Wearing Too Many Hats?


It’s what we say when we’re taking care of the responsibilities of several people at the office – particularly now due to all of the layoffs that have taken place.  “I’m wearing too many hats.”

But c’mon, can we not come up with a better term than that?  It’s so yesterday.  It’s old-school.  Who even wearshats anymore?  If I were to wear even one hat to the office I’d be considered a freak.  First, I’m still a fairly young man, so showing up with a hat (not a ball cap mind you, but a hat) is going to turn heads.  Second, isn’t wearing a hat indoors considered rude?  And third – I don’t care for hat hair.   It irritates my psoriasis.

So why on earth would I want to wear many hats all at once?  Wouldn’t that necessitate my being able to balance several on top of my head simultaneously?  How can I possibly be expected to handle my one job, much less the jobs of many, if I’m supposed to balance a bunch of fedoras, sombreros, caps, and bonnets on my cranium?  (Okay, maybe not bonnets, but you get the idea.)  I can’t even balance my own checkbook – forget about balancing a bunch of skull skins.

I also think the term “Wearing Too Many Hats” sounds a bit negative now, don’t you?  The words “too many” immediately indicates that you’re overworked and you don’t want to be doing what you’re currently doing.  “Too many” insinuates that you cannot take on anything else; in fact, you’re looking to remove responsibilities from your person.   Granted, that very well may be true – but do you really want to make that proclamation outloud in front of the boss?  In this economy?!?

I like what I heard earlier today.  Rather than making the multiple hats analogy, how about we all call ourselves “Swiss Army Knives?”  Multiple tasks, one useful tool.  Everybody wants a Swiss Army Knife, not everyone wants numerous hats.  Everyone has need of a Swiss Army Knife, not everyone has need for a bunch of headpieces.  Unless, of course, you’re suffering from male-pattern baldness.

1.13.09: versatilityNot only does “Swiss Army Knife” sound more appealing, but I think it’s more accurate.  It’s small… as we all feel right now at the office if we’re still employed. 

It’s shiny… and we all need to shine as brightly as possible to show off our brilliance when the boss is around.

It’s edgy.  Bosses like edgy.  They’re always looking for new buzzwords and sayings to make them sound like they are on the cutting edge of business and technology.  Bring them the Swiss Army Knife analogy and it will immediately be incorporated into the office lingo via a memo.

It has a doodad that’s not good for anything but cleaning under your fingernails.  Tell me that’s not how you feel some days at the office. 

Plus  Swiss Army Knife has a toothpick – perfect for use after biting the head off a coworker because you’re overworked and his knife’s corkscrew was looking at you funny. 

Creative Commons License photo credit: jenny downing
Creative Commons License photo credit: Team Dalog

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