Smart Words

So I am trying to dispose of magazine articles that I ripped out for one reason or another (either some nugget of wisdom I think I will refer to at a later point or something that I think is well put) and came across a blurb from writer Barbara Ehrenreich from the March 2006 issue of Fast Company.

She writes:
There is a profound discounting of experience going on that we’re going to have to reexamine if we’re going to keep up with the rest of the world. During my research for Bait and Switch, I was told again and again that the basis of hiring is not your skills or experience, but how likable you are. The rationale is that you have to be a ‘team player’ and conform, in great detail, down to the shape of your lapel pin. In what kind of team does everyone have to be the same?

There seems to be a growing culture of incompetence where who knows whom and who likes whom weigh more than getting the job done. This is the kind of thinking that got us Michael D. Brown heading up FEMA. Even more perverse is the constant culling out of the high achievers. If you get a raise, it’s like having a bullseye painted on your back. You are just an expense, and a bigger expense, so let’s get rid of you.

How will American business face the challenge of the rising economies of China and India? Those nations are emphasizing skill and a proven track record. We are not going to survive in a globalized economy if our business culture is so self-indulgently involved in preserving an internal comfort level. What did you hire me for? To keep you company in the office?


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