I’m not a big fan of New Year’s resolutions, but this piece in New York Magazine by Maggie Lange piqued my interest: “In 2023, I Resolve to Be Less Competent.” An excerpt:
There’s something triumphant about a total refusal to be useful. This was my reaction when I first learned about strategic incompetence, a recent hobbyhorse of the internet’s relationship ethicists. Also known as learned incompetence or weaponized incompetence, it’s often leveraged so that your shortcomings force someone else to fix the paper jam or call the super. Online, it has become shorthand for a highly gendered manipulation, by which men act baffled by the grocery store and all the burdens of domestic maintenance fall upon the women in their lives…
My selected incompetencies are my beloved limits. They’re a decisive strategy; they keep me from achieving things I don’t care about at all. And learned incompetencies make the people around me look good. Everyone else who is so much better than I am, at so many things — the ripped friends of the universe, the ones who can read transit maps, the ones who mandoline vegetables with gusto — will look at me and they will feel strong and skilled and useful. As they should.
Hear, hear! I plan to suck at writing résumés and prove absolutely inept at helping people move heavy objects in the year ahead. Any areas of competency that you plan to lose in 2023?