Monday, June 16, 2014

The World is Divided Into Two Types of People--the Smarts and the Stupids

I have a friend who has made his way in a bureaucratic organization, where it really matters to be competent, but allegiances and "enemies" play a big role as well. He tells me: I believe it's the way it is. And I've use this method to be promoted.. Sometimes I have to act stupid when stupid people are around me. Although I know I'm smarter than they are.

He suggests that the world is divided into the stupid and the smart, and at times it's best to be among the stupid, since if you say something smart you'll be penalized or ostracized or seen as a bad member.

The smart and the stupid need each other to survive.

He worries not at all about the medals or the awards or whatever used to build morale and loyalty. He likes his work and his doing.  His main concern is his annual performance review. If someone wants to deny him something, he says little. He just keeps performing at top level, and that speaks in the end it would seem. (Not always, and surely some people move ahead on allegiances and brown-nosing. But only so far.) He has lots of bosses, many of whom seem not to have much experience in the actual doing, more in the managing that is quite distant from the doing. Those bosses make pronouncements likely to be nonstarters in the doing. to a few of them he might say something, but in general he is stupid here. It's MBA's vs. supervisors and foreman.

I wish I had him telling me this stuff years ago. Actually, I did. Gian-Carlo Rota would often say to me:  Martin, Martin.... before admonishing me, asking me, Does it help you?  [If not, why are you doing this.]  My friend and Rota are smart in ways that I am too smart.

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