Wait for it: Attitude-ocracy?

In America, are we sending the wrong message to young people? For the longest time a sense of working hard and being competent yields success. But is that it? I have heard of plenty of hard-working people struggling to make it. (whatever “it” is)

But aren’t we a meritocracy? Meritocracy: noun, a system in which the talented are chosen and moved ahead on the basis of their achievement. Or are we some hybrid of systems?


Pandering: verb, gratify or indulge (an immoral or distasteful desire, need, or habit or a person with such a desire, etc.).

Are we pandering to sense of denial? We are told, “you work hard and you can be anything you want in life.” I suggest that we are in fact such a hybrid system. For better or worse, it is how the system works.

Attitude-ocracy: noun, a system in which the talented and connected rise to the top based on industry connections and the ability to interact with others.

While many believe that the method of picking the people you know, or the “good old boys”, can be done incorrectly as a bribing mechanism, this system also has its merits. If you know how someone works, and have worked with them before and they produce positive results, then why not pick them?

What ever you do, what ever you think, just don’t tell white lies.

[thanks for listening]



This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Wait for it: Attitude-ocracy?

  1. kmad23 says:

    Nice blog post, although I think Attitude-ocracy is certainly a good thing but sometimes I always wonder about some of us who are not well connected, how do you get by in society. We go to conferences, we are shy, so we never meet new people, we are introvert basically and yet good at what we do. If attitude-ecrocy is the only way forward we are doomed.

    • kenblack2013 says:

      I am also moderately introverted (INTJ (introversion, intuition, thinking, judgment) in the publications of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI)). For me personally, it is the sense of connection that is necessary, and the level and interpretation of the that connection is what really matters. I have few true friends, but many professional connections. At least in the design fields, these interactions are not permanent, even fleeting, and tend to be based on the quality of work or the level of scholarship at conferences and competitions. It is the good work that tends to get you into the conference, and then your ability to present gets you noticed.

      But yes, if you are completely introverted then it will be incredibly difficult to gain traction in an “attitude-ocracy”. This is what makes me frustrated because we trumpet the idea of a meritocracy to children, but inter-personal relations, if not cultivated can hold less talented, but hard workers back. It is how we, as professionals, can either rise to the occasion or allow our weaknesses to define us.

Leave a Reply