They exist on every crew. They pop up in nearly any department. Just like Cylons, they look like the rest of us. They may even appear hardworking and good-natured, but make no mistake about it: Most of them are lazy, ineffective, and self-important.
On my last show, I counted at least five of them. Always checking their text messages, dragging their feet, and giggling as they hovered near the craft service tent. Most of them were friendly enough – although the political hire who sat across from me was as moody as a four-year-old in a sandbox – but they were sooooo bad at their jobs that they begged the question, “How did you get this job?” And more importantly, “How have you NOT been fired already?!”
The answer, of course, is that they’re political hires. I wrote about this a while back, but the point bears repeating.
If someone is so bad at their job that their continued employment defies logic, then they’re most likely a political hire. The best way to deal with a poli-hire is with patience. Keep your expectations low and heap enormous praise on them, even when they accomplish the simplest and smallest of tasks.
When you feel the need – and you inevitably will – to openly complain, be careful. Your immediate boss is usually low enough on the totem pole that you don’t run the risk of inadvertently finding the political hire’s “protector.” But it’s definitely a possibility. My rule about complaining is similar to Greedo’s original rule of blaster duels. I never shoot first. I wait until I’ve heard my boss complain about the poli-hire aloud before I join in. Even then, I never out-complain my boss. Last thing I need is to be labelled a whiner. Technologically illiterate, maybe, but not a whiner.