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The Cargo Cult of Business » In it for the money?

In it for the money?

Published on 12 Sep 2008 at 9:44 am | No Comments | Trackback
Filed under The Cargo Cults of Business, Manifest Masquerade, Business and Corporation Related.

Megan McCardle writes this morning about school teacher compensation, here: How dare I


I have some opinions about the performance and compensation of school teachers, but what I was most struck by was how Ms. McCardle’s very sensible and realistic view of employment is a striking discord with the kind of consensus delusion which seems to be the default expectation in hiring.

She says:

Microsoft does not depend on every salesman being passionate about the XBox, every payroll clerk having dreamt from an early age about giving something back through the power of the healthcare deduction.

The truth of this statement seems self evident to me,  so why the  masquerade? 

Here are some quotes from a very quick google of various job search and interviewing articles:


"take this opportunity to show your passion for the role"


Once I hired a temp, I had seven employees at that time, I went up to her halfway through the first week and I said, “How do you like working here?” She said, “It’s a job.” I let her go at the end of the week.


"Convince the interviewer that you are looking for exactly the type of work that this position is offering."


"…convince the interviewer of your motivation and passion."


I took a class a while back which was a guide to the application process for graduate school, it emphasized the same thing. Both for the applications and the interviews, I was told, it is essential to convince, or at least plausibly present the pretence that this field and this school are the ONLY ones of interest.  Reasons for application should never include "this is the only school in town which offers the major I want".  Selection of majors (except maybe for MBA) should never be explained by "It appears to be a lucrative field" or even "I find it interesting." The "right" answer is, "Everything I’ve done up to now was either in support of this one over-riding goal to work in Acme corp’s mail room / get an MA from City State U or was a side track I had to tolerate to get here. 

So what goes on here?  Why the contradiction?  Do we really want to start these employment relationships with deceit? 

-- John
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