I must confess some bitterness. I have suffered some reversals in my career recently, in large part because I apparently do my job too well. My General Manager told me outright that he was promoting another man over me and taking away much of my authority, even though the other man has (by the GM’s own description) no apparent skill for the job and no ability to manage anything. The reason in part has to do with the fact that the other man, being mediocre and incompetent, does not make waves. That I am also of the wrong color (white) and the wrong nationality also played a large and rather hurtful part in the decision-making process.
If I were of a different color and nationality, there is little doubt that I would been promoted to a high executive position, as many people in authority have told me this confidentially. However, as I work for an international company which still feels the sting of white guilt for crimes that were committed more than a century ago by others who are completely unrelated to them, I must pay the price for their sins. Besides, since I do my job well, I am also a threat to those of color above me, and they can’t have that. To feel better about themselves, they must have people of color and local employees in management positions. It is not a question of whether these people can do their jobs well. In fact, from all appearances, they cannot do their jobs at all. The most important point is to be politically correct, even if it runs the company into the ground and they have to close up shop.
If I lived in the US, this situation would have a lawsuit written all over it, and I could retire a rich man. But I don’t live in the US, so there is nothing I can do. My life is now a Dilbert cartoon, with the added element of racial discrimination, which makes what would otherwise be comical into something evil and dirty.
(Yes, I am looking for another job, and have been for sometime, but finding a job in my field is not as easy as getting a job at McDonald’s. It takes time. At my age, a lot of time.)
The reoccurring theme of the 21st century is that people no longer work hard to succeed. Indeed, working hard is in large part counter-productive. I grew up believing–rather naively–that those who showed skill and ability would get ahead by the sweat of their brows. This may have been true at one time, but now people get ahead by tricking the system, or insisting on some sort of privilege because of their color, gender, class, nationality, or degree of sexual deviance.
Mediocre managers will promote people like this, because these people are no threats to their own jobs, because it makes them feel good about themselves, and because it allows them to brag about their commitment to diversity. And most managers are mediocre nowadays, based upon the way they do business. They have no clue what they are doing, and don’t care. As my General Manager told me, he is in it purely for his retirement check, and nothing else. He doesn’t care who he hurts if it means that he can collect that gold watch at the end. He assured me that I would do the same if I were in his shoes. The problem is, I have been in his shoes and–fool that I was–I acted differently. I put the company mission and my employees first. Yet, he could assume that I was like him, because he had never seen anyone behave differently in his forty-some-odd years of business life as an executive at an international company.
The result is that people succeed downwards, and fail upwards. Good people are demoted and held back, because they are a threat. Mediocre and stupid people are in turn promoted and praised.
Nothing good will come of a world run by these standards. When stupid and evil men hold the reins of power in a company or a country, they can only run it into the ground. Like locusts, they consume everything that is good, leaving nothing for the harvest. And, even if they woke up one morning and decided to try to put others first, they would fail, as they have made such a habit of self-seeking destructiveness that they don’t know how to do anything else.
God help us all.