Black Belt

I’ve worked with some Grade A douches in my day. Sitting comfortably in the top 10% rests Dave, let’s call him. Being in the operations department, he was primed to be an a-hole, but he brought oh so much more to the table than mere mind boggling complicated sourcing procedures, i.e., Get your vendors paid  in 22 easy steps– 4 months late so they never want to work with you again.
Although I admit he was fairly friendly with me, his endless angry, bitter, mean spirited tirades were a bit off putting. However, I thought that maybe I was missing something about Dave.  He continually… and by continually I mean just about every time I talked to him… referenced his Black Belt.  


It takes years and years of dedication, quiet strength and perseverence to make it to black belt. Perhaps I am judging Dave’s character too quickly based on petty work stuff and a few off-putting personal anecdotes


 And then one day I decided to visit Dave in his office since he had been avoiding my calls about a partcular project. He motioned me to have a seat while he finished his call.  As I’m looking around at the photos and office paraphenalia my eye catches something on the book case.    

A series of binders labelled “Six Sigma Training.”  Six Sigma* is a business managment strategy that “seeks to improve the quality of process outputs by identifying and removing the causes of defects (errors) and minimizing variability in manufacturing and business processes” per wikipedia,   “blah blah blah blah blah” per me.    

In a flash my head swirled to the framed certificates on the wall.  There it was.    

“Dave Douchebag completed the Black Belt-level Six Sigma training on [this date] at [this company].”    

My head spun and I started replaying conversations in my head, realizing that at no time when he referenced his black belt training did it have anything to do with martial arts or patience, or quiet strength, but rather some business situation that required some efficient processes. It was kinda like that reveal scene in The Sixth Sense when you are shown all those scenes and are like, “Holy shit… no one every interacted with him, no one can see him, oh my god, he’s DEAD!”      

I know people say LOL a lot, but when I say I Laughed Out Loud, I Laughed Out Loud. Right there, in his office, after making this discovery and realizing my stupidity and the hilarity of the situation, I started laughing so hard I was shaking trying to hold it in.      

And then I took a deep breathe as he got off the phone, accredited my laughter to a funny story my sister told me, and took solace in the fact that there really was nothing deeper to this guy… he was just a regular ol run of the mill office asshole.    

*  Yes, even though Six Sigma has saved Fortune 500 companies hundreds of billions of dollars since its inception, I’m still categorizing this post under “Ridiculous company initiatives”

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