John and Wally, Part 4.

John: “So. Winning. About that.”
Wally: “What about it?”
John: “It was interesting the way you phrased it. ‘Winning by their standards’, you said.”
Wally: “So I did.”
John: “So, what’s winning by your standards?”
Wally: “Ah ah ah. You first, new kid.”
John: “Hmm.”
John: *thinks*
John: “The obvious answer is being on top. Being CEO or whatever. But when I think of me being CEO, I don’t really think of winning. I mean, it’s stressful, you’re traveling all the time, everyone’s hanging on your every word waiting for you to do something dumb so they can publish it and break a scandal…”
Wally: “Heh. If you were CEO. You think you’ve got a shot at being CEO, then?”
John: “Mmm. Well, when I picture a CEO…”
Wally: “Go on. HR’s not around.”
John: “White. Male. Rich. Like, old-money rich, not Mark Zuckerburg rich. MBA from Harvard Business or Yale. Got a bunch of other director and board member jobs at other companies first. So, basically, entirely different from me.”
Wally: “Interesting. And while not 100% descriptive, interestingly close, when you do look at each of those properties in terms of who gets what jobs where. So, different than you, you say?”
John: “Yeah. Here’s what I’m thinking. If I were to magically become CEO…then that would be terrible. I wouldn’t know the people or the responsibilities…oh, and realized something about that Seeing Like a State book. Legibility goes both ways. If management has no idea what it is we actually do or how to measure it, it follows that we have no idea what upper management actually does and how to measure them. So, I choose to assume that they actually do something all day-”
Wally: *snorts*
John: “-and that I couldn’t just jump in and do their work. Plus, becoming CEO means I’d get a whole lot of media attention. But if I were the kind of person who could become CEO naturally…I could do a basic job for a few years and retire on my millions. But… I think if I were the kind of person willing to do that, I’d never have gotten on the CEO track to begin with.”
Wally: “Very interesting. So, being CEO isn’t winning, then.”
John: “Not for me. In fact, I’m getting kind of hesitant about the concept of promotion entirely.”
Wally: “Very clever. Of course, if that gets out, they’ll fire you. FYI.”
John: “What?”


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