After spending more than a score of years in a big bureaucracy I'm starting to see an increasing number of friends and acquaintances move up into middle-management and even, in a few cases, to rather senior rôles. To put it gently, not all of these individuals are the highest peaks in the mountain range. As cynical colleagues have put it, "They must have pictures!" (i.e., be blackmailing somebody above them) ...

Contrariwise, at the working level I notice a wide variety of brilliance — ranging from narrow best-in-their-field specialists to diversely helpful-and-creative generalists. In most cases they work extraordinarily hard with virtually no recognition by their bosses. In many shops even their close colleagues don't realize what gems they're sitting next to.

Sometimes all this starts to bug me ... but then I remind myself:

  • If the System can run relatively smoothly with such idiots at the top, then it must either have been amazingly well-designed, or it must have evolved into a gracefully robust set of self-regulating feedback loops.
  • If these geniuses weren't working quietly behind the curtains here, then things would be much much worse.

(see also RememberMe (21 May 1999), JustDesserts (20 Sep 1999), IdiocyAmelioration (18 Apr 2000), FifthDisciplinarians (10 Sep 2000), SomeGood (16 Sep 2000), BossJobs (24 Jul 2001), StagesOfWork (28 Jul 2001), ... )

TopicOrganizations - 2003-08-27

(correlates: ThreePhoneCalls, PrimeDirective, EndlessStairmaster, ...)