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CARTOONIST FINDS COMMON THREAD IN DOLTS

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You say your manager is a dolt and your colleagues are twerps? You're not alone.

Working with - and especially for - dummies were the two most irritating workplace trends of 1994, according to an unscientific survey of readers of "Dilbert," the comic strip that skewers corporate behavior."I have to admit even I was surprised at the number of people who had a big problem with idiots," said cartoonist Scott Adams, who asked readers for their workplace pet peeves.

The syndicated strip, which appears in 400 newspapers, features the adventures of Dilbert, a bespectacled, much put-upon worker, and his cynical pet, Dogbert.

Adams has been communicating via e-mail with his readers by printing his computer address on each strip. He decided to take a survey after finding many of his correspondents were reporting a high doltage factor at work.

The Dilbert Index of Workplace Sentiment was sent out to about 12,000 readers, inviting them to pick their top three peeves out of a list of 12 management ploys satirized in "Dilbert." About 1,500 responded.

"Management by idiots," got the most votes, 22 percent, followed by "being forced to work with idiots," 15.2 percent. Number three was the subject of "empowerment," which got 8.4 percent of the votes.

Despite his success, Adams hasn't given up his day job at Pacific Bell. In fact, he's surprised at how well "Dilbert" has been received, even by its targets.

"One of the strange things about cartooning is you can make fun of people and they'll ask for the original," he said.