When I took my first full-time job (in a major U.S. insurance and financial-services corporation), my boss said to me: “The quality of your work doesn’t make any difference. The only thing that matters is who you know.” It remains one of the most cynical things I’ve ever heard. It also turned out to be one of the most true.
That was more than 30 years ago. Things have changed. Quality of work still doesn’t matter. It can’t; although, we’ve replaced being politically prostrate with being popular. We’re no longer devoting ourselves to learning. Now that our every whim and caprice is important, we’re devoting ourselves to activism. We don’t care any longer for greater goods or unifying causes. We’re too busy contriving ways to be victimized as individuals and oppressed as classes. We’ve replaced self-respect with self-regard.
That’s why we need business publications to point out “8 Common Writing Mistakes That Make You Look Unprofessional“:
Clear, impactful, and grammatical prose makes you look professional. [It’s apparently okay to be unprofessional, as long as you cover your tracks.]
That’s why CEOs have to tell their employees to take notes:
As a newly minted manager and emerging leader, I sought his advice on how I might balance big-picture, goal-oriented thinking with the detail-oriented work that my team does day to day. His advice: Write it down. [If I had to be told to write it down, I suspect I’d find myself to be a newly fired manager and disappearing leader.]
That’s why, even with the proliferation of gender studies, we haven’t learned enough to tell the girls from the boys:
Time … relied on a data-compiling site, the Open Syllabus Project, for a list of the most-read female writers in college classes. Number 97 was Evelyn Waugh. The trouble is, Waugh was a male.
And that’s why Fast Company has to publish, “How To Become The Most Well-Liked Person In The Office“:
The relationships you have with the people you work with can make the difference between a great day and a terrible one.
The quality of our work still doesn’t make any difference. Neither does productivity. The only thing that matters now is being popular.
Grandpa O’Brien used to say, “There’s nothing more dangerous than a little education.” He had no idea how right he was.