Today I had lunch with Hannah, and she elucidated a very interesting theory for me. Known as the “BLM” theory of work behavior (at least in her household, since her husband made it up), it explains the way a lot of people behave (i.e., annoying people). The name comes from the summer that Hannah’s hubby worked for the BLM as a firefighter. The agreement in the group was that they would do the job in a way that would not encourage further work assignments–in other words, just the bare minimum, with perhaps some mistakes–not enough to get fired, but enough so that someone would think twice to call on them the next time.
So, a more practical application: suppose Paul asks me to wash his clothes. I willingly agree to do it, but then I turn the dryer on high and don’t take them out–so they are all wrinkled. I can’t be faulted for not doing it–I’ve just done it in such a way that I’m unlikely to be asked again (thus saving me a great deal of time in the future!)
I’ve always assumed that when things like this happen in my life (when I’m on the asking side) that a poor job is accidental–the person just isn’t good at it. But what if that person just doesn’t want to do it and this is her (sorry, men, but more often his) way of getting out of it? How very brilliant and evil?! Why didn’t I think of it before? Luckily, I still have plenty of time for implementation! 🙂