody is looking

 At the workplace, you might hear:

  • If you take holidays, nobody will do your work. Then you get fired.
  • If you save all your sick days, you can retire rich.
  • Labour relations says you shouldn’t work on your birthday

Finally, nobody knows income tax law netter that the know-it-all

  • You can claim your gym fees as a medical expense if your Dr. orders you to get some exercise
  • They only keep income tax records for one year, so you can get rid of all those receipts a year after you file.
  • Etc.

I suppose I shouldn’t be too hard on the know-it-all. In fact, as a fitness instructor, I’m often call upon to provide information. For example, someone will ask me how to get rid of the loose flesh on their triceps. I answer them, because I have that answer repaired. I tel people that that is muscle, and I show them some exercises they can do to strengthen it. A know it all might say:

  • Don’t worry about it. If it gets too strong you won’t be able to move it.

 As an employment guy, I tend to worry about the job prospects for died-in-the-wool know-it-alls. I thought of three places: Engineering is the first choice, followed closely Libraries and Librarians. The best career choice would be a Work-a-hubby – my pet name for the trade associates at The Home Depot. The latter was the guy in lumber who told me that I should mount my fence posts on brackets embedded in concrete cylinders. I told him I had oversized posts and I’d have to dig to the earth’s mantle to counterbalance the torque.

 “It doesn’t matter” he said. “Wood always creeks.

 Mike Broderick is an Employment Specialist for the Neil Squire Society in Burnaby where he finds employment for people with physical disabilities. Part of this work means affiliation with the Vancouver Board of Trade where he is a member of the Ambassador Club, the Burnaby Board of Trade where he is a member of the Labour Task Force, the Tri Cities Chamber of Commerce where he is an active member of the 10X10 initiative, and the Abbotsford Chamber of Commerce. He also does some work as a field Archaeologist. He is also a fitness instructor and frequent contributor of fitness humour articles to alive magazine, and the proprietor of The Résumé Doctor in Port Coquitlam. You can reach him at home at  michael_broderick@telus.net or at michaelb@neilsquire.ca. When he is not doing all this he lives in Port Coquitlam with his partner Cecelia



  1. OPPORTUNITIES FOR KNOW-IT-ALLS « SpinDoctorResumes | Rich Retirement Says:

    […] News excerpt from: OPPORTUNITIES FOR KNOW-IT-ALLS « SpinDoctorResumes […]

  2. energywriter Says:

    Hilarious, Mike! We’ve all known these people, in fact I used to be married to one. It made life very interesting, cough, cough. On the other hand I’m just a know -it-most-of-the-time.

  3. Jeanne Kraus Says:

    Enjoyed the article. Know-it-alls tend to bring out the challenger in me. “Oh, yeah, then what about this…?”
    Either that or I play the “No-nothing” and wait for them to complete their helpfulness, adding “Um-hmm” at the appropriate moment.

  4. weighty Says:

    gonna send this to my mom

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