Where is the Floor?
by Dwayne Phillips
Half the persons in any profession are below average. At what point is a person not allowed in the profession? Where is the floor?
Half of all teachers are below average. Half of all interior painters are below average. Fill in the blank for whatever job there is.
Okay, we know that. Simple statistics. Does that mean that half the teachers are bad teachers and half the interior painters are bad interior painters? They are completely unqualified, should be fired, etc.?
Where is the floor for teachers? Where is the floor for interior painters? Half of them are below average, but if a “painter” puts more paint on the carpet than on the wall, that person won’t be a “painter” for long. They are completely unqualified. Where is the line of “too bad to be a painter or teacher or butcher or baker or candle stick maker?”
That is the important question. At what point do teachers and interior painters tell a would-be teacher or interior painter, “No. You are below the allowed floor. Do something else.”
In a free market, the market tells the person. No one hires the interior painter who does nothing but spill paint. The word eventually “gets around.” It does, however, take time for that to happen. Same with a butcher, baker, and candle stick maker and dentist and computer programmer and …
In restricted markets, and there are many of those and most are associated with public employment, the market does not choose. “The word” eventually “gets around” when other employees notice that someone is performing below the floor, but the event can be years instead of months.
The average can be important, but the floor is more important.