Recently, I’ve been thinking about the expression, “The best is the enemy of the good.” Just exactly what does it mean? I think it describes the tendency of some jerks to criticize any new or innovative idea that is not perfect. It is like saying, “Sure we are dealing with a crappy situation but your solution isn’t perfect and I don’t think we should settle for anything less than perfect.”
This allows the critic to take a position of moral superiority and yet not offer anything of value. I am often amazed how often people put up with this sort of jerkdom. Someone offers a good solution and our jerk takes the opportunity to raise their eyebrow, dip their chin and say, “It’s not perfect and I can’t agree.” Most often we as an audience say “Gee, I guess you could be right.”
This is a subtle form of jerkiness, and I think it may hide an inferiority complex. I suppose I should be more sympathetic but I choose a tranquil workplace over psychological tolerance. I am reminded of an episode of “MASH” where psychiatrist Sidney Freedman described Frank Burns and his problems by saying, “He is such a walking sack of fertilizer that it is hard to care.” Now I’m not totally unsympathetic. For example I would probably chastise the wag who said of someone with an inferiority complex, “It’s not a complex.”
Each of us must decide to what extent jerk behavior should be tolerated, but all of it has its cost. See http://www.workplaceattitudes.com/.