This dangerous word is a career killer

I was today years old when I learned the opposite of a meritocracy is a kakistocracy.


In the 7th grade, I had a bad bout of bronchitis and missed school for a week.


Mrs. Richardson’s civics class probably covered it then.


It means: government by the least suitable or competent citizens.


The fact that I’ve not heard this word on the news in the last four years confirms it’s ultra-obscurity.


--------


“This place is not a meritocracy. They’ve made that clear and I’m leaving.”


Those were the words of a colleague I accidentally intercepted walking out of his annual review at our staid employer.



What struck me was he wasn’t even a little angry.


Passed over for a promotion that he should have been his, his "feelings" weren't "hurt."



There was an air of certainty about him that made me work to match his pace like a pauper behind a money truck with $100s flying out its accidentally open door.



In his mind, he was already gone.



In a telling split second, I realized my colleague was as emotionally unconnected to our employer as a cruise ship is to a port dock.


At the same time, I realized the vast majority of employees aren't like this.



Like a 777 on autopilot, he effortlessly dialed in a new altitude to adjust for a sudden change of weather.



Anyone watching would've seen baby bluebirds and cartoon hearts floating around my head like Pepé Le Pew.


"How cool are YOU!?" I thought.


On the outside, our employer was “respectable” even “admired.”


On the inside, it was hot mess.


Our group was seething with nepotism, cronyism and incompetence.


A bona fide kakistocracy wielding an attrition rate of 25%.


If you’ve been passed over and don't feel the equal of my Cool Hand Luke corporate storm trooper friend, here's some guidance for ya...


Take a deep breath.


Immediately, commit to leave, resign, bail, walk, depart, sayonara, deep-six it, adios...


Set a deadline!


(You need that deadline because we all know someone who’s been leaving a company for the last 5 years - and if you think you don’t, you know me, and I definitely did that!)



The point is: Decide to leave and (maybe) build a case to stay, not the other way around.


If they tell you, “You’re not ready” or “We need you to step up,” this article is custom-made for you.


Viewed thousands of times, it could be just the bat you need to knock it out of Kakistocracy Park.


Next: give two scores


First:

On a scale of 1-10 how has your employer treated you in the time you’ve been there? This is strictly business. Generous cash card mini-bonuses and better than average swag don't count. Think in strategic terms of career and earning$.


Pick a number. Put that here: _____


Second:

On a scale of 1-10 how much value have you delivered?

Hopefully this will nudge you to consider what your company actually does value and if you fall into that bucket.


Pick a number. Put that here: _____


Do the math.


That's your first coordinate.


Good luck!


Courtney


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