“People of business” and “ones of showing off”

“People of business” and “ones of showing off”

You must live up to it if you were born with intelligence, honour and conscience.

Textbook history for almost every (or maybe even for every) organisation. Someone is intelligent, efficient, honest, and useful for a common cause – a “person of affairs.” And at the same time, the situation unfolds like a pearl of folk creativity: “A horse ploughed more than everyone else in the collective farm, but he did not become the head.”

And someone is incompetent, prone to scheming, harms both through meanness and lack of hands – a “person of showing off.” However, that one rides perfectly on someone else’s hump, is not ashamed to receive gingerbread cookies and buns from his superiors and appropriates other people’s successes with a blue eye. Or, in the role of a consultant, having failed a project and being disgracefully expelled as a client, tells tales from the TV screen with fantastic aplomb.

I want to avoid delving into HR details right now: someone is given to lead, someone to execute, someone to inspire, someone to create an atmosphere. Because I am not writing about a place in the corporate hierarchy but about recognition of merit. Which, unfortunately, is rarely proportionate to the merits themselves for reasons such as:

Focus on the result, not the process. “People of business,” unlike “ones of showing off,” value their time and deal with the work process, not external effects. They please customers, win elections and spend the night in scientific laboratories. That is, they worry about the result of the process rather than about their place in it. And they don’t run “upstairs” or “to the TV” every minute, don’t spend time in waiting rooms and don’t drag the tails of those in power. That’s why “ones of showing off” take advantage of their colleagues’ close-mindedness, easily bypassing them at the turn, working not for the result but for the loyalty to their beloved.

Expert error. Genuinely influential “businesspeople” are embarrassed to speak platitudes. Due to their naivety, they believe they are doing something ordinary and do not see anything supernatural in the results. At the same time, the “ones of showing off,” with the naivety of a preschooler, are ready to tell the whole world that the Earth is round as if it were a great and fresh discovery. And, not surprisingly, because of reason 5, they find an appreciative audience and even recruit their own “evangelists” from among the same “ones of showing off.”

Inability/unwillingness to add content forms. “Business people” are not inclined to “publicise” their achievements for reasons 1-2 – it is an unnecessary waste of time and energy. Even if they are perfectly trained in self-promotion, they make the corresponding movements with a feeling of profound disgust. Excessive self-respect, if you like pride, prevents you from becoming a favourite of your superiors or a popular favourite.

Incompetent management. For the most part, today’s superiors are not just at the level of their incompetence but at a much higher hierarchical level, where this level should be. Making a vertical career on corpses, good-natured managers climbed to a height at which, due to professional incapacity, they are objectively unable to meet their high position. Or they were artificially landed on unattainable peaks – on the parachutes of nepotism. In such cases, “businesspeople” are a threat. They are given the task “plant forty rose bushes among the flowers and, until they grow up, sweep the paths here” or “go there, I don’t know where bring that, I don’t know what.” However, the “ones of showing off” are in favour – they will not exceed their achievements; they perfectly master the technologies of sneaking and whispering, and with pleasure, they engage in collective idiocy as if joint trips to concerts abroad at the expense of shareholders and other team building in twisted forms. That is until the cunning vizier sticks a knife in the back of the sultan, who is relaxed and yawning.

General numbness. Modelling as a method of scientific knowledge, based on the simplification of the researched object, came to the social sciences from exact. There is nothing wrong with that. It was only more correct to say once primitivisation became general. Unfortunately, the modern world is both technologically and structurally too complex for most people today. And to overcome the stress of encountering it, people massively and voluntarily return to an almost original state – mythologise reality into a limited number of simple categories instead of critically considering reality. In such a world, the value of “people of business” was understood only by them and some conscious employers.

Who is to blame? “Family and school,” which teaches that “an empty ear rises up, a full ear bends down.” And mass culture, where points are respected, not facts, where the audience seeks to see and hear only what is pleasing to their ears and easy for internal consumption to mix pseudo-facts and media scoundrels.


What shall I do? Live according to your nature. If you were born with intelligence, honour and conscience, then you must live up to it. But at the same time, observing the rules of safety technology to “do the work” to receive a well-deserved reward:

  1. Distract yourself from your favourite work process, score on the result (within acceptable limits – in a range where no one but you understands that you are not working at full capacity) and “stop showing off” if people like it.


  1. Come to terms with the idea that you are really smarter than everyone else and can do something better than everyone else – and tell the world about it.
  2. Strain and spend time on nonsense – paint the presentation, simplify the report, find a nice picture that will please the eyes of the superiors, fix the director’s tie – have fun in the end.
  3. Learn the rituals of corporate hypocrisy – to smile at the jokes of the superiors, to imitate the pleasure of rope courses – as they say, if rape cannot be avoided… with no further amendments to the text.
  4. Always remember what world you live in and where this world is going. Clear thinking helps you maintain mental balance and thrive not only in your own system of categories but also in the conventional sense.

Forbes 2014