In our last edition of ‘how to get fired’ we discussed Larry Johnson on his way out of Kansas City. This week we discuss the recently departed Dick Jauron. Our lesson for today is to avoid taking on jobs which we will struggle to succeed in, even if the job sounds really cool.
Jauron was the latest in a long list of bad coaches in Buffalo. He came on board in 2006, replacing Mike Mularkey, who in turn was preceded by Gregg Williams and Wade Philips. It is a nice list of assistant coaches who have been made head coaches by Ralph Wilson. I’ll save my rant on what is wrong with the Bills for another time and keep my focus on Jauron.
Dick Jauron was the latest in a long list of unqualified coaches hired by Buffalo. We can speculate on why Wilson continues to do this (cough, cough, save money, cough, cough) but it doesn’t change the fundamental issue: when you agree to take on a role in which you are unqualified to perform at a level of excellence, you will undoubtedly fail. The list of individuals who went into a job way over their head and managed to swim to the surface is small.
Look, each of us has a ceiling in terms of what we can achieve in life. ‘You can achieve anything if you put your mind to it’ is the right idea, but it isn’t quite true. There are the truly exceptional who will be successful at whatever they do because they have a drive, focus and ability to put in the hours to learn to be successful. There is a bunch who will be successful, some of which due to hard work, some of which will be in spite of themselves. And down the list it goes to those who excel at what others might find mundane. The key in life is to understand what our potential is and then selfishly chase after fulfilling that potential. Success is doing whatever it is you do to the best of your ability and not being afraid to try to do more than you thought was possible.
Jauron got his chance with Chicago back in 1999-2003, where in 5 seasons he compiled a record of 35-45 which included a fluke 13-3 season. Take out that season and he was 22-42. Ouch. He then went back to being an assistant coach before getting the call back to the major leagues by Buffalo.
While I’ve always been skeptical of Jauron’s ability to allow his cojones to drop and take some risks to win a game, his firing of the offensive coordinator before the season really did take the cake. “The offense is too complicated, I don’t understand what we are doing”. Really? Really? You are in charge of a football team and you can’t understand complex concepts? Sounds like a deal breaker to me!
Now admittedly, there is an infinite set of situations you could put me in where I would react like Jauron. Fly a plane, what? Design a bridge, huh? Strut these chaps down the runway, are you kidding me? The difference between Dicky and I is that I am smart enough to stick to what I know and what I am good at.
Let’s compare Jauron’s career path to that of an individual working at McDonald’s. Let’s say he started as the fry guy back in 1985 as he decided he wanted to devote his life to fast food. He quickly showed promise, getting promoted to burgers, followed by the drive through window. Finally, in 1995 he got a shot at the assistant manager job, where he scheduled staff and helped execute the manager’s game plan.
Let’s say he did a great job as assistant manager and ended up with a shot at the manager job in 1999. Finally, the big time!! Dicky was in charge and he was calling the shots. Sadly though, Dicky wasn’t equipped to succeed as a manager at McDonald’s. The responsibilities were too vast, the challenges too complex and he eventually was punted to the street in 2003.
Tail between his legs, Jauron went over to Burger King and managed to get an assistant manager job and even got to fill in as manager for a couple of months when the then existing manager was fired. Dicky quickly settled into the assistant manager job and again did a swell job. He had found his calling and was happy and content.
Then in 2006, Arby’s came a calling and asked Jauron to manage their restaurant. They weren’t going to pay Dicky as much as the other food joints paid their managers, but he’d again get a chance to call the shots. Dicky always thought he’d gotten a bit of a bum rap at McDonald’s and quickly took the job. He’d made McDonald’s a lot of money that 1 year didn’t he? Doesn’t matter that they bled red ink the other four years.
Which gets us to today, nearly four years later. Little Dicky made all the same mistakes he made at McDonald’s and now finds himself again looking for an assistant manager job. I hear Jack in the Box is hiring…